Ever wonder why we love to hear about the rich and famous getting caught doing something wrong?
“An envious heart makes a treacherous ear.” – Zora Neale Hurston
In her book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston hits an uncomfortable bullseye with this observation. We don’t like to admit envy drives our gossip-hunger, yet it often does. If we want to break the “treacherous ear habit” we’ll have to want for “our neighbor” what we want for ourselves, which, by the way, isn’t humiliation. “No,” you might say, “It is justice that drives me.” Maybe so. Yet, according to our own preferences when we screw up, mercy feels much better than judgment.
So, it is probably the safer choice (for our own future misfortunes) not to rejoice in others’ failures.
I made a promise to myself years ago to reflect, pray, and meditate daily before I started my task list. Sometimes I cheat. Like today. I decided to get started on my list and paint my toenails before I sat down on the floor to center myself. Oops. There is now a permanent royal blue stain on the carpet to remind me to keep my commitments and do things in order.
So often, I think I am too busy to put first things first until I waste my time doing it my own way. This mistake was minor. Some mistakes permanently damage others and take a whole lot longer to repair.
The following Bruce Lee quote reinforces that nothing is as important as the time we use for personal growth.
“I did it!”
Those three words can be life to my spirit, implying I have:
A) beaten the odds
B) accomplished a goal
C) risen above my fears or
D) given it my best shot
2. Also important words when I am owning a mistake or failure. In that case, “I did it” frees me from the debilitating psychological and physical drain of hiding.
3. Harmful if I use them to steal credit from someone else who deserves gratitude and recognition.
3. Dangerous if I follow, “I did it” with “And, I’d do it again!” instead of humility. My mother used to say this with vehement arrogance and, then, cry herself to sleep.
Here’s wishing only the best “I did its” to you in 2019!
(Modified 2015 original Post)
I’ve always known that I attract people when I smile, but after all these years, I’m just getting the hang of how to shine “like the whole universe is mine” on the days when I am feeling quite the opposite.
Tony Robbins has helped me “shine through the difficult times” with his strategy of:
- Recalling a time when I felt super successful or excited
- Feeling it again as if it were right now
- Keeping that physiology of success (superman pose, shoulders back, head up, shout of triumph, etc.) going all day
When I do, I feel like the whole universe is mine and, consequently, become the kind of person I love to be around.
Appearances are not everything. In fact keeping up a superficial front causes more mental illness and dysfunction in families than anything else…even drugs and alcohol. Ask any therapist. We are only as sick as our secrets.
Reading Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf reminded me of the complexities and contradictions we all carry around. The cool thing about Herman Hesse is how honest he was. That’s the kind of person with whom I love to hang out: someone who has quit lying to themselves about who they are and quit trying to “market” and compare their ideal self to others.
Only when we quit the hype and/or hiding will there be real energy to improve.
And, this is the truest freedom.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
When things look hopeless, I must remember this.
When things feel like they will never change, I must remember the dead branches, the brittle, dry grass and the brown leaves of winter, and how they disappeared in Spring.
I must remember how time throws the magician’s cape over emptiness, and, in the last act, unveils unexpected abundance.
This is my unexpected and unflattering theme of 2018: overestimating my knowledge.
Of course, I have been warned about this pitfall into arrogance all my life, but thought I was different; I really did know. (I know. So sad.)
Every book I have read and many experiences I have had this year have challenged my prior “knowledge” about a person or a topic. I’m finally convinced that I should quit representing myself as an authority on everything. (So sorry friends, family, and clients. Oops.)
Somebody stop me! Please.
Maybe I’ll even listen more.
The kindest people I have ever met are people who have suffered, who have been close to death, and/or who have lived without.
These experiences can either breed bitterness or they can breed humble gratitude. I cringe at the times I chose the disease instead of the cure.
Kelly Corrigan’s brutally honest book about twelve hard things to say includes great apology instructions.
Saying, “I was wrong” makes an “I’m sorry” so much more potent. “I’m sorry” gets thrown around so often that it tends to trigger cynicism.
“I was wrong” (combined with the specific error) brings relief to those who desperately need to know we get it.
It’s not easy to say. But, it is easier when we remember being wrong isn’t the same as being bad. We are learning. We are erring. We are sometimes blinded by our selfishness or our ego. We are human.
Let’s make June 2018 our best June ever…beginning with the apologies people long to hear.