Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tim McGraw's "Better Than I Used to Be"

If you don't know the song, here's a video of him singing it live on The View:

I can really relate to the first stanzas of lyrics:

"Better Than I Used To Be" -written by Ashley Gorley and Bryan Simpson

I know how to hold a grudge
I can send a bridge up in smoke
And I can't count the people I've let down, the hearts I've broke
You ain't gotta dig too deep
If you wanna find some dirt on me
I'm learning who you've been
Ain't who you've got to be
It's gonna be an uphill climb
Aww honey I won't lie

I ain't no angel
I still got a few more dances with the devil
I’m cleaning up my act little by little
I’m getting there
I can finally stand the man in the mirror I see
I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get
But I’m better than I used to be

The first two lines are so me.I always joke that I'm like an elephant: I remember everything. So if you crossed me once, I'm not going to forget it, and you'll be forever in my memory as the person who did X or Y to me. At that point I cut those people out of my life. Snip, snip, you're out! If you don't make me feel like a ray of sunshine every time I'm with you, I don't want to be around you.

Now I realize this is a bad attitude to have. For one, people make mistakes, and while some of them may be totally horrible, most of my grudges are based on petty things that happened years ago. And even if I can't forget something, I should be able to forgive it. At this point, I haven't mastered the art (or attained the virtue?) of forgiveness. It's one of those things that's easier said than done. Yes, I can tell myself that whatever happened is ancient history and that to be at peace with myself I need to let it go. But actually feeling that way? It has yet to happen. I've prayed that God would let me forgive these people who have done me wrong, but it's kind of like the little boy in Liar Liar wishing his father could lie again: I don't actually mean it. I mean, I do mean it, but not as much as I mean my prayers for my family or for our troops overseas. So maybe that's why I haven't been able to forgive and forget. But I'm working on it!

I do feel like I'm "better than I used to be." If you knew me in high school, I'm a completely different person now. At 17, I was selfish, self-centered, and thinking, "I am leaving this one-horse-town to go to an Ivy League college, and I'm never going to see you hillbillies again!" In the seven years or so that have passed since then, I've transformed. Maybe not completely into a butterfly, but I'm no caterpillar either (pupa?). I'm more thoughtful towards others, I appreciate my friends and family more than I ever have before, and I've become an independent, productive member of society. I like to think that my 20's will be a great period of growth for me: economically, spiritually, socially. In just my first year of being on my own, I have grown so much, and I pray that I will continue on that path. I don't know if a person ever reaches that point of being as "good as [you're] gonna get" or if you can always become a better person. But I'm glad to be on the right track, even if I'm not sure of the end result.

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