They say, “There’s always something positive that comes from every bad situation.” How can you possibly be positive when these things keep happening to you, right? Funny thing is, if you look closely, it’s probably the same situations that keep repeating over and over again. It might involve different people or a different place, but these things that leave you angry and in desperation always end up being the same.
Well, there’s a good reason for it:)
I’ll let a woman I visited often in Colombia (I’ll call her Ursula) talk about how when she finally learned the lesson she needed to learn, it changed her LIFE!
Growing up, I was the “ugly duckling” of the family. While my sisters and brothers paid particular attention to their appearance and loved social events, I enjoyed handcrafting at home and never really concerned myself with my physical appearance. When they had friends over at the house, they tried to involve me in their activities and conversations. After sitting there without saying a word, I would eventually leave the room. It drove my sisters and brothers crazy! They kept telling me, “Wear make-up, fix your hair and dress up. If you look better, your attitude towards people will be more alive. You’re the youngest and you look like the oldest of the family.” They regarded my handcrafting as a childish behavior and felt I should act more like a woman.
You can’t imagine how those words hurt me deeply!
I tried to ‘fit in’ and have them accept me. I threw out all the jewelry and hand bags I ever made and stopped making them. On a few occasions, I made an effort to dress up and even wore lipstick. The men would turn to me, whistle and say things like, “WOW! Look at Ursula!” The women would drag me in their bedroom to pick better clothes for me and put more make up on me.
I wanted to yell out, “Why don’t you all leave me alone?” Instead, I would run away and hide in my room. Sometimes, looking at myself in the mirror, would have me in tears.
As I got older, I constantly felt I was on display and eventually, my hurt turned to anger. Assuming that everywhere I went people judged me, I’d give dirty looks and blurt out rude remarks to anyone who rubbed me the wrong way.
A few years went by and the only people I communicated with were my parents and my husband. They were the only people who never made any remarks about my appearance. I didn’t need nor want anyone else in my life.
On a few occasions, out of respect for my parents, I went to family gatherings. I would end up expressing my anger and frustration towards the others with my parents and husband. They always responded, “Ursula, people cannot see your inner beauty. You have to see it first and make it visible on the outside for everyone to see.”
It seemed that no matter what I did, outer beauty would plague me for life.
Twenty Three years ago, at 32 years old, was a massive turning point in my life. Both my parents passed away 6 months apart. A year later, my husband was shot and killed. I was left alone to raise my 4 year old son. It was the hardest, most painful 2 years of my life. I went through countless days wondering things like, “what did I do to deserve this?” Looking at my son, I felt I wasn’t fit to be a mother. I believed I had nothing to give him or show him. It was during this period of my life, that I realized I was the only person in the room who was judging me. I was faced with coming to terms that the only “Real Enemy” in my life who ever made me feel unworthy was not other people.
It was ME! I believed their comments to be true and lost sight of who I was.
I was never one who fused over my appearance and loved handcrafting. This is who I was, my own inner beauty! I finally understood what my parents and husband were trying to tell me.
How could I expect for others to recognize my inner beauty if I was not able to accept it and let it shine on the outside?
All those years of torment, blaming others and being angry, I kept living the same bad situations and having the same conflicts with people because I had not yet learned this lesson.
It’s been over 20 years that I rekindled my passion in making jewelry, hand bags and discovered a new passion for painting. It’s actually become my business today.
Accepting who I was completely changed my life. People stopped making remarks about my appearance and are attracted to me for ME!
Every bad situation has been an opportunity for me to become a better person. Even in my most painful situations, whether it was grief and loss, my loss of hearing and accepting I needed hearing aids or my son’s diagnosis of chronic diabetes. I learned to control my attitude, have compassion be grateful for all I have and let go of anger.
People often tell me, “Ursula, I wish I could be as positive and happy as you.” I always tell them, “You can if you chose to be.
Life will continue to give us lessons. Unless we learn the lesson we are being given, our bad situations will keep repeating themselves.”
Is there a pattern that keeps occurring in your life? How did Ursula’s story help you to recognize it and change it?