Wishes Redux

143 Relax and Succeed - Sometimes you can't see

Amy hates her curly hair. She wishes she had long, dark, straight hair like Bonnie’s. Bonnie hates how fat her legs are. She wishes she had legs like Caroline’s. Caroline hates her knees. She wishes she could run like her brother Dean. But Dean hates running now. He wishes Evan, his recently deceased friend, was still around to run with him.

Evan didn’t like running with Dean because it made him look even shorter than he already was. He always wished he was really tall, like Fez. But Fez hates his height. He loves Gurpreet, but she loves a well dressed man, and it’s hard to get clothes that fit a guy that tall. But Gurpreet hates her addiction to fashion. It makes her a slave to her job. She wishes she had the freedom of her friend Henry.

Henry’s a self-employed writer, but he hates that because he has no health care plan. He wishes his brother was a dentist so he could get free care like his friend Isaac gets. But Isaac hates having a brother who’s a dentist. His parents are always wishing he would do as well as Jacob. But Jacob is divorced and rich, so he can never trust any of the women he dates. He wishes his life was like Kevin’s. Kevin got married at 18 to his high school sweetheart. But part of Kevin has always wished he’d played the field like his friend Larry.

143 Relax and Succeed - Stop comparing

Larry got a few girls pregnant and it’s ruined his financial life. He wishes he would have inherited a lot money like his friend Mary. But Mary hates her life. Her father was a tough, ruthless businessman, which made him a tough, ruthless father. She wishes she had a Dad like Nathan. But Nathan has never been able to tell his dad that he’s gay. He wishes he had the freedom that his openly gay friend Orlando has. But Orlando hates being gay because sometimes it just feels like everyone hates him for no good reason.

Orlando wishes his life was like his comedienne friend, Patti. She gets to stand in front of an appreciative audience every night. But Patti hates going on stage. She so nervous she’s usually sick to her stomach. She wishes she was like Quan. He can stay calm no matter what. But Quan hates being a comic. Being on the road all the time is what lead to his painkiller addiction. He wishes he was still a healthy young man like Ron.

Ron doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. He wishes he was like Stephen, where he’s already well on his way to a good pension. But Stephen hates how safe a life he’s lead. He wishes his life was more exciting, like Terry’s. But Terry’s addiction to adventure has cost him a marriage to a woman he loved. But his ex-wife Ursula doesn’t feel loveable at all since she put on all that weight after the divorce.

143 Relax and Succeed - We are all in long-term

Ursula wishes she was skinny like Velma. But Velma hates her bulimia. She wishes she ate healthier, like her friend Wayne. But Wayne hates himself because he lies to his friends about how good his diet is. He wishes he had the humility of Xavier. But Xavier hates that he can’t advocate for himself at work so he never gets a raise. He wishes he was more like Yan, who is paid extremely well. But Yan hates that pay because what goes with it is lots of responsibility. He wishes he had a life like Zara. She’s an artist that works from home, but she also has cancer. And she would give anything to have hair like Amy’s.

Do you get it? Are you enjoying your life, or are you wishing for a better one? Because you can live, or you can wish. Which one do you do? Because that crazy chain of people pretty much represents what every ego does, all day long. Egos always want something other than what they are or have. And there is no way to feel good when you’re in a state of wanting. You need to start appreciating what you already are. That’s how you create a worthwhile life.

Listen to yourself. Stop wanting things you’re not. Start celebrating what you are. It’s not wrong, it’s not silly, and it’s not meaningless. You are uniquely you. You bring things to the universe that which no one else could bring. Literally. Without you the universe is missing something. So stop worrying about what’s missing from you, and start appreciating your own value. Because it’s a lot easier for other people to do that if you do it first.

Respect yourself. Love your own life. And live that love into a beautiful day. 😉

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

MoK: Redirecting Negativity

The March of Kindness is about making the world a kinder, safer, more loving space in which to thrive as a human being. We can do this by adding goodness to the world, but we can also accomplish this goal be removing negativity and replacing it with something more constructive.

