Ten Steps Back (U-Turns on the Road to Being Better)


Yesterday was not my best day.  I often write about my journey to become a better person.  If you have been here before you know that I have spent the past five years changing my mindset from that of a pessimist to that of an optimist.  This has led me to being a kinder, more compassionate, happier person.  Until yesterday, that is.  I did not just take two steps back.  I took at least ten steps back.

I have worked hard on being more patient and understanding.  I am more willing to give others the benefit of the doubt as to their intentions.  I let things go now that in previous days I would have held fast to in stubborn resolve.  Yesterday brought challenges in all of these areas.  It was a day that was meant to test my commitment to the life changes I made, and I am afraid that I failed.  It was a tough day that found me taking a few U-turns on the road to being better.

As a South Carolina resident, a frequent visitor to Charleston, and a human being with a heart I was saddened and agitated by the heinous church shooting that left nine innocent people dead.  I spent the better part of the day trying to wrap my mind around the level of evil involved and wishing for comfort for the families of the victims.  I thought about justice, and I thought about retribution.  I had less than pleasant ideas of what should become of the shooter.

I had interactions with difficult people that left me feeling depleted and irritable.  I learned that people who have a close and direct impact on my life once again ignored my clear requests for boundaries.  This betrayal caused me to snap at the nearest target, a person who of course was innocent of any wrongdoing.

The topping on this ice cream sundae day gone wrong?  I had my first unpleasant experience in the blogging community.  I was advised by a fellow blogger in the comments section of his blog that I was “no longer welcome here”.  Ouch, right?  I will not get into the details because I have no intention of getting involved in an internet fight.  I will say this- I have rules that I have implemented for myself concerning social media engagement.  There are things that I will not debate with my closest friends, let alone acquaintances or strangers.  It is because I would not be drawn into such a debate that I was handed my walking papers.  I will respect his wishes, I hold no ill will toward him, and I will continue to interact with the hundreds of bloggers who enrich my life every day.

Suffice it to say that by the end of the day I was a jittery bundle of irritation, tense muscles, and a racing brain.  I went to bed stepping on my own last nerve, slept fitfully, and woke up at 4:45 this morning with a piercing headache.  As I write this there are two lasers of pain shooting from behind each of my eyes, my neck and shoulders are aching, and my jaw is twitching.  I am learning something about myself today.  I am realizing that I can still be triggered by outside events and people, and I am still allowing those things to influence my mindset in negative ways.

There has been progress, though, and for that I am grateful.  While I did think of vile ways that shooter should be dealt with, I also paused to consider what the victims’ families would want.  As peaceful, prayerful people they are likely willing to offer more forgiveness and compassion then I could muster.  Thinking about that enables me to step back from my initial reactions and to try to see things through their eyes.

Yes, I did snap and allow those difficult people to alter my mood, but I did not react the way I once would have.  I chose to remove myself from the conflict where it the past I would have confronted the offending parties in a counterproductive and abrasive manner.  Now I accept that I cannot change their behavior, I can only change my own.

I held firm in my stance not to engage in hot-button topic debates on social media.  It was tempting, I admit that, and I had to fight the urge to peck away furiously at my keyboard in response.  Doing so would serve no purpose, though, and it would only leave the involved parties feeling frustrated and angry.  I am saddened that I was not able to communicate in a manner that made my reason for standing down clear, but in order to move forward on this journey I must hold fast to my self-imposed rules.

Maybe it was not ten steps back after all.  It might have been more like seven or eight steps back followed by two or three steps forward.  Perhaps I did not make U-turns so much as I pulled into a few rest stops along the road to being better.  It is possible I was making progress even as I faltered.  The journey continues…

All photo credits: http://www.pixabay.com

65 thoughts on “Ten Steps Back (U-Turns on the Road to Being Better)

  1. I can’t imagine how your area is dealing with that idiot. I saw the comments you are speaking of, you were pretty much attacked in my opinion and handled it quite admirably. Personally we all suffer a setback from time to time just have to get up brush ourselves off and keep moving in the right path.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for saying this- I admit I was quite taken aback by the aggression. I guess one test replaces another, doesn’t it?

