Learning the Hard Way

The magazine cover caught my eye. “Real Simple” – sure sounds enticing.  Living a simple life, thinking simple thoughts, doing simple activities seems appealing. Simple alleviates stress, creates calm, and prohibits us from too much of anything. It tends to take away the excess and allows us to live within the limits of exactly what we need for any situation.

Over-abundance truly can cause more problems than it helps. Too much food and it goes to waste. Too many clothes create a messy closet. Too many activities you have no rest. And yes, too much money we can become prideful, arrogant, and self-centered.

The antonyms of simple are: complex, complicated, convoluted, and difficult. Given the choice, which would you choose: Simple or difficult? It appears such an easy answer and I think we would all agree that simple sounds better.

But if that is true, why do we live complicated and difficult lives? Why do we make things hard? Is it any wonder that people are discouraged, lost and giving up? So many individuals are walking away from God, from marriage, and their children, yet find that discouragement follows them. 

I have had to learn most of my lessons the hard way. All too often I failed therefore had to start over, just to fail again and start again. I found myself years down the road continuing to fail at certain lessons. Like trying to put something together without reading the instructions. Or watching others crash and burn and trying not to make their mistakes but not having the knowledge of how to avoid it.

Without having an instruction manual or guidance, I adopted very early a strong belief that I do not need anyone else. I am strong. I can do this by myself. For years I declared, “I do not need a man.”

I cringe at that thought now, because of the damage I created in its wake. If our belief system is built on those around us, we will adopt their beliefs. Also, we live out what we believe hence if our belief system is faulty our actions will follow. For our thoughts determine our words which determine our feelings that determine our actions.

Our actions are easily traced back to our thoughts. We truly act out what we believe in our minds. If we want a changed life we must begin to change our thoughts.

Yesterday, I turned to my husband and asked, “How did you stay married to me?” He got a huge smile on his face and shook his head. I shared with him a word that I had recently learned the meaning of…..contempt. What an ugly word yet sadly one that describes me.

Contempt is defined as disdain, scorn, implies strong feelings of disapproval toward what seems worthless. Contempt is disapproval tinged with disgust: to feel contempt for a weakling. Disdain is a feeling that a person or thing is beneath one’s dignity and unworthy of one’s notice, respect, or concern. Scorn denotes undisguised contempt. It is disrespect toward another.

I gasp at the thought of how often I have shown contempt but NEVER realized it. People I treated wrongly, thinking too highly of myself, or attempting to put myself on a pedestal to name a few. And I am sorry for all those I hurt.

Oh, how things could have been different all these years. They could have been simple, but in my ignorance (not stupidity – there is a big difference) I complicated my life and my marriage. What a true blessing and miracle that we made it through these 33 years.

Although I cannot go back – I can change today. Taking what I learn and applying it to my life. When I see or feel contempt now, I can correct it. I can change my stinking thinking.

Yes, I do need a man in my life. Don vowed to love me in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. He promised to love me unconditionally, to support me in my goals, to honor and respect me, to laugh with me and cry with me, and to cherish me for as long as we both lived. He obviously took his vows seriously. He’s done a good job.

But if he doesn’t wipe that smirk off his face and quit sweetly saying to me, “Honey, is that contempt?” As long as we both shall live may come sooner than expected……….LOL