We’re all too often willing to participate in gossip when we personally agree with it or view it as just idle conversation with friends or co-workers, but it’s far from idle. What people say about each other becomes their identity to a listener. And that can have extremely serious consequences.

If someone didn’t like someone else in high school and they end up getting a job at their company, the new person can be destroyed before they’ve even started because everyone’s been cued to only watch for pattern-matches to what they were previously told. We all say the odd dumb thing, but if people are on the lookout for that then suddenly the odd silly statement can turn into a person becoming dumb rather than just the statement, when in fact the person might be perfect for their job.

We’ve all been victims of it and it’s not like it improves as we age. Who hasn’t had a bitter ex spread lies about them? And the workplace can be just as vicious as the schoolyard. The way to identify gossip isn’t by whether you agree with it, it’s whether or not it’s negative.

If someone is commenting on or judging someone in any negative way then it’s gossip. Period. Unless you’re the person’s manager or teacher your personal opinion has no relevance to anyone but you, and even in the cases of managers and professors, the reasoning should be based on their alignment with the work, not with your personal feelings. A student or worker can be someone you’d never be friends with but that shouldn’t impact how you evaluate their work.

As the saying goes, loose lips sink ships. It’s not like gossip is a minor force in the world. It literally changes lives. It ruins companies and institutions, undermines science, and it can easily destroy lives. People have committed murder, suicide, vandalism and other horrible acts all based on gossip.

Talking is thinking out loud. Taking negatively about someone else is not healthy for the person doing the talking. It’s a sign of being locked into an ego-based, judgmental and superior perspective. The world is the world. It looks different to everyone. You’re not supposed to be going around poisoning other people’s views with yours. Your view is yours. Our personal opinions were never meant to be applied to the broader world. At our healthiest we should function from a position of principle, not opinion.

Today’s act in our March of Kindness is simply to spend the day actively listening for gossip. At work, at school, even at home and out. If someone offers a negative assessment of someone else, then our job is remind the people listening that there are other views. If they identify something they don’t like about the person, identify something you respect about them.

If someone says, Mindy’s always telling people what to do, you could add: We’re all different, and I don’t share her style of doing things, but I have noticed that what she wants people to do isn’t about her or anything selfish, her comments are usually focused on more or better work getting done. At minimum her heart’s in the right place.

Or if someone says, Did you hear that Jennifer’s dating Chris? What an idiot. You could respond, Well, we all like different kinds of people. Do we really want everyone judging who we love? I’m just glad they’re both happy. The idea is to take a negative and insert a positive. Double value if you normally would have agreed and joined in!

Don’t help sink someone else’s ship. Get your oar in the water and let’s make the world better by sharing more about what’s good about the world and less about what we don’t like about it. After all, mental health is really little more than having a rationally optimistic view of the world and the people in it. So let’s make gossip the enemy rather than people.

Have a great day everyone.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

Schadenfreude

965 Relax and Succeed - Envy blowing out the other person's candleSome people calling it dissing, others will say they’re cutting someone down to size and for some it’s just plain open negative gossip, but schadenfreude (and in a way, “glückschmerz“) has never been more popular. It seems most of modern politics is pure schadenfreude. If you actually listen for it during your day you’ll not only hear it all over the place, you’ll also likely hear it coming from you.

If you feel competitive with a person or group that will be because you perceive that you share a goal and you feel only one of you can achieve that goal. Gazelles will either escape and live or the lion will eat and live but both are running after life. But there will be no feelings of schadenfreude for the gazelle and lion. If we’re in a healthy state of mind, a motivation to achieve doesn’t equate to a story about being happy that another person or group has lost.

It’s only through “higher thought” that people are now using words to construct this unhealthy pleasure for themselves even when they have caught no gazelle. All they need now is a story about another lion not getting a gazelle. There are now people who completely forgo feeding their own souls in order to invest their lives in trying to steal or poison other people’s achievements.

965 Relax and Succeed - In the practice of toleranceIt’s comforting to think of these people as the horrible dark-minded haters that are doomed to lives of blind on-line trolling, but we don’t get healthier by pointing fingers we get healthier by functioning differently. So rather than think of all of the places you’ve witnessed schadenfreude try thinking of the times you’ve executed it.

