To Build Up or Tear Down – You Decide

Today as I was rummaging through some old files, I decided to turn on the golden oldies station to break the monotony.  Back in the day, I used to listen to this music all of the time and today, as I stepped back in time, I soon found myself humming (and singing) to the music.  A song came on that I hadn’t heard for quite some time and it got me to thinking.  The song is  Build Me Up, Buttercup.


I find that people always tend to fall into one of two different categories.  Either they want to encourage others or they take pleasure in discouraging others.  This has always perplexed me.  Must we always tear down one another?  Can’t we let people just be?  It seems that we cannot.  This is our nature, but we do not have to accept it.


I took a long hard look at myself to see where I stand.  At one point or another in my life, I discovered that I had played both sides of this issue.  Why?  For me, it was during a low point in which I was extremely dissatisfied with my life and my lack of direction.  I acted out and made an ass of myself.  It definitely was not my finest hour.  I let so much consume me that I did not see how I was hurting others.  I ran with my old standbys: impatience, expectation, stress and anger and they led me by the nose.  It was when I finally saw the hurt I had caused that I decided to stop.


Now just deciding to stop is not enough.  You have to be able to back it up and be willing to accept the consequences from your past behavior.  People will not just run to you and hug you.  They will still keep their distance and question your sincerity.  You need to make all of the moves and you need to be patient.  It takes time to rebuild trust and time to forgive past actions.


It was hard and I had a lot to make up for.  I would like to say that everyone has forgiven me, but that is not the case.  I really did some emotional damage.  I look back now and I still see the scars.  Scars never go away, wounds are healed, but scars remain forever.   I had to take ownership of this and find a way to learn from this experience.


Like I mentioned there are two sides of this coin.  The other side is to encourage others.  I looked deep within myself and felt the shame of my past actions, but now I was determined to make a difference in a positive way.  Some past relationships have been rebuilt with amazing forgiveness and some will not be rebuilt unfortunately.  I accept that, but my past does not need to be my future.  Quicker than Scrooge could open the window on Christmas Day shouting with joy, I decided to pave a new path for myself.


I chose to look for the good in people and to recognize what they bring to a friendship.  I wanted to point out how they made a difference to me and to others in general.  It wasn’t as hard as I thought or made it out to be.  I had to shift my negative attitude and focus on the good within everyone.


Every day we all see people who shape our lives.  People who make us laugh or smile.  People who are just wonderful to be around.  We also see those who challenge us and make it a little harder to be around.  Here, however, is our opportunity to get through to these people and encourage them.  Find a trait or notice something they say or do that can build them up.  Who knows what can come from this?  It may be just the spark that they need.  Maybe they are waiting for someone to take a chance and get to know them and see them for who they are, not for who we deem they are.  A great friendship can emerge out of this.  Confidence and courage to take a chance can come from this.  Doesn’t that sound uplifting to know maybe you are the person they needed to connect with in order to get the proverbial ball rolling?  You helped someone who may be a little shy or uncomfortable with themselves.  You took the time to build them up when they needed it the most.  Imagine what can be accomplished if we all chose to encourage rather than derail someone.


My new path is just that, new.  However, it is the most rewarding choice I have ever made.  I have a bubbliness overflowing from my heart and an eagerness to keep this momentum growing.  I love seeing the results of this act of kindness and I love seeing the reaction from the people I have been blessed to meet.  I smile because I know this is making a difference for me, as well as, for them.


Take a moment and see what category you fall into and then examine why you put yourself into that category.  Are you happy or dissatisfied?  Are you willing or determined to make a change; thus making a possible impact on someone?  If so, take the plunge and turn around.  If your heart is in it, you will make a difference and it will change you.  I have been changed.  I regret the old me and my past actions.  I now live for those I can share this experience with and reap the rewards of this choice.  This time my feet are firmly planted and I have a new direction in my life.  And I could not be happier.  It is your decision whether you make the choice to build someone up or tear someone down.  Here’s to hoping the right choice is made.

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