When It Is Good to Lower My Standards

It is not always a bad thing to lower my standards. It is a good thing to do when…

  • I have been too critical of myself (as I have aged, I’ve noticed that my appearance standards {ahem, obsessions} have not contributed to mental health)
  • I am too critical of others (my standards do the most harm when used to facilitate a feeling of superiority)
  • my standards were unreasonable (perfectionism) or alienated the people around me (self-righteous)
  • I based my self-worth on my standards (lack of awareness of how ridiculously messed up I am)
  • I bragged about or felt compelled to talk too much about my standards (insecure)

Or, prepare for the institution.

For Less-Opportunity Social Stratas

For those of us who were born without

For those of us who will die early

For those of us with disease or deformity

For those of us who never knew the “right people”

For those of us with low IQs

Who didn’t go to school

Or have a job

For those of us without a home, shoes, clean clothes

Or love

There is the equanimity of sun and rain

Earth’s free gift of light and water

And, yes, a path that leads to the finish line

Where we are welcomed with honor

Appreciate It…Now or Never

We humans have the audacity to look back at photos from the past and swoon with nostalgia after completely underappreciating what we had at the time! I guess that is better than not appreciating it at all…but…

Nostalgia will not recover lost people, opportunities, places, our youth (or the body we had), and we will have missed the gifts that were ours for the taking, if we had only known how lucky we were at the time!

It’s too late to fix my ingratitude for how skinny I was in the past (when I thought I was fat), but, I can change the future by what I do now. When tempted to complain about…

  • a relationship that irritates me,
  • something that isn’t exactly right, or
  • my appearance

I will stop myself in mid-sentence by saying, “Appreciate it!” and give now it’s just respect before it is gone.

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Where Do You Live?

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“The words you speak become the house you live in.”  -Hafiz

In the past, when I wasn’t pleased with my situation, I thought that I had been a victim of a cruel fate, injustices, and others’ misjudgments. And, I seldom missed a chance to let everyone know about it. Now I realize:

  • my words were defining my experience.
  • many “injustices” I thought I suffered were self-inflicted. I was just clueless.
  • uncomfortable “accommodations” were part of the journey to appreciating the better ones to come.
  • happiness was always an inside job.

In the beginning was the word.

My words are the architect, the interior designer, and the realtor for the place I want to live.

A Payoff from the Process

Acceptance of one’s life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary, it means accepting it as it comes, with all the handicaps of heredity, of suffering, of psychological complexes, and injustices. – Paul Tournier
That’s a heck of a lot to accept.
Who wants to accept hereditary handicaps, suffering, psychological baggage, topped off with injustices?
Not me. Not anyone. That’s awful!
Yet, nature teaches that there will be a transformation and a payoff…when I decide to submit to the mysterious usefulness of all the awful stuff  that I wanted to be angry about.
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Or I can stay angry, miss the blossoming, and make a lot of people miserable in the process.

The Destroyer

If you want to find out where everything went wrong

If you want to figure out how all the chaos got started

If you want to discover when the loving stopped

Or the joy vanished

And the easy became hard

If you want to track down the villain in the story

And punish him

Then do it quickly

Track down the fear in your own heart and disown it now

Because it is faster than cancer

And more destructive than the impact and shrapnel from a thousand bombs

It has tutored your ego into malice

And baited your intellect into stupidity

It has sucked your blood until you were the real vampire, the real boogie, the scariest zombie

From the most gruesome nightmare ever dreamed

And it was you all along

You! who gave fear the key

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Cry Baby Alert

Nothing shakes me out of my self-centeredness, ethnocentrism, and poor-me problems more than reading biographies and fiction about the struggles of passionate men and women in other times and places. The first book that called me out on my bull#h*t was Les Miserables. When I read it many years ago, the plights of Jean Valjean, Fantine, and Cosette, representing the real problems of the time period, shook me hardily out of the illusion of my “difficult life.” Other books followed suit: Roots, Tale of Two Cities, A Good Earth, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Man’s Search for Meaning, The Hiding Place, etc. And, more currently, Jungle of Stone, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Endurance, Pillars of the Earth, Outlander, The Glass Castle, Same Kind of Different as Me, and countless others.

I hope you don’t have the same tendency that I have to become a small-minded cry-baby. But if you ever do, I hope you will let a book rescue you.

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A Balanced Inventory

I may not be happy with numerous things in the world…but, I am happy with a gazillion other things (like clean water and internet access).

I may have aged a lot in the last few years…but, my face has fewer bumps (because I have a dermatologist who took them off).

I may have  a larger waist…but, I have a larger purpose too (because being attractive was never a sustainable project).

I may have fewer admirers…but, I have learned to do the admiring (because, after all these years, I have finally accepted myself, which, by the way, gives me more time to admire others).

Because, it is so important to give myself a broader perspective (on issues both large and small), I have made a pact with myself to always balance the info I allow in my head. If I am fed bad news, I feed myself good news. It’s that simple. It’s not being Pollyanna positive, it’s being productively practical; just opening my eyes a little wider.

I am in charge of the feed.

Thank you Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield for your example: http://www.interestingshit.com/nature/good-news-stories/

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Show Me Yours First

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“The Universe is asking…show me your new vibration, I will show you miracles.”

That might sound stupid or “New Age,” yet the times when I have recovered from despair, found hope when I thought there was none, somehow discovered a way out of a bind, or seen a miniscule ray of light in the deepest darkness, it has been because I did the changing. I quit waiting for something or someone else to change.

Although, it was as easy as…

  • admitting I might be wrong
  • changing an “I can’t” to an “I will”
  • thanking instead of complaining
  • questioning instead of denouncing

It was very difficult to accept that responsibility.

Most people never do.

There is an energy, a vibration, about us that repels help or attracts it. If you doubt that, think about the people you avoid, and why.

The Moon Was on the Other Side

The other night I marveled at the almost-full moon. The next morning, it was full…and on the other side of the sky. I was asleep when it all happened. No one asked for my help or my expertise to keep the earth and moon in their orbits.

When I am trapped in my own dramas, it certainly helps to remember this…and that…

  • I am a very small puzzle piece in a very big picture
  • the only rational explanation for me being here is to learn awe, gratitude, and usefulness
  • my stress, angst, jealousy, anger, or bitterness may be utterly ridiculous
  • history, science, and astronomy are great perspective enhancers

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