Who do you feel competitive with? A person? A company? A nation? A religion? A political party? How does that influence where you go, what you do, what you want, what you say, what you wear and who you act like? Because even if you win every one of those little competitions they will still have been dictated by the other person and your lowest nature.

Freedom is not when we are living a life of reaction it’s when we live a life of action. The great sculptor does not set out to create the greatest sculpture ever, they are instead fully invested in their relationship with the material and the result then flows through them in unimpeded brilliance. Even then, the true artist has little interest in admiring what’s done. Completion is what creates the opportunity for further creativity, not a platform for comparison.

965 Relax and Succeed - Winning is the illusoryAnalysis, comparison and judgment are all required for schadenfreude. These are all egocentric functions. It doesn’t matter if you’re happy that someone got dumped or sad that someone else found love, if you’re invested in negativity then that is what you’re living, experiencing and putting into the world. You could be creating something wonderful but instead you are creating negativity. You aren’t being positive by being negative about something you see as negative.

It’s easy with some harsh analysis, comparisons and judgments to create others so different that we can abide by and even cheer for their suffering. But these judgments are only layers of thought. There is no real separation. We really are all in this together. Yes, we will clash sometimes by nature, just as the ocean crashes at the shore. But that crashing is not accompanied by a story of conquest and defeat and nor should our lives.

Forget about what you think about others and focus on living your life instead. If you leave all of those agonised judgments behind you’ll be surprised by how many rewarding experiences you can have.

Go be forgiving. Go create a great day for you to live inside. It’s far more in your control than you realise.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.

Other People

It can seem so clear. They approach you. They talk to you. They use your name. They refer to things you know about or that they want you to know about. They’ll even ask you questions! And then they’ll either directly or passive aggressively attack you. What is up with that?

804 Relax and Succeed - If you are willingMaybe it’s your Mom and she’s just been grinding at you. Maybe it’s your brother who’s usual daily bullying has turned cruel. Maybe it’s someone at school or work who is running around gossiping about you to others. Or maybe it’s a total stranger and you barely know what they’re talking about, (as it is with almost everyone, all day, who works in customer service).

So how do you handle these people? What do you do to get them to be reasonable? How do you get them to leave you alone? And what is their problem anyway? How do those customer service people do this all day?!

Okay, so the first thing the sanguine customer service person realizes is that when people approach and talk to you specifically, what it is really happening is that they’re approaching and talking to the person their thoughts compile into you. So they have ideas about who you are and if that’s who they think you are then that’s obviously the only person they can attempt to talk to.

So if your Mom’s having her new boss over for dinner and you’ve messed the house up and she’s yelling at you, understand that she is pointing at you, using your name, but her words are not being used to describe you when she says phrases like you show no respect, you don’t care about how hard I work for us, you’re like your father you’re such a slob and now you’re in serious trouble. But if she’s not talking to you who’s she talking to?

804 Relax and Succeed - People think you're crazyShe’s talking to the situation. And in her fear and helplessness she may blame you, but in the end what she’s really describing to you is what her experience legitimately is. So rephrased it would be:

You didn’t respect that I cleaned up before work because I knew I wouldn’t have time afterwards. I’ve really been stressed and I’ve been underperforming at work. This dinner was supposed to save me and now it’s going to feed into the image the boss already has of me that I don’t get my work done, when that’s not actually accurate if he watched me all day. So now our income is in danger and I know you going to university after school was important to your Dad. But he wasn’t an organized man and that meant he never did take care of any life insurance so now we’re poor and I’m terrified that if I’m unimpressive to my boss that we’ll lose everything.

And all that comes out as an angry version of you show no respect, you don’t care about how hard I work for us, you’re like your father you’re always so lazy and now you’re in serious trouble.

