Here’s an idea to play around with. The next time someone or something upsets you, ask yourself, “Does this define me or refine me?”
Why? Because your answer determines how you move through the experience and the baggage you carry afterward.
Let’s see what Webster has to say about these two words.
Define: to determine the limits or nature of; describe exactly.
Hmmm. “Determine the limits” seems pretty limiting. And “describe exactly” is a crazy-making quest. I don’t know about you but my life – and upsets – defy any exacting description. This defining business is feeling a bit tense.
Refine: to free or become free of impurities. To make or become more polished.
To “become free” and “more polished.” All right. I’m exhaling here. This feels like something I can grab hold of when grappling with an upset.
How a Defining Moment Becomes a Refining Moment. Stop. Ask the question. “Does this define me or refine me?” Make a conscious decision. Then proceed in the direction of your answer.
When my ex husband left to explore a relationship with another woman – back in the days of Bernadette’s Pages – you could say his act defined our marriage (failed), himself as a man (untrustworthy), and me as a wife (not good enough).
Failed. Untrustworthy. Not Good Enough. Now there’s a tidy package that determined “the limits or nature of” what happened between us. Had I accepted this view as my definer I would have gotten stuck, acting out patterns of betrayal, anger, resentment, bitterness, guilt, shame, remorse, confusion, mistrust, defensiveness … Read morePin It