Be with those who bring out the best in you, not the stress in you.
This past Saturday, while Angel and I were enjoying a safe and peaceful backyard barbecue at our friend Sara’s house, her 16-year-old foster child, Cody, received an unexpected visit from his biological mother – a woman who has been in and out of prison and rehab her whole life. Although Sara was a bit hesitant about it, she let Cody and his mother talk privately on the front porch. We occasionally eavesdropped from the living room window just to make sure everything was okay.
Cody’s mother was extremely rough around the edges and almost immediately started bringing up hurtful memories from the past. About 20 minutes into the conversation, she told him, “I see your anger, and I just wish I could go back in time and raise you again, to change who you are and give you a better upbringing.” Sara was about to walk out onto the porch to interject when Cody calmly replied, “I’m not angry. I’m perfectly fine, thank you. I’m proud of who I am. Maybe you should go even further back in time and change who you are instead.” And then he walked his mother to the front steps of the porch and politely asked her to leave.
Cody’s response impressed me on so many levels. It takes a lot of courage, especially at 16 years of age, with a rough upbringing, to tactfully stand up for yourself. And he handled himself with grace.
So, whenever you’re dealing with a difficult or hostile person, remember how Cody handled himself. Take a stand! Set some boundaries! This is your life. You may not be able to control all the things people do to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. You can decide not to let their actions and opinions invade your heart and mind. And above all, you can decide whom to walk beside into tomorrow, and whom to leave behind today.
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