804 Relax and Succeed - I am responsible for what I sayIn the case of your brother, he’s got a new girlfriend. She does drugs and she’s gotten him secretly into them. So when he’s coming down or wants more, he’s particular irritable and the drugs affect his brain chemistry, so things he would do are suddenly influenced by the drug. Particularly with things like cocaine and meth this can turn the person into an unwitting asshole. They can be mean and cruel and they’ll think they’re cool. But once the drugs wore off when he got clean–presuming he did–then things like the cruelty you’re describing will be some of the hardest things for the addict to remember because they recognize it as so unlike the previous version of themselves that you got to know.

And in the case of the gossip at work, who knows if it’s that they feel threatened by your skills or appearance or friendships, or maybe you remind them of their high school bully just by chance. Or maybe they just watched their Mom gossip every single day from their stroller, and then they watched the same thing at the playground and then later at the dinner table. So that co-worker or schoolmate doesn’t think that talking behind people’s backs is gossip, they just think it’s what people do, and the reason some people don’t like it is because they think they’re pointing out a universal truth when in fact it’s just their own filtered perception–just like you have of them.

And if it’s a stranger that’s attacking you then they’re focused on what you represent. Your company, the delays in traffic, their fears about cultures they don’t know and understand. Like all of the above, each case is the person wearing a mask you see them in, and they speak to a mask they see you in. And if they think your mask looks stupid or unfair or lazy or whatever, then that’s how they’ll act. Likewise you are looking at a mask of theirs built from your own thoughts about them–and those will also be based on almost no real information.

804 Relax and Succeed - He who does not understandThe point in all of this is that they are never talking to the real you. That is always their ego addressing your ego. It’s two masks talking. It’s ridiculous in the end. And it’s unnecessary. Silence is much more valuable than filling space with useless thoughts. And when the time comes you’ll recognize soul-to-soul communication when it happens because it creates those connections that are so rare today that they often last a lifetime.

You cannot reconcile other people’s views of you with your view of yourself. You both built your ideas of each other out of your personal thinking. And while you might have attached the thoughts to each other, they can be massively different thoughts about who you each feel you are. That’s because the other person’s view will be based on their experience of you, just as yours of them is. But they spend all day with themselves and you do the same with yourself, so everyone’s always generating their views of other people based on a warped perception of a tiny percentage of the other person’s life.

It’s the same reason you think your mother’s crazy cleanliness standards, or your brother’s new bad attitude, or your co-worker’s negativity are all things about you. Because that’s what happens when you’re with them. But really that’s just the tip of a much larger iceberg that was created long before you showed up. Yes, you might trigger something in them that’s fairly consistent, and they might hold you responsible for their trigger, but you do that to others too. It’s the only way to live in ego and most of the world spends almost all of its time in ego.

804 Relax and Succeed - Maturing is realizingSo when people approach you and they’re upset, just deal with what’s actually going on and respond to that instead of all of the language around it. If it needs no taking care of then great–you can just forget it. But you will make yourself very unhealthy if you continue to retell the stories of those events to either yourself or to others. The replaying of that mental tape will only lead to suffering and it will also serve to solidify your own opinions into more permanent judgments that you will come to believe. And those beliefs are what take you further from the truth that leads to peace.

Getting along is mostly just letting people be where they’re at. If that’s unreasonable then you have to find somewhere else to go. But asking people to react to the person you know as you is impossible. Everyone will always be treating you like who they believe you are and those beliefs will be based very little on who you actually are. Forget trying to reconcile this–it’s the agonizing battle most people engage in most of their lives. Surrender. Realities are separate. If you truly and deeply accept that fact you become a witness to the world in a very special way. And in that way you can enjoy almost any person or experience as exactly that–just another interesting experience.

Be like water. Let other people’s ideas flow through you instead of hitting something solid. Be flexible. Allow them to have their state of mind. They’ll have it anyway and the allowing will feel really good for you to do.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Joining the Mob

I’m not sure how much the awful event made the news around the world, but here in Canada there was a nationally discussed news story that went viral on social media. It involved a new and meaningless trend that started with young men at sports events and has, like a virus, even infected some women and children now. At these events the young men would interrupt female reporters on-air with a meaningless, unnecessarily cruel sexual comment/threat. Sometimes the remark is even chanted by groups.

