Thursday, March 04, 2010

Struggle and Acceptance

If I put my posts into categories, I would have to put this one under, "Just Gettin' It Off My Chest." Read on if you want to hear my rant. If not, skip to the bottom to see my art.

You know I love painting with the Ladies. We are a very diverse group. I’m not sure what holds us together other than our painting, but we do click well. It may be the honesty between us – the feeling that we can say anything and often do. Today the Ladies gave me a little birthday party (my birthday is next week). They gave me a fancy coffee cup with the letter "L" and some fancy coffee. They baked me a cake, put candles on it, and sang a very out of tune Happy Birthday. It was all very sweet. They made a card that said, "Your friends are someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are."

Yet, I seemed to struggle today – a bit argumentative (so what else is new). Do friends really accept each other the way they are? What the heck does "accepts you," mean anyway? I like these ladies. I like painting with them. We laugh and discuss odd topics. They have some very New Age (for lack of better terminology) views, which are certainly not my views. Although I don’t always voice my opinion (I really don’t), that doesn’t mean I accept their opinion. Many times I recognize that my world is much different than theirs. Nothing I say is going to change that, and chances are they are not going to accept my views – so I keep silent – on some things. Today I was not silent, and I am wondering what they thought of my views.

This is what I think:
Although I think positive thinking is good, I think affirmations (a big buzzword) are often misused and silly. Sayin’ it don’t make it so. While I do think saying something positive - like, "I’m going to have a happy day, I’m going to smile no matter what, etc, " is good, I think saying things like, "My husband’s family loves me and all is fine," won’t make them love you and is just silly. To me, it is just lying to yourself rather than facing reality. Reality (your husband’s family hates you) may be difficult, but you can learn to face it and deal with the reality in positive ways. Repeating a lie is just lyin’ - Just sayin’.

Another big buzzword is "unconditional" love. I think love is conditional. I also think that you can love someone, but not "accept them the way they are." Sometimes there are things that you have to say, "No, I won’t go along with this. This is not okay," especially if their behavior is destructive. Destructive behavior could be physical - like alcohol or drug abuse, but it can also be spiritual. But what if their spiritual belief is not the same as yours? I know that if I spoke my spiritual thoughts to some people, they would not accept (that word again) me at all; in fact, I think they would hate it and me. Therein is my struggle. How much of myself do I reveal?
Here is an example; While having lunch with a good friend years ago, she told me that she was planning on having an affair. Horrified, I gave her all the reasons I thought this was a bad idea. She poo pooed away my views and made excuses for why it would be okay to have an affair. Finally I said, "But God said it was wrong." The window closed. She rarely spoke to me again.

If you know me at all, you know that I don’t particularly care what people think of me. Yet, I do know that some things spoken out loud would be real friendship enders. When my Ladies say something that I disagree with, I have to make a decision on whether to speak out or stay quiet. Just because I stay quiet on some things, does not mean I accept them. And when I speak out, it is actually a sign of my love for them. It was a tough day with the Painted Ladies.

I did get some painting done and that felt really good. These are two small watercolors that I plan on using at thank-you cards.


Staci said...

There are some differences of opinion that are too big to be ignored sometimes. I hear you, I have to decide to "pick my battles".

Bag Blog said...

Picking your battles is wise. Sometimes I do well with that, and sometimes not. But once I start the fight, I have a hard time backing down.

morninglady said...

This was a really good share for me today. I find that I have the very same thing going on with me a lot! "picking your battles" never works for me when I'm tired or overwhelmed, I find I don't pick very well, or maybe I just don't care anymore :(
Lou the backing down thing is hard for me too, sometimes I scare myself!!
Thanks for the share.

Buck said...

Just because I stay quiet on some things, does not mean I accept them.

It's not for nothing that ol' saying "Discretion is the better part of valor" was coined. You learn to hold your peace much better as you get older. I've also found one's tolerance for divergent opinions increases as well. But as Staci noted, there are some things one cannot... and should not... accept. The trick is deciding what those are and living with the consequences, should it come to that.

Nice paintings! I always like your watercolors!

Catherine MacDermott said...

Oh dear...hope this t'ain't so! Are you tryin' to tell me sumpthin' Lou?! Happy early B-day by the way!

"Reality (your husband’s family hates you) may be difficult, but you can learn to face it and deal with the reality in positive ways."

Bag Blog said...

Not at all does this have anything to do with you - you are well loved. Thanks for the birthday greeting.

I like to think that I have gotten better about choosing my battles and discretion. Yet, maybe I am reaching that age where I want to say whatever I want - and wear purple and red.

You are always a blessing when you stop by. Speaking of stopping by, I saw Jordan yesterday - he was pretty funny.

Buckskins Rule said...

I agree with what you are asserting here. Friendship has it's limits. It seems to me that when someone rolls out the "friends no matter what" mantra, it is in response to their own poor behavior. I've let a few friendships cool off after such episodes. I'm very intolerant of "drama". Someone else's poor choices of actions, words, and friends does need to make my life difficult.

Life is too short to spend it on ill behaved people.

joyce said...

I agree. We have to lean on God moment by moment to know when to speak up, and when to be still...with loved ones, and with friends and acquaintences. (or is it acquaintances?) Your paintings are beautiful. And I hope you have a wonderful birthday. What kind of cake? or pie?

Bag Blog said...

Joyce, Pound cake!

Mrs. Bear said...

Bad subject with me...there is no way speaking positive lies will change people...In my younger years I felt that time would heal...time would mellow...and you know what...many times it just doesn't...I have spent many years trying to "wait it out" trying to always think positive...rather I will seek positive thoughts between my heavenly father and myself...I will ask for his help and guidance as to how to deal with wild ugly behavior from individuals...I will walk away when I feel I must...sin is sin and you don't get rid of it by simply stating "positive statements" but we can try and determine what we let into our life...I have spent many many years with the family thing....and I have walked with you as you have walked with me....and I can say, I Love You...and that ain't no "positive thinking" it is get down in the dirt serious stuff...take the treasures and stick 'em in your heart and go on!!!!

Christina LMT said...

I have to bite my tongue a LOT, especially when I'm working on people. You learn to nod and make non-committal noises. And I've also discovered that you can learn something from people you disagree with 99% of the time, you just have to focus on that one, precious percent!

Happy Birthday!

email me,
Got something to tell you that's not for a public forum. :)

Jo Castillo said...

This made me smile. So true, so true. Nice comments, too.

The little paintings are just wonderful!