How do I know, you ask?
Because no matter how badly I want to, I just cannot work up any bitterness towards people who I’d be totally justified being bitter towards. I’m completely happy and content. I’m back in church. I’m about to marry my soulmate, a girl that is by far the most beautiful, loving, caring, and devoted person I’ve ever met. I have a soon-to-be-stepdaughter that is teaching me a lot about how to be the best person I can be for her and her mom. I really don’t know how I could be happier. I’m sure my friends and coworkers are gagging at how much I talk about Nicole and Amber. I can’t help it. It just bubbles out of me like a sickly-sweet shaken up soft drink.
There’s a lot of peace and contentment that comes with being on the right path. Being with someone that I really can be completely honest with, who is completely honest with me… the Bible says that’s how iron sharpens iron. We become better people by having someone who can sand off our rough edges, but who does so with total care and without changing who we are at the core. I know I developed some rough edges over the past 5 years. That’s what happens in the absence of what I have now. But they are getting smoothed away. I’m returning to being an empathetic, caring, sensitive person that I used to be, and that I always was at the core. I can’t do that without acknowledging a problem, though…
In the last 12 months, I was used financially and/or emotionally by numerous people (because I’m a sucker and a moron, mostly), driven out of my church, divorced, manipulated, and otherwise treated very poorly by people I never treated with anything but kindness. In fact, if I try to come up with a list of people I’ve treated poorly in the last year, I can’t think of any. Feel free to disabuse me of that notion if you feel I’ve slighted you.
I once wrote that altruism is for suckers. But that’s not really true. Being manipulated and used is for suckers. That’s most certainly what I was allowing. There’s a vast difference between being altruistic and just being a dumb dumb.
It honestly took the perspective of not being around anyone that was manipulating or using me for me to see what I’d allowed to go on in my life. I really am a giver, and not because I’m trying to get anything… – I enjoy being generous to people, I enjoy helping, I enjoy serving. But if that’s a one-way street 100% of the time, the red flags should have been blaring at me. When I need help, can I count on those people? Not a chance.
Now I’m spending my time exclusively with people who don’t use or manipulate me. I had to recognize that I had a problem. It’s not really the other person’s fault that they’re behaving that way… it’s my fault for enabling and allowing it.
With that in mind, I have a totally new perspective on things. I will never stop being me. I will always do anything and everything I can for the people I love… the people who I know would do anything for me. That’s a REALLY short list.
So if you’re a manipulator. If you’re a user. If you’ve taken advantage of my kindness. I’m not bitter. I’m not even mad. But I’m also done with you. Not because I hate you, but because I only have so many chips to spend (time, money, emotional energy, etc.), and I’m going to spend them on the right people from here on out.
That’s all for today. Don’t forget to say your prayers and thank God for everything good in your life.