Trudging Through The Mess In Life

By

Trudging Through The Mess In Life
Blaming ourselves or someone else never helped anyone get through it faster.

As a parade went by, one of the horses pulling a float entry left a memento in the middle of the road, right in front of where we were watching from the sidewalk. From that point on, every band or group that came marching down the road marched bravely on, right through the pile of horse manure. — The image struck a chord in me, one that the band was not intentionally playing.

The parade of life does not always go smoothly. Any one of us can be marching along, happily playing our tune, and suddenly be faced with a little mess which is not of our making. Friends can be unkind, intentionally or not, and, as Bobbie Burns wrote "The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, /Gang aft agley."

Those of us who can keep focused on the goal, and march right through, deserve applause.

My mentor, Rev. Denton Roberts often said "You are not responsible for what happens to you, but for your response to it." In other words, you don't need to feel guilty for problems in your life, but it's important that you deal with them. When there's a messy pile in your road, after you get through it, it's valuable to consider how it got there, what to do about it and how to make sure you don't participate in the creation of new ones.

Rather than just dwell on the problem, move your focus to the solution.

Today, I was talking to a client, and the metaphor of walking through the "road apples" of life came up again. There's no doubt about it, we're going to encounter unpleasant obstacles in our path from time to time. Just because we have to walk through it, doesn't mean it's our fault it's there— but, it is our responsibility to clean off our shoes as soon as we can, and do whatever we can (like getting the parade committee to put a bag under the horse's butt) to make sure we don't go through it again.

Above all, it's important to remember it's only a little pile.

It has an end, it's temporary, and we'll probably survive it. Blaming ourselves or someone else never helped anyone get through it faster, it only makes the slogging more unpleasant. There is nothing to stop us from playing "Hey, Look Me Over" at maximum lung power all the way through. On the other hand, ignoring it won't make it go away, either.

Somewhere in there is a fine balance, between letting go and taking responsibility. Pretending that all is well, and the problem is non-existent, or pretending that we don't need the rest of society, or that critical, difficult or angry people will go away by themselves, is foolhardy. Staying in isolation, so we don't encounter hassles, means we'll miss the parade.

When there's a problem we must slog through it, and then scrape the leavings off our shoes. Like it or not, we must take responsibility for turning our experience around. This means minimizing reaction and maximizing effectiveness. Taking an objective look at where we become part of the problem and where we succeed are part of the solution makes a critical difference in how life goes on.

On the other hand, self-flagellation and blaming won't get us anywhere either. The key really is respect. To have respect for ourselves is the key to getting others to follow suit. I do believe that loving ourselves is the key. I believe that people who love and accept themselves will naturally do what is necessary to create a positive life, From there, it only takes being willing to project it to others.

Redemption

Life is not always easy
It hums along, sweet and low-key
and then the tsunami—real or imagined,
wipes our smug snugness away.

Devastated by loss, we weep,
We gnash teeth, we grieve, we’re angry
At God, at life, at lack of control.
We regain calm, then lose it, lose it, lose it.

Slowly, slowly, normalcy returns,
creeping back in like the daily tide.
The dawning of another day, bereft of the old,
but blessed with the new,

First shows itself in the smiling eyes
Of dear friends, still here, still offering love.
Life, after all, is worthwhile
And love and gratitude trump grief.

I wish you minimal piles to slog through, and the patience and courage to keep playing your own special song. © 2005 Tina B. Tessina

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.

More Life Advice on YourTango:

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Tina Tessina

Author

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
http://www.tinatessina.com
tina@tinatessina.com
562-438-8077
Dr. Romance Blog: http://drromance.typepad.com/dr_romance_blog/
http://www.twitter.com/tinatessina
http://www.facebook.com/#!/DrRomanceBlog
Amazon author page http://amzn.to/rar7RC
 

Location: Long Beach, CA
Credentials: LMFT, MFT, PhD
Other Articles/News by Dr. Tina Tessina:

Dear Dr. Romance: You're giving advice on what YOU consider norma

By

Dear Dr. Romance: Thank you for your free articles, you have a lot of good stuff in there. A couple of the girls at work and I read your articles and get a good laugh. You're giving advice assuming that our lives are what YOU consider normal. You have a good job, make good money, live in a nice house, wear nice clothes, probably have good make-up, have ... Read more

Debunking Myths About Dating

By

I'm updating my book The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again. The new version will be called Dr. Romance's Guide to Dating in the Digital Age. The following article is excerpted from the new book (edited). A lot of the problems that come up in Dating Again are generated by social expectations, (how other people think you should behave or things ... Read more

Who Are You Really Rescuing?

By

Dear Dr. Romance: I read your article about rescuing: Avoiding the Drama Triangle. I have been rescuing my mother from the big, bad wolf, my father. He would beat my mother, me and my sister. I decided to rescue her. She let me rescue her from her second husband, when she needed money, favors, grocery shopping and now health problems. As I ... Read more

See More

GET MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS IN YOUR INBOX!

Sign up for our daily email and get the stories everyone is talking about.

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

FROM AROUND THE WEB