They see it as a mirror into everything they can have but haven’t (or feel like they can’t) claim for themselves. We would like to believe that once we are happy the people in our lives (especially those who love us) will be happy for us. The truth is that people around us, even those we love, are hurting. Sometimes, our happiness makes them feel like a failure. Obviously we don’t see them this way. We don’t view our happiness as making us superior or them a failure. We’re just over here being happy.
We all have a mean girl inside of us
Recently, I was at dinner with a person who is very dear to me. She looks at me and says “Wow, it looks like you’ve gained weight. You’re my example for the whole organic living and I don’t want to follow you if you’re gaining weight.” Now, her perception had very little to do with reality. I understand this concept intellectually. Nevertheless, here is the dialogue in my head, “You f**ng b***ch! I can’t believe you just said that. You have a lot of freaking nerve talking to me in that way…..” It went on but you get the idea. I realize this is not a mature or graceful reaction but, hey, we’re all human. She was being a mean girl. We all have a mean girl inside of us. My mean girl was the one reacting in this way. But, I told my internal mean girl to shut up. I didn’t say any of those things I was thinking. What good would it have done? I asked myself, “How can I handle this with grace? What is true about the situation?”
Now I could have focused on her mean girl spirit. The truth is that she was spewing negativity. It is also true that we don’t have to participate in every fight in which we find ourselves. The truth is (as I found out later) that she is engaging in very unhealthy behavior because of her own insecurities and self-image issues. I imagine her inner voice says, “How can Joy be so happy when she isn’t skinny? Here I am killing myself to be skinny and I am still not happy?” And, she lashed out. It is said that, “Whatever is in the heart overflows into speech.” Her words told me there was sadness and darkness in her heart. We all have it to varying degrees. I chose to view her with grace. It wasn’t easy or even my first response. It is a choice that we all have the opportunity to make.
When we are living a happy life, there will always be people, even people we love, who will try to bring us down. We should expect it and be prepared to deal with it. Instead of venting to her, I reached out to a very good, wise friend. My friend gave me words of encouragement and rationality. I am very blessed to have such friends. The negative remarks continued. Each time I just had to tell myself to choose grace. After all, her battle isn’t with me, it’s with herself. I could allow her negativity to ruin my day but instead I choose to be happy. You can too!