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Poison Ivy

24 Feb

There are a lot of nice people in the world. People who care, who are kind, and who share their lives with us in positive and helpful ways. But unfortunately, there are also people who choose a different path. There are some who are mean, cruel, even criminal, and if they come into our lives, they can have a very negative impact. We don’t always know their true colors at the beginning which leaves us open for disaster. It’s like taking a walk in the woods and not knowing what poison ivy looks like. We see a vine that’s green and vibrant, and have no idea when we touch it that its powerful affects will cause us pain and discomfort. It’s only after our exposure that we see the terrible result. If someone in our lives presents themselves as caring and kind but in truth is manipulative and cruel, and we share our lives with them, when we discover the truth we will be hurt. If it’s someone we must interact with because of circumstances beyond our control, and we are forced to see them because they are family members, coworkers, or neighbors, the discomfort may be intense. When someone hurts us because they’ve fooled us, lied to us, or manipulated us, it takes time to heal. If we have to continue to see them, it takes even longer.

Life is all about learning. We don’t know what we don’t know, and the only way to find out what we don’t know is to learn as we go. That means we may trust someone who is untrustworthy because we don’t have all the facts. People who set their hearts on deception don’t tell us before they deceive that is their plan. They keep it secret and if they are very practiced, may expertly manipulate us to achieve their goal, whatever that may be. We may figure the truth out quickly, or we may be involved with them for years before we see things as they really are. But sooner or later, when we find the truth it may be devastating. We may feel like fools. We may blame ourselves thinking we should have known and feel horrible. But the blame for deception lies solely with the deceiver. We have no ownership for their behavior. We trusted, which is noble and good, and extended ourselves as friends. It can be hard to forgive ourselves when we’ve fallen for a lie, but believing in others until we have a reason not to, is appropriate.

When we are trying hard to be the best we can, it’s difficult to understand someone who chooses to deceive or hurt us purposely. It’s hard to comprehend such maliciousness but we are not responsible for anyone’s choices but our own. We can decide how to respond. We can choose to be noble even if someone near us has been hateful. We can choose to stand up for what’s right, even if we’ve been stung by what is wrong. If we must interact with them going forward, we can still be our best. We are courageous and brave enough to be near them and choose the right. We can set the example for good even in the face of trouble. We are stronger than we think we are. We know what is right, and nothing, and nobody, can ever diminish that.

Today if you’ve been hurt by someone who purposely deceived you or manipulated you to get something they wanted, it isn’t your fault. You know more now than you did before, and that knowledge will help you going forward. You are worth the very best of everything. You can choose the right and take the higher road at every step. There is an old saying that the best revenge is living well. No matter what has happened, no matter who has hurt you, live well. You know who you are. Choose the very best path. There is nothing that will diminish you.

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