Growing Older, Growing Wiser…IF You Keep This in Mind

Have you noticed that some people seem to find their inner zen and worldly wisdom as they age while others only seem to settle into negativity and bitterness?

Have you ever wondered why that is?

As we get older, there are two opposing forces that can impact our general happiness and outlook. Two divergent agencies both raising their voices to be heard.

Which one will you listen to?

The Voice of Life Lost

When I look around me, I see some people who have made it beyond middle age without suffering any major setbacks or losses. But only a few. I’m convinced that wrinkles are only partially due to thinning collagen and the relentless pull of gravity. I think wrinkles are the visible signs of the emotional scars we carry in ever-increasing numbers.

And as those hurts and losses begin to compound, it’s easy to become buried. Become embittered. It may seem that there is more lost than has ever been gained and the thought of trying again feels insurmountable. With so many difficult life experiences, everything can become tainted, turning the once-innocuous into a potential trigger.

Some people let this toxicity build like an algal bloom on a once-clear lake, blocking out all of the light and choking out all of the life. Their lives become a tally of what has happened and how they’ve been targeted by misfortune.

As they grow older, they become more agitated, more pessimistic and often as a result, more alone.

The Voice of Life Lived

And then there are those who listen to the other voice. These souls are no more fortunate, no less likely to have experienced hardship. They simply hear a different message.

They look back at their long lives with its many struggles with the gift of perspective. Perhaps they are able to see how something that was devastating at the time became a gift, even though it was unwanted and a great price, after the passage of the seasons. They view their myriad losses at part of the signs of a life spent giving and loving rather than focusing on what is no longer present.

Instead of questioning why things happened to them, they are able to look back with a sense of quiet pride that they made it through so many trials. And that confidence gives them the optimism that they’ll make it through the next one as well. With time and practice, coping skills and strategies have been perfected and practiced, using the difficult times as opportunities to become better.

Instead of focusing on what they don’t have with bitterness, they view what they do have with gratitude.

Thankful for every moment and every breath.

We all have both voices speaking to us, the proverbial devil and angel perched upon our shoulders. Which voice will you listen to – the one who counsels misery or the one that brings you inner peace and wisdom?

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Growing Older, Growing Wiser…IF You Keep This in Mind

  1. Our society unfortunately is full of extremely controlling toxic people who make some people’s lives hell for a living. I’m glad you never had to experience this but judging where a person’s healing is at or what they think of these inhumane acts simply aids the guilty and shows a lack of empathy and who’s voice is this?

    1. Honestly, I don’t think that the blogger is judging where an individual’s healing is and I certainly don’t feel there is a lack of empathy here. From someone who has come out of an emotionally abusive relationship with a narcissist in one of the most painful and soul destroying ways, I can tell you that we all heal differently. We all cope differently. But we also choose differently. It is your choice to let your experience make or break you. I let mine break me for a while but it only made me bitter and cold. I chose to let my experience strengthen me and only then did I start to heal. I hope you manage to do the same.

  2. It’s easy to become bitter and hurt about previous bad experiences throughout our lives, but holding onto that pain only hurts you and no one else. I became bitter and cold for a while, but then I found meditation and mindfulness which helped me to view my experience as a harsh learning curve. I have been shown just how strong I am an I am grateful for that. I choose inner peace and wisdom 🙂

  3. These 2 choices is what makes us or brakes us. Coming from a lifetime of struggles and set backs it is now that I can look back and see the victories instead of the battles. And as I seek for a better and improved version of what once was I still struggle to let go. To learn from and strive for better things. Each has their own way but yes… you either face the world bitter and cold because off… or you choose to grow due to the pain you once felt… with time we learn how to see thinga

  4. OMG yes. I’ve met both people and definitely prefer the latter. The former also don’t seem to have as in depth understanding of their own lives and as a consequence are much less worldly.

  5. Reblogged this on Me In The Middle and commented:
    Thank you to Lisa Arends for this wonderful post.
    “They look back at their long lives with its many struggles with the gift of perspective. Perhaps they are able to see how something that was devastating at the time became a gift, even though it was unwanted and a great price, after the passage of the seasons. They view their myriad losses at part of the signs of a life spent giving and loving rather than focusing on what is no longer present.
    Instead of questioning why things happened to them, they are able to look back with a sense of quiet pride that they made it through so many trials. And that confidence gives them the optimism that they’ll make it through the next one as well. With time and practice, coping skills and strategies have been perfected and practiced, using the difficult times as opportunities to become better.”

  6. I was just having a conversation about this very thing last night. I choose to take the pain and suffering that I have been through and turn it into love, kindness, and compassion for others.

  7. I think it’s a constant battle of letting the things that have happened to you, words that have been said to you rule you OR listen to your own internal truth that knows you’re better than that. In good days I do great but sometimes the ghost of the past haunt me and own me. My goal is to always let my true self dominate and the other stuff only holds a small amount of my time. Being with a narcissist husband was really incredibly difficult.

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