      I am guessing that the compassion of the victims’ families will be what saves his worthless life.

      Thank you for the support today. Have a great Father’s Day fort-building with Sloane (blueprints…that gave me a good chuckle)! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, yeah personally I have no qualms with the death penalty on and open and shut case like this.
        Yeah it seemed like he was just trying to start an argument.


  2. Aww, sorry to hear this. I see no steps back here. I see 10 steps forward for acknowledging there is room for improvement! I’ve yet to encounter a negative experience with a blogger. I hope I can react the way you did if I do.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I hope you never have the misfortune of the experience. It was unpleasant and unnecessary. I try to take care in the comments I leave on anyone’s blog, but you don’t know what will set someone off sometimes. Thank you for the encouragement! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You know how far you have come and that is what matters. If you keep making u turns you eventually make it in the correct direction 😉 Great post! I am sure a lot of us had similar thoughts about how the shooter should be treated and keep the families in our prayers.
    Hugs to you for making it through yesterday and continuing on your journey today!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is a journey, and a hard one. Makes you remember what it felt like all the time before you began the journey, doesn’t it? So angry and in pain all the time. Like poison. Hope you’ll let it wash off you, although I know how painful rejection can be. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great analogy- anger and other harmful emotions are just like poison. I should not even be too surprised as it is someone who tried without success to draw me into an argument on a different occasion. The tone of his posts is becoming increasingly antagonistic, so it is just as well. I hate not being able to share thoughts without it leading to harsh words, but I cannot control that. It does sting, but it is for the best that we part ways.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi there my blogging friend.
    Grab your imaginary crash helmet climb on back and come for a virtual ride with me, let the sound of the engine and the beautiful French countryside soothe.
    Your reaction is only natural, it’s because you care!
    Stay safe. Dookes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for your honest sharing.
    Shit happens. And sometimes much of it during a short timeframe.
    I wish you a bucket of compassion for yourself.
    The process is like learning to ride a bike. Or like learning to walk. Of course, children fall down all the time. But they don’t beat themselves up about it. They just keep trying.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for letting me know that my post has helped you. That makes me happy.
        I was wondering whether I should write it at all since I normally don’t take part in posting challenges. It was after much nudging and kicking from my inner voice that I gave in and wrote. It is good to know that there has been a reason for that post.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I can honestly not imagine you offending anyone so much that they’d tell you that you are no longer welcome! Sucks to be him because he has lost a great follower. Hope your weekend is much better all round. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Tom, this makes me feel better. I have never commented on another blog with any type of bad intention or desire to start a controversy. I must have just said the wrong thing at the wrong time. One bad experience does not diminish the hundreds of positive ones, though. Thank you for the cheery words. Enjoy your weekend! 🙂


  8. Karen, I’m so sorry you had such a trying time. I also had a single bad experience on here where a comment I made was taken in such a way that it had all the other commenters angry with me and accusing me of being too judgmental. The risk, I guess, of only having black words on a white screen is that things aren’t always taken how they were intended. Nuances in voice is a huge plus! Anyway, I just wanted to say that experience also frazzled me. I felt so unjustly accused but I didn’t argue. I didn’t comment further. I just left and haven’t gone back. Sometimes that is the positive way to handle things and the only way to handle them. So I think you did just the right thing there. Lousy that you had it happen, but I think your response of disengagement was a very positive step and definitely not a negative. Your “negative” reaction to the shooter and what should become of him? Well, how else would you have it? You care! You despise injustice! I’m glad you had that reaction. It’s normal. It’s sane in an insane situation. You didn’t act on it. You thought. You do have the freedom to have thoughts and a rational reaction to an irrational act is not lack of progress. You eventually got yourself on track and considered the other side. So again, I’m saying that was progress, not a step back. I could go on and on about the other things that happened and point out that all I see is progress, but you don’t need that. You need to know I admire you and all the progress you’ve made and I even admire that you consider things like this still. You’re one amazing girl. Now take two Tylenol and call us in the morning! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I cannot thank you enough for these words. I also cannot imagine you commenting with bad intentions any more than I would do such a thing. I do feel wronged, and a part of me wants to post the discussion here so people can see exactly what transpired. To do so would be a temporary & shallow act, though, and it would likely just prolong the unpleasantness. Bravo to you for being smart, and the bigger person, and walking away! I think it is the very fact that we do care that leaves us vulnerable to hurt in these situations.

