Anyway.

anyway mother teresaMother Teresa hung this in her room in Calcutta. It is based on something Kent M. Keith wrote.

A huge part of me wishes that I was sitting across from you, warming our hands with coffee or tea, on a small rickety table that leaned one way or the other, depending on whose elbow leaned where. Because I want to tell you the story about what happened a few days ago. I want you to be able to look you in the eyes and see my earnestness.

None of these things are possible and if they were, in the end, I would probably decide not to tell you anyway.

Here is why.

My first true experience with girl drama at the age when it really hurts, when we believe this is the worst pain we will ever feel was ongoing and difficult. Whatever the details, it was the first time I remember my mother telling me, “Be the bigger person.”

She said it to me everyday. Because everyday I wanted to shout it to the other girls, how this girl had hurt me. I needed to hear my mom say it everyday. When someone in the neighborhood spoke kindly of this girl or her parents (who were involved), I wanted to say: “But you don’t know the truth.” Instead, I heard my mother’s voice: be the bigger person, be the bigger person. I wanted to close up. I didn’t want to open myself to more pain, even then. Everyday as I readied for school, I heard my mother’s voice in my head. If I came and cried to her, she comforted me. But she always ended the conversation with: remember to be the bigger person. 

Now I know that this was my mother’s version of what Mother Teresa hung on her wall. This past year, the biggest thing I’ve learned has come from watching people and it has been illuminating.

I come from a very passionate and reactionary family. We argue a lot but then we have a high need to resolve the things we said in anger quickly. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just explaining it because for a long time this is how I operated in life–not just with my family (I thought everyone was like us…wrong).

In the past year, first because of the nature of my job, and then because it became of interest to me, I started to notice what happened when people reacted in emotion, in anger, in heat. For the first time, I was able to sit back and let emotions wash over me if I felt attacked or if there was an argument or if I was confronted. Before I would immediately defend and argue back.  For the first time, this past year, and especially the last six months, there were personal problems put on ice for twenty four hours because I knew my words would be kinder and truer then.

Once I had a counselor explain that when we are confronted, our adrenal glands start sending chemicals to our brains. It takes a minimum of 45 minutes for those chemical to dissipate, and that’s only if one were to take a walk, let’s say, for 45 minutes while thinking calmly about something else. If we seethe about that argument during our walk or as we read a book, those chemicals don’t dissipate.

I’m imperfect but if there is one thing I have learned this year it’s that most people react incredibly poorly when they are reactionary, acting out of sadness or anger or any emotion.

When this thing happened, that I can’t talk to you about, or the thing I am choosing not to talk about, even though it has to do with blogging, I told my close friend: This is how I feel right now but I know that I will feel differently in an hour and differently again in an another hour.

I was right.

I heard my mother’s voice: be the bigger person.

And then I remembered Mother Teresa’s prayer. I read it over and over again. In reality, what happened was a blip when I consider it now. At least for me. In the moment, it felt like this person was attacking my character, my integrity, my very insides.

The thing is blogging sometimes means sharing your soul and your heart and sometimes people will attack your words and therefore you soul and your heart. As long as you are being smart about it, share them anyway.

Back to the table where we share coffee, I would want to tell you about what someone in the blogging world did to me. But I wouldn’t. Because of my mother’s words. I would want to defend the words this person attacked. But if you gave me a second, or 45 minutes, I wouldn’t.

The thing is, anytime I post anything where I want to be positive I am writing exactly what I want to communicate, I have at least two people read it (except for one time when I pressed publish on accident but that was not the most recent time). Depending on the topic, I ask certain people. Most of the time, it’s two women I respect and admire. We have a lot and common but we are also different. They tell me when I have not communicated well. They tell me when my words don’t match my true feelings and intentions. They call me on my stuff, in essence, and that is so incredibly important.

So it’s not like I ever come on here and spew my feelings all over you. Forty five minutes have passed (figuratively speaking). It’s been proofed by people I trust and I don’t mean grammatically.

Anyway. Anyway. Anyway. It’s the word that been on my mind for days, since the incident. Knowing the ways I cope, a part of me wanted to withdraw, delete, and not share my point of view with you any longer.

But I’m continuing anyway.

People can be hateful and mean. They can choose unkindness over kindness. They can let their own unhappiness dictate their every word and action.

