**My non-religious brethren, stick with me**
I wouldn’t consider myself a particularly vengeful person. I have a big ol’ bark, routinely talk about people being able to catch these hands, and will verbally lose my shit 2-3 times a week. However, when push comes to shove, I typically find it in my heart to forgive, or at least act like an adult and talk through a problem. That said, I can’t say I shed tears when I see people who have been less-than-kind from my back getting their less-than-kindness back tenfold.
Enter “God don’t like ugly.” Somehow in my hyper-Catholic upbringing, I managed not to hear the term til I made Texas my permanent residence and moved into life as a recovering Catholic. I was in Walmart buying God-only-knows-what one Sunday afternoon, and a child, maybe 8, was complaining to her grandmother about something that happened with a friend at school. Her grandmother was half-listening while she shopped, and when the story ended, Grandma casually said, “Don’t you worry about it, honey. You know God don’t like ugly.”
I almost ran my cart in the end cap. First and foremost because Granny said this as casually as if she were telling the kid this week’s forecast. Second, because I could hear my Taducce and Grandma Maggie telling me, “The universe has a funny way of getting even with people,” for all of my life. Third and finally because she isn’t wrong. You don’t have to believe in God to believe that what goes around comes back around. At the end of the day, you are going to get out of this world what you put into it. End. Of. Story.
In the last year or so, I’ve held a good amount of hostility toward a host of people. Family members, religious leaders, former bosses, friends, and acquaintances who have made me question my worth. It was so bad that I sought counseling. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a therapist, but it’s funny. They tell you stuff you already know (“Control what you can control, Mairead. You can’t possible control the behavior of others.”) but you somehow listen better when a person with a calming voice and essential oil diffuser tells you. As I’ve worked to control myself and worrying less about controlling everything else, I have noticed that the universe does, in fact, level the playing field.
EXAMPLE: You go to the gym and train the three main lifts. Never do accessories. Max out every other workout. Skip days. Don’t care about your food. Guess what? You’re gonna go to a competition and get your ass handed to you on a silver platter. Maybe not your first or second or even third competition, but at some point, you’re going to get beat by the guy who was doing dumbbell hamstring curls while you were quarter-squatting his max.
EXAMPLE: You play a victim after a pretty inconsequential life event and get people to care about you. You have a huge circle of people who constantly check in on you, worried about your well-being, investing lots of their time in you. You don’t check in on those people, but you’re the first to turn to them when something remotely inconvenient happens. Eventually, you realize these people are slowly distancing themselves from you. Want to know why? You’ve emotionally exhausted people so much that they physically cannot care anymore and you’re up shit creek by yourself.
You get it, right? There are in infinite number of examples. The bottom line is that you have to put into this big, beautiful world what you want to get back from it. Sometimes, you’re going to have to give 90% when someone is only giving 10%. Have faith that you’ll get the 90% back when you need it. You’re not going to be perfect; none of us are. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t chuckle a bit when I see some of the universe-getting-even happening in real life. What can I say? Learning to show grace is a marathon, not a sprint. But at the end of the day, I’m better for changing what I give to the world.