      Thank you, my dear friend, for lifting me up when I need it. I will take those Tylenol with a hot cup of tea, then I will sleep and heal and rebound…with the help of the wonderful people around me. 🙂


  9. What Tom said–very difficult to understand how anything you would say could lead someone to telling you that you’re no longer welcome on their blog. Some people just look for something to make a stink over.

    Like you, I’ve found myself having to pull away from what would be arguments on Facebook over this matter. I just keep reminding myself that this is an emotionally charged deal (and all of the smaller issues that it entails) and people just don’t do well at kindly discussing things in the thick of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, and living in SC puts us right in the middle of it, right? We all know there are issues here (as there are everywhere), but I would love to see people back off from their agendas long enough to allow the families time to grieve and to heal. I had to shut down Facebook last night to get away from it all.

      Thank you for the kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. One day, one incident, one ignorant individaul at a time. That’s all you can do and it seems like you did it very well. Keep the faith. You’re stronger than you think you are. Stay well.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Give yourself grace, my friend. We all have tough days that get us going in the wrong direction. The healthy thing is that you recognized where things were going and made a decision to stop. His mercies are new every morning and for that I am profoundly grateful!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Karen, you are indeed one of the most positive people I know, the very title of your blog is a testament to that. We blog because we want to share our opinions. I suppose there will be small-minded people in our lives, but because blogging is a form of leisure, we have the CHOICE not to engage with idiots. The world has enough conflict without us having to endure more from people who are insecure. Stay that high road, Karen, you are on it for a reason!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh Karen, i am really sorry you had such a dreadful time. It is a shame too that a fellow blogger has become offended that you would not join in with a debate and has told you not to return, I can totally understand why you did not want to become involved. You are one of the nicest people on here so I do not understand how anyone can be upset with you. I do not think you have gone backwards at all, you are doing your best to move forward and everyone has a temporary set-back now and again.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I don’t think you’re giving yourself enough credit. You actually passed all the tests you set for yourself. Thinking and acting are two different things. There’s nothing wrong with fantasizing about what the shooter should suffer, those are just thoughts and what’s the point of controlling everything that floats through your mind. Why engage in conversations with people who just want to fight all the time time? You walked away. Perfect. I can imagine that you would like to respond but you didn’t…just write would you would like to say on a piece of paper and then it’s out of you and you can burn, shred or just throw it away. Brain dumping. It’s all good. Sometime I feel like I would like to be Godzilla and rip through the world toppling governments and holding the tyrants under water until they were no longer breathing. It’s a nice fantasy but I obviously can’t turn into Godzilla and even if I did I may have bigger issues to deal with at that time:) The point is, we can think whatever we like and never set yourself up to fail. Pat yourself on the back for doing such a great job, have a piece of chocolate cake and hum a happy tune. Dance a little and tell yourself how wonderful you are that everyone came out of it alive:) Kudos for a job well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are the second person to suggest writing it all out and then destroying it. I think I am going to do just that and then banish the entire incident from my mind!

