Two Simple Rules
I live by two simple rules: Number 1 – trust no one and, Number 2 – if it sounds too good to be true, it is.
When I was growing up my grandmother used to always say “fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, shame on you.” As a young child I didn’t fully understand what this phrase meant but as I got older its meaning became a theme that I purposely adopted in my life.
Unlike my grandmother, the natural gift of discernment eluded me for many years even though at a young age I understood pain, hardship, and inequity I held onto the belief that people are inherently good. I honestly can’t recall when the tide changed that prompted me to give up my Pollyanna ways however it’s one that’s made my life considerably easier.
I’ve found that trust in people is an attribute that is to be earned, treasured, and not given freely. In tandem with trust, add a ‘healthy’ dose of skepticism and the end result should be balance.
From time to time to test this theory I’ll take an audit of those in my inner circle and if perchance I’ve identified an issue I take steps to rectify the situation. In an attempt to illustrate how this is done I want to share a poem I received by email a few years ago called “A Reason, a Season or a Lifetime.”
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant. ~ Unknown
Being the ‘Reason’ in someone’s life can be difficult when walking away especially when you really care about the well-being of the individual. But there is a world of difference between being an answer to prayer as opposed to a doormat which ushers in the time to take the necessary stand to move onward.
The Power of One 2 Letter Word
Lately there seems to be quite a bit of buzz on using the word ‘no’ especially when it comes to women (I think it goes hand in hand with the whole perfection thing but that’s just my opinion). Like many others I’ve almost always felt guilty when saying ‘no’ and would find myself making excuses and yada yada yada.
That all stopped a few months ago when I found myself on the brink of a breakdown. The disturbing thing was that there was clear evidence something was wrong because I was doing things completely counter to my character but I ignored the symptoms. My advice if you ever find yourself in this predicament is to stop, recognize what’s happening, then address the issue.
Since I stubbornly refused to take my own advice I reached the breaking point and had no other choice but to let some projects go. Because I waited until there were no other alternatives I risked damaging what I could not finish but if I didn’t stop right then and there I would be finished.
Back in the day when I took driver’s education we were taught defensive driving to keep ourselves safe when on the road. Part of this training was anticipating what other drivers might do before they take action.
So when I was thinking about today’s post I thought we should have a defensive living course to help us avoid collisions regardless of life’s conditions and or the actions of others around us. Exercising care in who you welcome into your life, the reason why, then if needed taking the proper course of action to walk away and learning when to say ‘no’ are elements that can lead to a more satisfied, healthy and balanced life.
For me, recognizing that we are imperfect people living in an imperfect world I’ve come to rely on my faith and my bible as my defensive living. Being human, we will always let one another down and this is why it does my heart good to know I have a perfect God who loves me in spite of my imperfections and I can turn to Him in good as well as bad times.
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” ~Albert Schweitzer