My great grandmother and I used to watch this movie called Imitation of Life. The movie was made in the 50s and it's filled with so many life lessons. I have been thinking about that movie and a few lessons I couldn't pick up on back then.
I always thought the movie was about an ungrateful girl that wasn't proud to be black. And a mother that did her best to care for her child and protect her from racism and poverty.
The daughter didn't understand being black in America and wanted to be treated fairly. Her complexion was so fair she could easily be mistaken for white but she wasn't and this fact shook up her world.
She EXPECTED to be treated fairly but unfortunately, the racial climate of the country didn't meet her expectations. She became angry, rebellious, and wreckless. She decided to pretend to be white until she was exposed. You should watch it!
My point in bringing up this movie is because I have been thinking of my own expectations that I had for my "friends" and family. I used to live by the motto, "treat others the way you want to be treated." I say used to because they never treated me the way I treat them, just enjoyed the supportive person I am. It began to create anger in me and I formed a few self destructive behaviors. I had to reflect, renew my mind and learn to guard my heart. I learned, a selfish person will take everything you give them and never think about being a giver. A manipulative person will pretend to be genuine to continue receiving all that you give. A liar will speak lies like they are truths even when they are exposed. An ignorant person may appreciate the gift but never learn to reciprocate the friendship because poverty plays tricks with your mind sometime.
I'm retraining my way of thinking with a new motto, WWJD, (What Would Jesus Do?) I mean, Jesus called Judas a friend and made him a disciple, knowing he would betray him. He dined with Peter knowing he would deny Him. Despite their flaws he continued to be the best version of Himself, no revenge or anger involved.
I like to consider myself a nice person and supportive friend but when lied to, manipulated or betrayed, I become an enraged monster. Granted, I still feel people need to understand, I am not to be taken for granted, but wisdom has taught me to choose my battles wisely.
Let's be clear, I'm far from perfect but I try to live as the best version of myself every day. So, how has my new mantra renewed my mind? Glad you asked!
I changed how I deal with people. I wake up every day to be the best version of myself without placing expectations on others and how they should respond. I learned that sometimes, I have to dust my feet off and walk away from people that instigate the monster. The value of my time and energy is expensive and not in a lot of people's budget so I don't invest where there is no profit.
No more expectations, just higher standards for the company I keep. I choose my circle of influence and make adjustments when necessary without guilt or regret. I know that Judas and Peter still exist, they add the drama that's necessary for a great story.
Moral to this story, you can't change people but you can change how you interact with them. Unapologetically make the changes necessary to protect your heart and peace of mind.