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Find Your Joy

Why are People so Messy? Have you noticed that some people appear to be happiest when they are causing chaos? I see this often when I am interacting with a large group. Whether from their own feelings of inadequacies, a place of deep sadness or whether they just want to be hurtful, some people seem to recieve an intrinsic reward by "stirring the pot".

This behavior was never so evident than when, as children, we identified the school bully. It does seem that every school had one. This child, whether female or male, caused fear and anxiety in others by their words or deeds. My bully went by the name of CARLA.

First, you must understand, I was a very confident, outgoing child. Strong-willed and ambitious, even as an elementary student, there wasn't much that frightened me. Because my family moved often, I attended many different schools. I learned to be adaptable, to meet people and to make friends quickly.

Carla didn't want to be my friend. She didn't like me.

Anything about me.

Before school, At lunch, or during recess, she found many different ways to point out all the many ways that I didn't fit in to this new school. She mocked my hair, my dress, my walk, my accent. Everything about me was "dumb".

At first, I always countered the taunts with a snappy comeback of my own. But little by little, the jeers started to cause doubts. Maybe I didnt fit in. Maybe there was something wrong with me.

I talked to my Mom about Carla. In my anxiety, I insisted that we to move again so that I could switch schools. But my Mom, who always taught me to be strong and independent, wouldnt hear of it. She reminded me that Carla, like all bullies, probably had problems of her own and was just taking them out on me.

I didnt care about Carla's problems. I didnt want to hear the rationale. I wanted her to stop making me feel bad. But, when mom asked me if I believed the things Carla said about me, I shook my head. Pulling me into a hug, she reminded me that the only one who really needs to believe in me....was me. Her next words were jolting.

"Angela, you are letting Carla have power over you that she doesn't deserve. No one can steal your Joy unless you give it to them. Why are you giving this bully such a big gift?"

That stuck with me. Even at the ripe age of 10, I knew that was important to remember.

Well, Carla didnt change. This isnt the story where I won her over with kindness, or even punched her in the nose. No, I didnt change Carla that entire year. But I also didnt let Carla change me. I ignored her taunts and eventually, she chose other kids to pick on. I made my own friends and finished my last year at Elementary School relatively unscathed.

But the Carla's of the adult world exist as well. They are just a little bit slyer. They have refined their bullying, but it still happens. Bullying now takes the form of gossip, inuendo and drama both in the work places and in your personal lives. Recently, I became aware that a person I cared about got caught up in some gossip and drama. I observed the emotional toll that she was experiencing as a result of this gossip. And I told her what I had observed. At first she tried to deny that it had affected her, but eventually she admitted that she felt betrayed and violated. I passed on to her, the wisdom that had been passed on to me.

Some people will do you wrong. Even people that you consider to be friends. At times, they will set their purpose to make you feel "less than". But remember, the power is yours. You choose every day what to believe about yourself. If you believe in yourself and your worth, you are building the solid foundation for your own well being.

No one can make you feel "less than". You have to give them that power.

No one can steal your Happiness. You have to give it to them.

No one can make you believe a lie, if you are convinced of the truth.

Do not give time to those who are not walking with you, pulling against you or striving to bring you down. Surround yourself with those who are heading down a similar path, building you up and sharing wisdom.

Remember you are so blessed. Even when you are walking through diffiult, even trying times you have the power to sharpen your focus. Do you focus on the diffiulties, the tragedy, the trial? When you do (and we all have those moments when it is hard to see anything else) you lose sight of the blessings in your life. Talk to yourself, sharpen your focus. The bad things wont go away just because you choose to remember what is good in your life. But it will make the journey through them easier.

Joy and Happiness is a Choice. Choose Joy.

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