684 Relax and Succeed - We survive by pulling togetherThere’s no way getting around that it’s sexual harassment and that it represents the underbelly of human behaviour. I’m not judgmental in the sense that I deem things as good or bad. But if we’re seeking value from our own life experience then the worst thing you can do is be meaningless. For someone to suffer for nothing to be gained is the worst deal in the universe. The fact that these guys made a deal that bad is an indication that they have not been taught to grow through self-examination and healthy critical thinking.

In this particular case a young female reporter is doing her story on the season opener for her local professional soccer (football) team. Several men in fan team jerseys stop to make the vulgar, meaningless comment/threat but this time she turns the tables (and the camera) on the men and she pressures them to explain themselves. Their explanations are pathetic to say the least and they only serve to get themselves into even deeper trouble.

How in this day in age they don’t make the connection that they are being filmed seems remarkable but they hand-feed the reporter a story that was absolutely certain to go viral. Indeed the men look like complete fools and it is difficult to muster any sympathy for them at all. But as is my natural habit, I took a moment to be those men. At that point sympathy still didn’t come, but some empathy did.

684 Relax and Succeed - Don't judge someone just becauseMost of us have heard the story of the woman who sent the quick admittedly racist tweet about not getting AIDS in Africa because she’s white. She says she was actually mocking white privilege and there’s a lot of reasons to believe her, but even if her racism was intended as satirical, you will be inclined to agree with her that it was one of the worst choices she’ll likely ever make. She lost her job. She was vilified on mainstream and social media. She lost most of her friends and she had to hide for her safety. And of course she’ll always be her.

Another woman who has a history of attracting attention to herself by finding things to be offended by, tweeted a photo of two men she’d overheard telling dirty jokes. You can not like dirty jokes but offenses we feel inside our heads are our problem not other people’s. If the two men wanted to talk to each other like that and she chose to listen in to a private conversation then any issues she has are now her responsibility. But that’s not the politically correct belief today. You’re supposed to not like anyone who lives to a standard you deem beneath yours. So since that’s the current cultural standard, she instead she took their photo and tweeted about them. The tweet wasn’t even very serious. A light reprimand. But one of the two men—a father of three—lost his very hard to replace job because of it. When that came out on social media a group just as ugly as the one that attacked the man was suddenly attacking the woman. She ended up losing her job as well and she was so concerned by threats she’d received that she felt compelled to get security for her house.

684 Relax and Succeed - Repeating a rumorAnd just recently a man was in a mall. He had never taken a selfie and when he saw a Darth Vader cut-out he thought that it was the perfect time. A lady’s kids watched him while he took it. He explained he was going to send the picture to his teenage daughter because she’d always wanted him to take one. The kid’s mother—watching from a distance—entirely misread the situation and posted a photo of the man, identifying him as a creep that was talking to her kids. He had to go to the police for protection.

And you don’t need social media for this. I know tons of women who’ve been gossiped about by insecure men as though they have had kinky sex with someone when in fact they’ve never had sex at all. This violates the woman in a terrible way. You cannot unscramble a scrambled egg. Her life will be changed and it’s reprehensible. I also know lots of men who’ve been accused by an angry ex of violence they did not commit, and that’s dangerous because it muddies the water for the very serious cases of actual abuse that require attention. In the end the source of the information doesn’t matter. It’s our reaction to it that does the damage.

If it’s someone you actually know and the accusation is serious you obviously should look into it. Get the other person’s version of events and then proceed with an open mind. But when it’s strangers we’d better be careful about casting stones because you have to ask yourself: is there even one of us who couldn’t have this happen at least once or twice in our lives? Catch us on the wrong day, or after too much to drink or you’re too tired or grumpy? Everyone has said things they didn’t think were smart after-the-fact. But if we’re going to start punishing people with death threats and income losses then we would be wise to consider where we want that line to be.