I will continue to conduct myself the way I was raised anyway. In being the bigger person, and someone my mom is proud of, I’ve learned that when that hate like this is aimed at me, it typically has very little to do with me.

It was never about me and them anyway.

I don’t answer to anyone but Him anyway. And when I read Mother Teresa’s words, I know that I reacted to this person with “an anyway” spirit. I know that I honored Him. That’s enough for me.

You wouldn’t want to read about the whole story anyway.

Love (for real),

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31 thoughts on “Anyway.

  1. Liz

    One of the things I love most about your blog is how you share your heart – you do it in such a measured and intentional way – you can see the care you put into it and your heart behind it. Keep sharing your heart anyway lady, because it is beautiful.

    1. Nina Post author

      Thank you for reading my texts that say: can you read this for me? And then telling me when my baby is ugly. No but seriously, thanks for being one of my proofers.

  2. carissajade

    This is beautiful and definitely needed to be said. You said it much better than I could. People can be mean. We get to choose what we do with that.

    1. Nina Post author

      I think you said it perfectly, Carissa! People can act however they want. We can’t control that. We can only choose how we handle it. 🙂

  3. Anne

    Well this speaks to me on so many levels….as usual with your writing. We had an incident at school lately that became pretty huge and I kept telling my daughter (and myself) to be the bigger person. To be the adult. To let it go. Easy words to say but hard to do. As a mom it’s become even harder I think bc as I am telling my daughter this I am seething below the surface and trying to be the bigger person when all I want to do is go off. Talk about a lesson in patience and calm (an ongoing one for me, likely a lifetime one). I love what you say about waiting it out. I have actually written letters/emails/responses (that never got sent, they remain drafts) to situations just to get them off my chest and then went to bed. In the morning time and distance has soothed me a bit.
    Being the bigger person is hard to do but in the end I do believe that it pays off and eventually karma come back around.
    Thank you for always sharing these things with us….and keep it up. No matter what anyone says. XO (Insert elephant emoji HERE).

    1. Nina Post author

      Anne, you are just so insightful. I never really considered how hard it was for my mom to constantly tell me to do the right thing when she probably wanted to do something about it herself. I called her and thanked her. I’ve just learned that I feel at peace when I lay my head on the pillow when I am the bigger person. That doesn’t mean always remain silently but there are always a lot more people that are not worth getting upset over. But add kids to it? I am sure I would have to relearn and repractice ALL of this because I am so protective of those I love you. You are a good mom. ELEPHANT EMOJI xo

  4. Andrea Nine

    This is so beautiful and inspiring. I carry Mother Teresa’s words with me always, there was no wiser woman. You, my dear, hit home for many of us And remind us to take the higher road even if it is less traveled. Thank you 🙂

    livingoncloudandreanine.blogspot.com

  5. Meagan

    For me, it’s important to speak my mind – to be heard and I know that I’ve said my peace, and then be the bigger person. Especially in a disagreement, most people will not come around to how you feel, and I’ve accepted that. BUT, I always feel like I need to say what’s on my mind and then “agree to disagree”. Adding to what Anne said – this is especially difficult as a mother, because you want to go all “mama bear” on some kids/parents, but also need to teach them to not be the same way. We can’t win!

    1. Nina Post author

      Oh girl. I FEEL YOU. Speaking my mind does not mean you don’t have an “anyway” spirit. For me, I was speaking my mind about everything and I just realized I was putting a lot of energy into people that just weren’t worth my anxiety or my confrontation. I can love them better in an “anyway” fashion. I totally get the agree to disagree thing but in my experience a lot of people don’t want to agree to disagree. They want to keep arguing. SO I have been working on trying to choose more carefully who I engage with. Does that make sense? I can’t imagine it as a Mom, as I wrote to Anne. I called my Mom and thanked her because giving your kid is one thing and I know it was hard for me. I can’t imagine it as a Mom someday!

  6. Kenji

    I am so glad I came to your blog today. I don’t know what happened but just know that I thoroughly enjoy your blog. You are always filled with such wisdom and positivity. I search for that in life. Bad things will happen, people will say cruel things, and people will hurt us – really bad, but when we can overcome these problems and find even one tiny positive thing come from the situation we can live a happier life. So while I have no idea what happened, this post is going to do so much good in people’s lives and that is something so positive. I smile because I know you and that you can shine your positive light on others around you and in this blogging world!

