Getting Your Due
Are you vying to be Queen for a Day? Back in the 50s, there was a show on television called Queen for a Day. The way it went was that the person who had the worst story got to be “Queen for a Day.” She had to have had the most tragic story of the group of women who were competing for the title. If she won the title of Queen for a Day, she would win all kinds of prizes like trips, clothing, furniture, jewelry, makeup and the list goes on and on… and the grand finale was a regal floor-length fur-trimmed gown with a crown on her head as she stood there, copious tears streaming down her cheeks. You didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
My mom and I used to watch that program wishing we had the kind of tragedy that would qualify us to be the worst victim of life’s tragedies. But, alas, life was good to us. We had no story.
Sometimes, in life, many of us focus on one itsy bitsy incident where we felt hurt, rebuked, abandoned, and ridiculed, and then built our lives around that incident. We repeat the story of our early childhood abuse. Mom was yelling at us to pick up our clothes and may have even given us a spank or two. We go into therapy and discover that mom was “abusive.” She yelled, she spanked, she threw our clothes in the garbage, trying her best to deal with her incorrigible child who would cry everytime Mommy raised her voice. When daddy came home, it would all get straightened out for one of them, depending on who got to him first with their heart-wrenching story.
“No matter how many times I have scolded her, your daughter refuses to pick up her clothes. Her room is a mess!”
“Daddy, I DID pick up my clothes but Mommy hates me. She yells at me all the time. Oh Daddy, please help me.” He stands there, bewildered, looking at each of you trying to figure out who has the most tragic, most believable story. Who will be “Queen for the Day?”
And so that pattern continues throughout our lives. Now the word “abuse” is popular these days. Once we categorize behaviour as abusive (and there is definitely unacceptable behaviour that is violent and inappropriate and abusive—not talking about that here), it puts us in the victim role. But ordinary everyday interactions among people where anger, annoyance, etc., are expressed, needs to be dealt with in a mature way, not like a little baby. We need to look at what we contributed to the interaction, take responsibility for our part, and “man up” (male or female). Own our part in the interaction.
After a certain point in life, we no longer get to be the baby; we may be looking out at the world as a dangerous place waiting for the next strike. But at some point we must go to the next level in our growth; why not make that choice now? We are free to choose, we are free to move on from our painful past. We want to ask ourselves what the gift on the other side of the pain is. Choose the adult perspective, ask the adult questions and suck it up, knowing that our past has empowered us today. It has informed our intuition so that we can effectively and powerfully deal with today. And as a friend of mine used to say, “Today is Today!” Forgive the grievances of yesterday, plan for the future, but leave the results in the hands of whatever higher power you believe in. And ask yourself when you start walking down the road of “Queen for a Day,” do I really want to do that? Really?
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