Don’t be my peace.
Be at peace with yourself so you won’t disturb mine.
I don’t just feel the *yes* I feel coming from a place of wanting others to be at peace. People make decisions thinking about how they will impact their own lives but they rarely think about how they will impact other people’s lives, but what is more is that they don’t think about how their rationale in making that decision, the pain or issue they are trying to address can impact the other.
Motive matters, as does that which lies beneath the surface.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that there isn’t a right way to do the wrong thing but do you realize there is a wrong way to do the right thing? If your motive or decision making paradigm is askew, even if you’ve done right, the action is tainted and those touched by your action are likewise tainted. It’s the cheese touch of real life.
I know at some point we have all had some meat in the fridge go bad when it was forgotten, neglected, or the power went out. Regardless of the fact that it was in a container and in the fridge, the stench still permeated the whole house:
the other food in the fridge
It didn’t matter how well packaged it was or that you left the fridge shut when it went bad because the proof of it couldn’t be avoided and anyone who came over to the house experienced it. There’s no way to avoid the stench when you’ve got rotten food in your fridge! Everyone knows. Your house can be immaculate and you can be wearing a suit and tie or a string of pearls, but people will know that the steak has gone bad.
On the first day you might be able to get away with leaving the steak there because you’re just “too busy” to deal with it, but you can’t leave it forever and the longer you leave the rot there, the worse the mess will be for you to clean up later on because though you will eventually get around to cleaning the fridge, even when you throw what is rotten in the garbage, the stench will still be left behind. Sometimes with time the smell clears, but sometimes it doesn’t. The smells can get into the porous surface of everything in the kitchen or common living area, or even throughout the whole house as the vents circulate the stench throughout. You know that at some point the smell can be so bad that there may be almost no removing it while leaving things in the same condition as before.
We have all seen hoarders. It doesn’t matter that we sit comfortably on the couch, we all feel the bile rise when we see some of the homes highlighted, and while we all watch the cleanup take place I know I am not the only one who has wondered how cleaning the place could possibly have removed all the smell because we know it isn’t enough to toss the garbage. But have you ever noticed:
Everyone that walks into one of those houses is impacted by the smell and mess except the person who has grown accustomed to living in it.
The residents get so used to the smell that they forget it’s there while other people who only stop by once in a while cannot avoid the obvious truth. The garbage becomes so much a part of the person’s everyday existence that they argue about keeping filth and garbage in their homes… Because they are more comfortable with the filth and the stench than they are with the idea of cleanliness. The same is true for that which we carry within.
You live with your toxic mindset and behaviors, and you’ve likely spent years justifying and explaining why you are the way you are when anyone bothers to question you.
Why haven’t you bothered to simply address the toxic?
Because it belongs to and defines you in a way.
While I will concede that it is perfectly acceptable for you to choose to hold onto your garbage if you want to, because (after all) who am I to tell you how to live your life, but your toxicity never impacts only you.
Those who live in the house with the rot get the smell in their clothing and their hair whether or not the mess is theirs, and they get so used to it that it becomes a part of them and what they bring with them to the world. It’s there and there is no getting around it even if they weren’t the one to carry that meat into the house and put it in the fridge, they will stink of it like those who live with smokers who smell like an ashtray, people who smell like animal urine or feces, or those with terrible body odor and breath who never have the faintest idea how terribly they smell to the rest of us.
The people around you, especially your children and spouse, can become contaminated by the stench you brought in with you.
The negative things that we carry with us, whether it is by stubborn refusal to address them or unintentionally, become a part of us as individuals and as people in relationships of any kind. What is rotten within us and our experiences, what is rotten within our relationships, will remain rotten regardless of how well we package it and how much we try to pretend it isn’t there. We can do our best to cover it up with a laugh and a smile, a great wardrobe and good career, pictures with all the filters, everything.
We can avoid addressing it if we choose but anyone else touched by us or by our relationship will be impacted by the rot because the reality is that avoidance of addressing our issues is emotional hoarding and it leads to a myriad of other problems, the impact for which is far beyond simply ourselves.
All this is to say that while wounds (trauma, brokenness, anger, whatever) remain unaddressed, they continue to be perpetuated. It happens between adults and from adults to children, generation after generation. Between adults it is the choices we make in friends and partners, and our choices as adults who try to give, do, or be better to or for their kids than we had or experienced. What we may not realize is that in some way we are trying to work out our own issues using our children and our partners as the pawns on that cosmic the chessboard and the consequence will be that our children will carry within themselves the residuals of the wounds of the parents and our partners will begin to appear to be “the same” as those who inflicted their wounds on us because it was our wounds that perpetuated our choices, actions, and words and that motivated our decision making paradigm.
Meanwhile, as adults, when the toxic root of the stench (in a situation or relationship) remains, we can try cover it up with whatever we want, but it never takes it away. We can put it in the garbage in the garage, but it will still come into the house. We can eventually take the garbage out too, but if the toxic has been there long enough we may never be able to remove the stench unless we move on from that relationship or situation. We can get new toys, new breasts, new cars, new spouses, new careers, anything we want… Yet the rot will still exist deep within.
Being at peace is much more than being peaceful in your interactions and being peace loving as a human being.
It’s addressing the bits that need to be addressed and cleansing oneself deeply from them before they have the opportunity to create a stench in your world that will linger no matter how put together you try to make yourself.
Don’t be my peace.
Be at peace with yourself so you won’t disturb mine.