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Posts Tagged ‘personal growth’

An acquaintance of mine decided to take his own life last weekend. Knowing him only peripherally, I wasn’t terribly close to him but it was devastating all the same. As more details surfaced, I found out he chose this final act because his girlfriend broke up with him. For some reason, this chilled me to the bone. It deeply saddened me. He seemed like he had so much going for him – he was a successful business owner, well liked, attractive, was very outgoing, etc. But obviously, for him, none of these things were enough. He was so emotionally wrapped up in another human being that he decided he literally couldn’t live without her.

Now I’m not in any kind of suicidal mindset, but I like to look at the bigger picture and try to put myself in others’ shoes. Even in an awful situation like this, I want to look at my own reactions and what they mean for me (cause it’s all just a mirror anyway). In this case, I reacted quite strongly to the death of someone who in all honesty I barely knew. Not to sound callous, but I wasn’t going to miss this person in my life. Yet I was terribly angry the night I found out, picking fights with my boyfriend and being generally cantankerous.

When I acknowledged my inappropriate behavior (okay, my boyfriend called me out on it), I had to question what was going on inside of me. Why was I so triggered? Well, the circumstances of his death made me stop and consider the external things I rely on to define my own value. I’ve spent an entire lifetime, as I believe most of us have, being taught that we are only as good as our accomplishments or status or possessions. Based on this model of thinking, I don’t amount to much.

But somewhere deep inside my soul, I know better. I’m learning that the more important thing is not what I am but who I am. Who do I want to be as a person? When I die, how do I want to be remembered? I can tell you I do NOT want to be remembered for the car I drove or the house I owned or who I was married to or how much money I had, all the things that currently don’t amount to much in my life anyway. I want to be remembered for the impact I made in my world, for the ways that I helped other human beings, animals, the planet. Those are the things that leave an indelible imprint on the world.

When I thought about Jimmy, I didn’t have a clue who he was. In my limited experience of him, he wasn’t very kind. But I knew what he had and what he did for a living, etc. I knew of the things he chose to define his life by. That’s not bad or wrong, it just is. He had his own path and it isn’t mine to judge. But I didn’t ever really know who he was.

Realizing this served to kind of rub my nose in the fact that I’m not living my life much differently at this point than he did. I’m not being the person I want to be remembered for. So I got mad….at myself. I’ve had a lot of thoughts come up the last week as a result of this incident, some reminders of the path I am choosing and what I need to do. And that’s good. So I can definitely thank Jimmy for this, not that he ever had this intention. But as senseless as suicide seems, we can always choose to find a deeper meaning in it, find the silver lining. If we choose to. And I do.

In tribute and remembrance to Jimmy…thanks for the fun times we shared, few as they were. And thank you for the reminder of what this life is really all about. I know you will be missed by those closest to you. May you rest in peace.

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