Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sue's Corner - Red Hats on the Go

Dear Hatters,
Any time I read or hear about a person who embodies admirable values or performs admirable acts, I am apt to think, “I wish I could be like that.” Why do I put it that way? Why don’t I say to myself, “I am going to be more like that?” I think I can answer my own question: It’s going to take a good bit of effort on my part to become like my role model...and I’m lazy. I’m also not the strongest, most focused person.
I am talking, here, about my desire to become a better, less self-absorbed person, reaching higher – not so much about getting help to eliminate negative behaviors. If I want to improve myself, I am going to have to look around for all the available help I can find. And the first things I can find, right at my side, are my friends. If I really want to grow and change I can share my goals honestly with them and ask them for their help in holding me accountable when I fall short of my best effort. Of course they aren’t going to really do that unless I make it very clear that I am totally serious in my request, and that I won’t get angry at them if they do that very thing.
In some cases, people may need a slightly different kind of help in order to eliminate negative behavior, before they can reach for a better self. There have been a few people in my life who have suffered from addictions. I know, from having exposure to their programs, that these people have to have others in their lives who are close enough and who care enough about them to literally hold their feet to the fire when they try to make excuses for slipping back into behaviors they are struggling to abandon. These true friends have to care enough to risk angry backlash from the very people they are trying to help. This is the place where the rubber hits the road in the quest for true, deep friendship.
We Hatters are not spring chickens, I know. But we aren’t finished with ourselves yet; we can still aspire to being better people and accomplishing better things in this life. Perhaps we don’t have serious addictions or enormous shortcomings, but we may be aware of other (perhaps relatively minor) qualities in ourselves that we would like to get past. We may realize that we are letting ourselves down by not following through on cherished goals because we are afraid to fail. We may sense ourselves drawing inward from life experiences or retreating from challenges as we grow older. If we are vigilant – and honest with ourselves – we may have to admit that we would prefer to just coast on into old age without growing or changing. There is a Biblical that says: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
If any of us, for any reason, senses that they need to make a change of any kind, they can almost certainly find their other piece of iron right within their Chapter. This is the kind of thing that true Sisterhood embodies. And, as we Red Hatters have been saying for years, “We are not dead and we are not done!”
In friendship,
Sue Ellen, Exalted Queen Mother

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