      I love the idea of being Godzilla for a day, if only in an imaginary fashion. This Godzilla, after causing some needed destruction, would then eat some chocolate cake while humming and dancing! Thanks for that happy thought! I appreciate the brilliant comment! 🙂


  15. I’ve written lots of journals and then BURNED THEM and all the feelings that went into them. It really works. Try it more than once. Say things exactly as you feel them and then get rid of them. Don’t leave stuff out or be “polite” Once it’s gone, it’s gone…the passion and rage behind it just leaves with the writing. You might think of it, or not, but the feelings behind the stuff will have gone away:) And do dance and eat cake, that’s what life is all about. Have a party everyday, even, maybe especially, when you are alone. 🙂 I love Godzilla. She is a good mom and knows what’s important. She’s focused, knows how to make an entrance and doesn’t need fake nails to get what she wants. She never gives her personal power away and she enjoys being tall and beautiful. What’s not to like? All she wants is a quiet place to raise her family and everyone keeps trying to kill her it’s almost as if THEY DON’T LIKE FEMALES in this place.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. First off, I love the name of your blog. I think it’s really meaningful. Second, I’m sorry you had to go through this. I’ve had to deal a lot with people who want to drag me into an argument because they know I have opposing views, and it’s especially hard when those are people who call themselves your friends. As far as I’m concerned, you have every right to refuse to engage in hot-button topics that are only going to end in negative feelings toward one another. I think you actually made a step forward. Getting mad or anxious is a normal human feeling. Being able to let go of it quickly is what matters. The longer you hold onto it, the harder it is to let go. I wish you luck on the road to optimism! If you ever want to stop on by my blog, I write about my struggle to beat anxiety and mental illness here: http://www.journeytoanxietyfree.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, and thank you for visiting! I appreciate your taking the time to leave such a detailed comment. 🙂 You are right, and I am learning to allow myself to have the reactions, feel them, and then move on. I have been to your blog, and I am following! I love your message and your fortitude. I look forward to reading more! Best, Karen

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: Freestyle Writing Challenge | Hummingbird Redemption

  18. Karen,
    The fact that all that negative energy affected you shows what a peaceful person you are. Some people thrive on conflict and hate. You’re not one of them. Stay good and know you did the right thing. You stepped away from a fight that was going nowhere. Sometimes that’s all we can do. Laurie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Laurie! I like to say, “Save the drama for your mama!”, or basically, I do not like to jump into the fray without good cause. It was hurtful, but I’m glad I stuck to my path. I appreciate you! Best, Karen


  19. Karen, I’m rendered utterly speechless by your post….you have the ability to express yourself so eloquently that I can feel the emotions of the past few days pouring through your words. What a powerful post you put forth here…I’m sending you gigantic hugs and beaming rays of sunshine to warm your heart, mind and soul.
    Very sincerely and always,

    Liked by 1 person

    • I cannot tell you how much it means to me to read your words this morning. You have indeed warmed my heart, my friend. Thank you for being here from the very beginning of my blogging journey. I appreciate you beyond words! Best, Karen 🙂


  20. Karen, I’m replying nearly a month after the incident. No doubt the sting has subsided, but likely the pangs of the confrontation still resurface from time to time.

    I read your words. I look at your beautiful smile on your photo. The juxtaposition is … familiar!

    Bet you weren’t expecting THAT assessment! 🙂

    When I decided to get serious with my own writing journey, I decided that I couldn’t hold back confrontational moments. And if people were offended, I would do my best to explain my position, factually. But I knew my emotions would get in the way.

    What’s the point I’m trying to make?

    I guess… we’re only human. As much as we may want a certain result, situations, circumstances, people are likely to disappoint us. It’s the human condition.

    One thing you said really resonated: “I can only change my own (behavior).”

    SO TRUE!

    We can’t control anything. Except one thing.

    The way we react.

    We can’t even control our thoughts or emotions!

    But we can control what we do with them.

    I love your blog. Thanks for being so transparent.


    • Thank you for taking the time to leave such a detailed, insightful comment. I am still working on controlling my reactions. It is a daily endeavor, isn’t it? So much of what we debate or argue over is unfortunately driven more by emotions than reason. Learning to step back has been a blessing for sure. 🙂


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