Learning Life vs. “Knowing” Life

 

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When I am frustrated with life, it is usually because I have opted for the “know-it-all” stance instead of the “learner” stance. I trade my sense of wonder with the world for a sense of entitlement, and waste my time talking smack instead of growing through whatever has dared to challenge my expectations.

My most important wedding vow was a promise to delight in my spouse everyday. Failing to do that is a move into stagnation…or worse. Yesterday, I realized this applies to my relationship to life in general.

When I shift into judgment as the “knower,” I lose.

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Let’s Be Honest about Walking a Fine Line

Things that I’d rather not be honest about but when I am, it makes me less judgmental and easier to be around:
I am disgusting sometimes too. It’s not just the people I criticize.
I have lied and manipulated facts when I was scared of getting in trouble.
I have made myself look better than I actually was.
I have feared rejection and looking unworthy to others.
I have sometimes done things to get attention.
Sometimes, I have even wished awful things upon cable and mobile phone companies (whom I perceived to be arrogant).
I have screamed at family members like a crazy woman and would have killed my sister if I could have gotten away with it.


We may not have killed people, but most of us have thought about it.
That makes me more prone to forgive people who actually fall off the edge.

Don’t Miss Out on the Funniest Thing in Your Life

For several years, I beat myself up for screwing up with a particular client. Last week, that client requested my services again.

A week before that, in a humbling effort to clear my conscience, I apologized to someone I had offended many years ago. They forgave me with wonderful generosity.

In both cases, my ego had been working overtime. Also, in both cases, if I had taken myself less seriously, I would have saved myself a lot of anxiety, sleeplessness, time and trouble.

In reality, we are all somewhat ridiculous. Acknowledging that takes the pressure off.

Step Away from the “Ledger”

I learned to “step away from the ledge” to resist the temptation to jump.

Now, I am learning to step away from the ledger to resist “jumping to conclusions” and chalking up judgments against people who might be in need of a little mercy.

 

When I don’t keep a “ledger” of everyone else’s faults, it makes it easier for me to forgive myself and believe that others are not keeping a ledger on me.

To Freak-out or Simplify?

Hmmmm, which is better? To freak-out over my concerns or to keep it simple?

What if…? WTF? How will I make it? Why am I such a loser? Who do they think they are? Why is this happening to me? What am I going to do?

Or…

I’m going to do the best I can with what I have, trusting that all will work out, breathing the oxygen that miraculously feeds my trillion cells (while traveling through the Universe at one-thousand MPH on a planet made of hot molten lava).

I Pledge Allegiance to Living Stress-Free

I pledge allegiance to living stress-free

Remembering worry doesn’t work for me

And neither does angry fretting (unfortunately)

I pledge allegiance to living stress-free

Because controlling people and things 

(I don’t control) is the job of Kings

Not me.

Truthfully

My worry and stress never helped one single soul

Only pulled me deep into a sucking hole

Where there was no benefit for me or anyone

Just an embarrassing waste of adrenalin*

*Some of us, who insist upon worrying, believe, erroneously, that the opposite of worrying is not caring. However, this is not the case. Often, surrendering is the only wise way to effectively care…and much more efficient.

Not As I Do

While working as a middle manager I was very irritated with my boss for not giving me the recognition I deserved until…in an awkward transaction, I realized my employees were irritated with me for the very same reason.

Since then, I have noticed how easy it is for me to totally blast away at someone else’s cluelessness while completely missing my own.

The following routine helps me be less of a nincompoop:

  1. Before I open my mouth with a swift condemnation for someone else, I ask myself (with the excruciating humility it takes to be completely honest), “Have I ever done anything similar?”
  2. If the answer is “Yes.” or, “I don’t know,” I postpone judgement. In most cases, my memory will pull up something embarrassing within a few hours. Then, I decide to show mercy to the offender (as I hope others will show mercy to me) before I move ahead.
  3. If the answer is no. I thank God that I dodged that bullet, ask myself if I can address the issue proactively, and then, show mercy to the offender. (I never know when I’ll need some mercy in the future.)

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When You Can’t

When you can’t do it for yourself

Do it for those who never had a chance

Who died before their time

For those who had to push through the pain

Every day

Or trudge through battle fields, cold, and rain

For those who kept going when there was no light

Who kept fighting

After they had lost the fight

 

Do it for them, if you can’t do it for you

Be the ball, take the shot, cop the attitude

You’ve always had enough to master today

Now go and give it away

Whatever it is

You got this.

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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.

Save Myself the Trouble

Last week, I was unhappy about the gaps in my schedule. This week I am so thankful the gaps came at a fortunate time. How many times must I be reminded that my ability to determine what is good and what is bad is faulty? How many times must I look back and say, “Wow, if I had only known?” before I will learn to hold off on judgment or despair?

In this case, I would have saved myself lots of trouble, worry, frustration, and wasted time and energy.

So, that said, I should start before I get any older, right?