I’m not much for parties or celebrations. But, I do try to be cognizant of others and what is important to them. I try to wish people I know happy birthday, happy anniversary, as well as happy Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, as applicable.
A female friend of mine, let’s call Carrie, who is about the same age as I am, is married and has three young children. This past Mother’s Day, I took the time to wish her happy Mother’s Day.
Carrie was very appreciative and commented something to the effect that it must have been difficult for me to do that and whether I was doing okay.
Sidebar: Something I have hinted at in various posts, but not written about directly, is that my mother was mentally, verbally, and emotionally abusive to me and to some degree – physically. Because of her actions, and lack of motivation to seek help or change, I do not maintain a relationship with her and haven’t spoken to her in almost ten years. Carrie is aware of this, thus her comment.
Meanwhile…back at the ranch…
While I knew where Carrie’s comment came from, it surprised me. I asked her what she meant.
She explained to me that her sister-in-law is attempting to conceive and having difficulty doing so. I don’t remember exactly how the topic of Mother’s Day came up directly with respect to her sister-in-law – whether someone wished Carrie “Happy Mother’s Day” in front of her sister-in-law, or perhaps Carrie’s children presented her with gifts, but it created a situation where her sister-in-law blurted out towards her, “It isn’t a happy day for everyone, you know!” then promptly stomped out of the room.
Since I have had a negative experience as well, Carrie wondered whether I also negative feelings towards the day.
“No,” I replied. “I am not going to project negative feelings on individuals who aren’t deserving of it as a means to wallow in self-pity.”
I further explained that her sister-in-law is merely projecting onto Carrie her frustration, anger, and disappointment concerning her current situation. While her emotions and feelings are valid, it isn’t right for her to take away the day from others.
I discussed that while I have had a number of negative situations in my life such as the loss of the relationship with my mother and my marriage ending, I am not going to take it out on other people. There isn’t a need to project my feelings from negative situations onto others. I can still be happy for people I care about and rejoice in their happy occasions such as being a parent or deciding to be married.
My tribulations are my own and I have taken responsibility for them. Part of owning them is working to slot them where they need to be with respect to my life and to move past them. It is easy to wish ill will on others. But why? As a means to make others feel the pain we do, and for what? How does this help us heal?
Every time I send someone a wedding card, I write the following message in it:
“Always keep each other first in your lives and always keep open communication.”
It is a powerful message and, unfortunately, a lesson learned from my own failed marriage. But, the silver lining is I grew and I learned from the experience. And, I can help others learn from my mistakes so that, hopefully, their road is less bumpy.