There are times when I wonder about how it seems that some people get away with behaving badly.
Let’s be honest there are times when life just doesn’t seem fair.
It doesn’t seem fair that innocent babies are harmed or killed.
It doesn’t seem fair that there are liars, thieves and murderers who walk away with verdicts of not guilty.
It doesn’t seem fair when a loving person is diagnosed with a terminal illness.
And then there is the fact that when I search the concordance the word fair is no where in the Bible.
The word ‘just’ is there but not the word ‘fair’.
Nevertheless, there are times when things don’t seem just either.
My point here is not to pretend that I can wrap my human brain around those concepts and cry out that I have an answer for what I think is unfair or an injustice in our world because the truth is I most certainly don’t.
But even though it pains me when I see what appears to be guilty people walking away without punishment and as few answers as I have I must confess that it doesn’t serve me to expend my energy wondering if those who do what I consider wrong are served justice.
It would be a lie if I told you that those thoughts don’t cross my mind because they do, but I choose not to dwell on it.
I have had people treat me in a way that I perceive to be very wrong.
But at the end of the day what happens in their lives is none of my concern.
You see, the race I run is my own.
And their race is theirs alone.
The truth is when it comes to the race that I am running it doesn’t really matter that some people appear to get away with unscrupulous behavior.
What matters is that I stay the course because when all is said and done the course of love does indeed work for me.
There are people in this world who believe that being selfish, manipulative and unkind is the way to be.
That is how they have chosen to run their race. I cannot control how they choose to live their life no more than they can control how I am choosing to live mine.
I have crossed paths with people who I feel have unjustly wronged me.
I am going to surprise many of you. I thank God for those people.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to engage with them again.
I don’t like the pain they brought into my life, but I have learned to respect it.
I sincerely thank God for the lessons I learned through the pain they brought me.
What they designed to harm me was transformed into something to ultimately better me.
Because I chose not to allow them to make me bitter but instead to become better.
For example, I have not had many romantic relationships but the few I have had were very sour.
And yet those men brought me closer to becoming my best self by leaps and bounds.
The betrayals I endured in those relationships, while painful, taught me lessons that I don’t think I could have learned any other way.
I have experienced the lost of loved ones to death in a tragic way by the hands of other human beings. I recall grieving very deeply and feeling like I couldn’t go on.
I don’t like how my loved ones transitioned and the grief was so unbearable that it literally hurt to breathe because my heart was so heavy. But life showed me that when I didn’t think I could make it another day that I had more strength then I knew – and here I stand.
I have had people wrong me in my career life and who created a hostile work environment. There actions troubled me deeply, but they also made me grateful for peaceful times, a more compassionate person and a better employee.
Now here is the thing, I don’t want anyone to think that I am saying that I am not bothered when bad things happen.
Rather what I am saying is that it is best not to expend mental energy wondering what becomes of those people who we believe have wronged us because ultimately if we choose not to become bitter, despite the taste, the most vilest poison can make us better.
It benefits us to forgive people and to let go of the outcome of their lives.
I know that there are those who thrive on destroying others and using people.
I have chosen not to put stock into the methods of “success” that they cling to.
Mistreating people simply doesn’t work for me and so I do not subscribe to it.
I was not raised to exhibit those character traits and I truly believe that my upbringing has served me well.
Wondering why it seems as though someone is getting away with something is a form of judgment and comparison.
This is because we often think:
‘Had I done something like that I would feel guilty and/or be punished’.
‘Here I am doing right and treating people right and there they are getting away with mistreating people and doing wrong.’
It would save people a lot of grief it they realized:
We are not all raised the same way.
We do not all see the world the same way.
Everyone doesn’t have the same morals, values and awareness as you do.
There are some people who really believe that the very behavior that you find displeasing is really a good thing.
To compare your life with anyone else’s is simply unwise because no one compares to you. You are a designer original, unique and incomparable when it comes to your life’s purpose.
No one but you can fulfill your life’s purpose – for it is yours and yours alone.
Speaking of comparison, all too often I hear people say they are dissatisfied with their station in life in comparison to where their friends, family and colleagues are at.
This is another time when I advise people to stay in their lane.
Please know that you can only run YOUR race.
If you focus on what other people are doing it will result in the slowing down of your speed in which you achieve your goals, dreams, aspirations and ultimate purpose.
For example, I have worked to achieve goals only to have it brought to my attention that people who started at the same time as me or even those who started after me are excelling far greater than myself at the very same dream I am trying to so diligently achieve.
I could get upset with myself and I could become envious of their success.
But I choose to do neither.
You see, I decided early in my life that when others excel it doesn’t mean that I am failing. When I see someone achieve a goal that I want for myself I applaud them and see their success as proof that my goal is possible.
But then there are the times when I see people cheat their ways to what we call success.
As I shared at the top of this blog post it does bother me.
It bothers me when it seems that someone is rewarded for doing what I consider wrong.
