Let’s agree to quit these things

Let’s agree to quit these things

If you read this column on a regular basis, you may think this article is a contradiction compared to the one I wrote recently urging our readers not to quit. That writing had to do with not giving up, not letting go, trying one more time, and hanging in there. This week, I am urging us to quit some things. Life is a complex mixture of hanging in there and being wise enough to know when to let go of things that hold us back, and in some cases, people who hinder our progress and happiness. It hurts when we must cut something or someone out of our lives, but it has to be done from time to time.

My old pastor, for whom I worked more than 25 years, had a funny saying. He often quoted to one or the other of the staff members or church family, “Do what you have to do. Don’t cut the cat’s tail off one inch at a time.” I usually laughed along with everyone else, but one day, I was forced to come face to face with what the advice really meant. If we have to straighten something out, if we have to correct someone, or if we have to deliver a message for our own best interests, let’s do it properly, quickly and with love, if possible. Don’t do it little by little, over and over, and cause pain and hurt repeatedly.

Let’s face it, folks. We will never be able to please everyone. It doesn’t matter how hard we try, how much we give, how kind we are, or how knowledgeable we become, someone is always going to disagree with our point of view and our advice. We need to learn that we simply cannot please everyone. My mom also had many sayings, some of which I can repeat in print. She said often that some folks wouldn’t be happy with a mansion in heaven and a potato patch in hell. She was right. Some folks just won’t be happy no matter how hard we work and how much we try, so let’s not hinder our own lives, hurt our own family members, or our co-workers by trying to make everyone love us. Won’t happen while we live here on this earth.

Another thing on my personal list of things to quit is to stop fearing change. It is going to happen. The one certain thing is that all things change, and we cannot prevent it no matter how hard we try. Accept it. Prepare to meet it. Go with it. I have learned the last two years that everything can change and I might as well be able to ride with the tide. (I am working on this one every day.)

A third thing on my list of things to quit is to stop living in the past. It is gone, and I cannot change it for myself or anyone else. Hopefully, we learn from our mistakes and our experiences, but we must move on to the next new thing. It does us no good to constantly think backward, to long for things that are gone and that will not be again. Move on. Get on with life as it is today. Find new interests, new jobs, new friends, new homes if necessary, and be happy in the present. Look toward the future. I read this week that the windshields of our cars are so much larger than the rearview mirrors because we are going forward and not backward. I hope that is true in each of our lives.

The fourth thing I would mention is to stop putting ourselves down. Sure, we make mistakes. We screw up. We are human. We are not perfect. But it does no real good to constantly present a negative opinion about who we are, what we do, or where we are going in life. Work on being positive. Think happy thoughts when we can. Strive to be a positive role model and stop being a Negative Nancy.

And the fifth one is a big one for me. Stop wasting valuable time overthinking every single thing in our lives. We all spend way too much time over-evaluating ourselves and those around us. My pastor told a very prominent man in our church one day that he really should stop worrying about what others in the church thought about him. I have never known for certain if he planned to say what he did or if it just jumped out of his mouth, but he said, “They really don’t think of you that much. You are not that important to them.” Wow! Talk about pouring cold water on someone. As the years passed by, I learned how right he was. Many of the things we surmise and worry about aren’t even on the agendas of our friends, employers, neighbors or family. Get on with your life.

Let’s try quitting these five simple things and see how our lives change.


Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.