“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd…Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery, and death…and yet…I think…this cruelty will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”
Anne Frank, “The Diary of Anne Frank
“As I walked out the door toward my freedom I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred, and bitterness behind that I would still be in prison.” Nelson Mandela
While I was looking around online today I came across some quotes that directed me to the Unconditional Love Facebook page. While I was there, I noticed these two quotes. And even though I’ve seen them both several times, for some reason I felt compelled to share them today.
When I was in class getting my undergraduate degree, we had a guest speaker, Dr. Edith Eger, come and talk to us. I’m not going to go into the whole story because it’s long (it’s in my book if you’re really interested), but when she spoke to us, it was her words that sparked that recognition that happiness is a choice and it was a choice I should, could, and was going to make starting then. I had always known happiness was a choice, but I was never able to make it before then. I wasn’t even able to attempt it. I was 23 at the time, and about to graduate from college.
I had a penchant for feeling guilty about the fact that I knew I should be thankful and doing more with my life, but I didn’t feel like anything would come of it if I tried, and I used all of that as an excuse not to. I stayed unhappy, I stayed safe never trying, and I let all of the anger and fear and guilt that I felt control me. I chose to let it control me, because I chose not to try to change it. I let it be my excuse. I let it be my life.
The greatest thing that has happened to me was that moment when I realized that we are all unique. We all have different things to overcome and different things to accomplish. And comparing my struggle with anyone else’s (everyone else’s in my case) wasn’t helping me at all. I shouldn’t feel guilty because my plight wasn’t as great as others. I shouldn’t ignore the fact that I should be effected by the things that did happen to me, even if I didn’t feel like they were as bad as someone else’s. And I shouldn’t let the things that did happen make me feel like I wasn’t worth anything and couldn’t do anything.
We are so complex and we have lots of mixed emotions about ourselves and about our lives. But we can’t let those things destroy our potential. We can’t let them interfere in who we are to become. When we go to bed at night Jack and I say a prayer of thanks for “all that we are right now, all that we can be, and all that we are going to become.” We are where we are. That is what it is. Where we are at this moment in time cannot be changed, but where we are going can. We simply have to let go of all of the stuff that is holding us back. No comparing our journeys, no letting the way others have treated us bring us down, no letting the things we have done in the past stop us. We are where we are. We just have to be willing to start from here. We can’t start anywhere else.