But here is what I have come to find – what is happening in the lives of others is really none of my business.
I don’t know what is playing around in their conscience as they examine the private thoughts that ramble through their mind. And I don’t know what happens in their homes behind closed doors. And also people are often privately reprimanded without my knowing.
And the truth is it isn’t for me to know.
Taking the time out to wonder if life served up someone else justice takes away from the time I need to be spending improving my life and becoming my best self.
I have a race that I am running and the only person that I am in competition with is myself.
I want to be better than the woman I was yesterday and each day that I am given the gift of breath is another day to work to outdo the woman I used to be.
No ones race is identical to mine.
They may be on a similar path. Their path might run parallel to mine. And as a matter of fact they may have a path that runs perpendicular to mine.
But my path is my own.
Recognizing this could save so many of us from a world of hurt.
Case in point, I have literally stood witness to people buying a home because all of their loved ones were buying a home.
They weren’t in the best financial position to do so, but they felt like they were less than because they weren’t doing what they felt others were doing.
This resulted in them purchasing a home they were not able to afford and losing it.
I also know people who have gotten married because everyone else in their circle was getting married.
And yet the person they married wasn’t an ideal life partner.
Doing something because everyone else is doing it is a dangerous motivation – especially when it comes to major life altering decisions.
My advice is to keep your eye on your own path and don’t worry about the position of others, specifically people who seem to be receiving ill gotten gains.
I have found when I get focused on me and what I am doing, I don’t really have time to notice what is going on with the people who are ahead of me, behind me or even those beside me.
When I let go of the idea of judging others I am able to be thank life for everyone around me and keep moving.
But when I start looking to my left, to my right, in front of or behind me I am susceptible to becoming bewildered as to how someone got ahead, nervous and leery of those beside me or becoming prideful for advancing beyond those who I deem as behind me – and then I trip and fall every single time.
Life is constantly teaching me that their race is theirs and my race is mine.
How they choose to run their race is between them and the Divine and none of my business.
If I want to achieve my purpose I cannot dwell on the happenings of others, especially those whose methods I disagree with.
We all have to overcome hurdles no one will ever know about, so focusing on how they are doing better than me in an area/or areas when there is most likely an area of my life that I am excelling in that they are not is futile.
So I work to stay focused on me. For as I glance over to see what they are doing it simply impedes my progress and makes me prone to losing my footing and causing me to stumble.
I cannot spend time feeling prideful that I am ahead of others.
“Pride comes before the fall”. Any time I think that I am better than someone else life has a beautiful way of humbling me, by allowing me to stumble and in turn reminding me that I am not.
I am no better than anyone. They are achieving obstacles I know nothing about and that I most likely do not have the capacity to surpass – so who I am to mock them?
I also cannot become competitive with someone running beside me.
Those people running beside me have taught me some of my most precious lessons, there is no need for me to have any contempt for their footing.
And I cannot spend time trying to carry people who are not willing to put on their running shoes and run their own race.
In carrying people I am forsaking my own race and that is never going to lead me to achieving the goals that life has set before me. I cannot save anyone else. They must learn to develop their own strength and overcome their own obstacles. I am not advancing them if I enable them.
All of the people in my life serve a purpose.
To the ones who throw obstacles on my path in an effort to hinder me:
It hurt when I had to endure the pain of going the extra steps, but I want to thank you for helping me to build muscles that I didn’t realize that I would need to complete my journey. And it was in the very ditch that you dug for me that I became wiser and learned patience and how to overcome my fears.
To the ones I went back and tried to save:
It took me quite some time to realize that I couldn’t save you, but I thank you for teaching me that just like it is your responsibility to save yourself it is my responsibility to save myself. Yes, in my effort to help you I slowed down my progress, but I also learned personal responsibility and not to over give. Those were lessons I needed to learn to advance to the next level and so I say thank you.
To those who are ahead of me and have found yourself there by being kind, compassionate and loving:
I am so proud of you! Thank you for giving me hope that I can achieve my goals and become my best self. I applaud you and I hope you make even further gains.
For those who are ahead of me and found yourself there by doing things that I don’t perceive to be methods that are right:
I want to thank you for helping me to realize I don’t want to go where you are going. You may be paces ahead of me or even miles, but where you are going doesn’t resonate with me. I forgive you for tripping me, mixing up my directional signs in an attempt to throw me off course, and digging that hole for me. You taught me who I don’t want to be, made me stronger in doing so and helped show me where I don’t want to go.
And to those who have run beside me for so long I declare that if I call out cadence we would hit our feet to the ground in sync, I want to thank you for running along side me. There have been others who ran beside me and are no longer there – they have left for a wide variety of reasons, but like you, they all made me who I am. Their absence has made me aware that there may come a time when you will no longer be by my side, so I give thanks for every step that you traveled along with me for you too have made me better.
And so I will work to stay focused and to run my own race and I encourage all of you to do the same.
© Renata Pittman Smith, Renata Nicole and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.