Have you ever had a certain piece of advice stick with you without really being sure why? I can think of a couple different things that were more cliche than anything, and I'm not even sure where I may have heard them the first time. But I do have this one... particularly insightful piece of advice that my brother gave me more than a year ago, and I can't forget it. I told him awhile back that it stuck with me and he kind of chuckled, but in the past two days the advice has proven to be perfect in both application, and hilarity value (very important when you're dealing with fun haters and not-so-bright people) and I figured someone else might benefit from this wisdom.
WARNING: If the word "shit" bothers you, you'll want to go ahead and walk away now! :)
Okay here we go:
Advice from the bro:
"Okay, you keep eating the shit sandwiches she makes for you so what do you expect?"
I was like... "uhhhh what?"
And he said: "Yeah, every day she makes you at least one shit sandwich, and you look at it, think about it, talk about it complain about it, and then... you eat it."
"So tomorrow, or even later today, she's going to make you another shit sandwich, and based on what I've seen so far, you're probably going to eat it again."
And I was like "hmmmm. I do, do that, don't I?"
And he says, "Yep, and as long as you keep eating her delicious shit sandwiches, she's going to keep on serving them to you."
And that was that.
Shit!!! I don't like shit sandwiches at ALL. But you would never have guessed it because he was correct... I was being served GOURMET SHIT SANDWICHES at an alarming rate for the past several years, and I DID complain. I bitched and moaned and griped and complained, but I ate them, time and time again. I can't tell you how many times I threatened not to eat those damn things anymore, but I have a laundry list of reasons (excuses) why I'd give in and belly up to the shit sandwich buffet, and people... I am proud to say I am now happily living a Shit Sandwich free life.
You would think it would be fairly easy to stop eating shit sandwiches, but sometimes it just isn't. Sometimes you worry about the people you love who are also eating those same shit sandwiches. So coming to terms with the fact that the other shit sandwich eaters are old enough to make their own decisions and suffer their own consequences was a necessary component in the plan to go Shit Sandwich free. (And It took a few extra sandwiches to get that point to sink in, trust me!)
And now... things will probably be looking a little different to some folks in my life, and I'm sure they will be misconstrued, and misunderstood as usual, however, I know that I have done the right thing. I have never withheld love from the people who mean the world to me. I've worn it on my sleeve, I've proclaimed it to the world, I've given them everything I can and expected NOTHING in return. I will never stop doing these things... so I stopped feeling guilty for wanting to walk away from the bullshit. I stopped feeling guilty for leaving someone I love more than life in a spot where it probably feels like they have to fend for themselves with no support, because I know in my heart that person knows I'll always be there for him. I stopped feeling guilty for knowing that if I turned my back on the bullshit I'm taking the risk of losing contact with some other beautiful things in my life, and that was probably the hardest thing... but I know the universe unfolds as it should, and I know I wasn't doing any favors for the people I love by being a phony shit sandwich eater.
And one thing has become very, very clear. When you get tired of something that makes you feel bad you really can wake up one day and decide to change it. You have the power to do that, and it really is THAT EASY.
So, do you have someone serving up shit sandwiches in your life? Think about it! ;)
Thank you brother, for giving me the most useful advice I've heard in a good while. And delivering it in a way that I can share it zebra style! You're the best.