    1. Nina Post author

      Thank you for coming by. I am a very imperfect vessel. I agree with your take on life and so appreciate your encouragement!

  7. Katie Elizabeth

    I’m so sorry for whatever happened! 🙁 But I do love this quote and try very hard to always be the “better person” – I think that’s something that will always be a work in progress though. Love that you share your heart here and don’t let one person stop you from doing that!

    1. Nina Post author

      Definitely always a work in progress. I would just say a year ago I didn’t even know where to start! haha. Thank you for your support, Katie!! xo

  8. Diana

    Beautifully written. I’m a very reactionary person myself. I’ve been learning over the past few years to wait, gauge how I feel, and address things again later if need be. I completely know how you feel because sometimes you just want the other person involved (or all the people that know them) how unhappy they made you, how they’re wrong, how they’re awful…or whatever. But sometimes its just better to wait.

    1. Nina Post author

      As a reactionary person myself (though I am obviously working on it), learning about what actually goes on in the body was so helpful. Literally knowing that those 45 minutes to an hour I am incapable of reacting in a way with the way I truly am proud of and believe in, ya know? And then because of a job I had and then just some things, I feel like God opened my eyes and I was able to see others do things I have done so many times and realize :”oh man…I don’t want to do that.”I still mess up but the last six months have been illuminating. Thanks for reading!

  9. SFM

    Gosh, Nina. I find that I come to your space exactly when I need it. He works on me when I come here and I find comfort in the words that you write. I love that your mom consistently told you to be the better person and that it still resonates with you. 🙂

    1. Nina Post author

      SFM. You encourage me so much. To keep going, keep searching, keep looking for God in EVERYTHING. So when you read something here, please know that you are one of the people that helps make this happen! Love you!

  10. kili namauu

    Aloha Nina. I love that your mom raised you right. And more importantly that you love and respect your mother. I share with my own children, that we need to strive to be PONO everyday. It is a Hawaiian value that encompasses some of the following meanings- goodness, uprightness, moral qualities, excellence, well-being, righteousness, duty, fair, proper…. We try to wake up every day with the goal to be in pono and stay pono throughout the day. Sometimes it is tough, but we do rely on the values of our kupuna (ancestors) to help us navigate through life. I believe your mother has shown you, how to be and stay pono. with much love and aloha, auntie kili

    1. Nina Post author

      Aloha, Kili! Your comment meant so much to me. I shared what you wrote with my mom because I know you guys have a special bond. Thank you for teaching what the word “pono ” means. Now knowing that, yes, my mom definitely brought me up pono. Staying Pono now as an adult is the goal. Love and Aloha, Nina

  11. Amy

    Though I stopped blogging for personal reasons, I still follow your blog because you have been one of my favorite bloggers since I discovered your blog over a year ago. I also favored the blogger of which you write, and I can honestly say it has pained me to see this occur between those two of you. Your intentions were heartfelt, and that was evident as it is with each of your blog posts. Your love, kindness, faith, talents, strength, beauty and compassion shine forth on your blog. This post just radiates of being the “bigger” person and not letting the drama and arguing consume you. We can’t control other people’s reactions or the way they may misinterpret another person’s words. Thank you for this post, thank you for your previous post and thank you for showing your faithfulness to the Lord through your illness. You are an inspiration. Doesn’t hurt that you’re Italian, and I drool over the Italian recipes you share since I believe wholeheartedly I should’ve been born an Italian. Keep calm and blog on, Nina!!!!!

    1. Nina Post author

      Hi Amy. Thank you for continuing to read my blog. I truly appreciate it and for your belief in my intentions. I am happy to say that there was no argument on my end whatsoever; I was alerted of the post which was a response to something I had written. Because of other things that have happened in the past (several months ago) and the general attitude of that post, I chose not to engage in any way (no pun intended). One of the hardest things for me is to hear that I have hurt someone or that my intentions or words have been misinterpreted. That’s why I try to be careful with what I do say, even as going as far as to have a few people read things like that previous post, before I say it. Because I want to honor God and honoring God means loving Him and loving others. And if I am not coming from that place then I have no business blogging or writing. I think it is incredibly clear when a blogger is not coming a place like that. Thanks for reaching out, la ragazza italiana! Tanti Baci!

  12. Emily

    Anyway, I think the goodness of your heart shines through not only this post, but many. Don’t ever stop. xo

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