684 Relax and Succeed - In the end we will rememberWhy did I feel empathy for the guy? Because if someone was recording me enough I’m sure they could find some moments where I wasn’t at my best. But also because some particularly cruel gossip lead me to be wrongfully attacked very seriously, I am somewhat aware of how that man’s life will change. Before I could even write this he’d lost his $106,000+ a year job. Worse is he’ll lose friends, and even more friends will insist that others not be his friends either. He’ll face vandalism, violence, he’ll get spit on, called names and it will be very hard to get a job. If he has a wife or girlfriend they’re likely to see serious problems develop in the relationship and situations like this can see people estranged from their kids and some even lead to suicide. In the case of the reporter-taunting troglodytes, that guy will have his life, his schedule will all change. His list of normal things to do will all have to change and that is just as traumatic for someone who’s done something stupid as it is for a refugee. You are in a new world that you have no familiarity with and as-yet no relevant coping skills. It can be quite terrifying.

I really despised what he said. I really thought it was terrible. But along with the reporter I found that price too high. A sincere public apology would have sufficed and been sincere. Because if that’s the price, then I would suggest we all look more closely at our own lives. Because you can be a regular church-going grandmother and I guarantee there will still be moments in your life that you would not want the world to see.

684 Relax and Succeed - It would seem strangeBut now the world can see almost everything. So as Rabbi Julius Gordon suggests, we should employ love. Because “Love is not blind—it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less.” The world doesn’t need more perfect behaviour because everyone has a different idea of what that is and we could argue about where that line should be forever. That’s what government is. Does that look wise or efficient to you? So since that’s effectively impossible I would suggest that we all just relax a bit. Because the flip side of acceptable behaviour is greater tolerance. And since that’s spiritually, emotionally and mentally good for you as well, it seems a much better response than revenge or vigilantism. If you really want to help in cases like this one, don’t attack the perpetrator with more unpleasant behaviour. But if you see a friend participating in meaningless, damaging action toward anyone or anything, then offer your influence. Steer them toward a more rewarding life. That’s just being a good friend.

In the social media debates that followed this event a good friend whose judgment I trust disagreed on the man losing his job. In considering his points I have reconsidered my opinion on this matter. While I don’t think we can start doing this en masse, in a case like this it does seem reasonable that the public would need some very strong and public examples to demonstrate that the public standard has changed and that if people want to work well with others then these are adjustments that should be made. I still feel sorry for the guy who’s going to be an example for millions, but life has its tragedies and we all get our share. At least by getting through it we grow.

The next time you hit share don’t just immediately want to, but pause to ask yourself if you should based on who you truly are. And do the same with gossip. If you’re going to share anything, tell good stories about people. Because there are way more of those anyway and that will paint a much more accurate picture of the world around us.

Now go have yourself an awesome nonjudgmental day.

peace. s

Liars

I dropped into a coffee shop near my home where there were four ladies seated together. The only other open seat was right next to them. I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation, but I would have preferred it if that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t the sort of talk I enjoy.

439 Relax and Succeed - When someone is nastyIt involved four grown women that ranged in age from late twenties to maybe fifty. They all worked together and the “boss” lead the group in a discussion about what a bad person so-and-so was and that made it okay that they were going to misrepresent her in an effort to get her transferred or fired. The most civilized thing they said was that they wouldn’t out and out lie—but they would flex the truth to the point where the other person very likely misunderstood.

So what do you do if you’re the victim of such an attack? Okay, let’s first look at what you control. Do you control their behaviour? No. Do you control what other people think about you? No. So why are we even having this discussion? Look, I’m sorry that this stuff hurts when it happens, and I’m fully aware that there can be “unfair” and very painful social prices associated with such attacks, but as long as this isn’t career sabotage or violence, this is just a part of living in society for all of us. Unlike the fairy tales we get taught in school and exposed to by our parents, this is the real world. And it’s just fine. In fact it’s amazing. You just have to be able to see it. But to do that you have to surrender.

People will say things whether they are true or not. But that doesn’t mean other people believe them. Bottom line, everyone creates their own sense of reality with their thoughts. Everyone will have an opinion because that’s all an individual is: a collection of opinions. Opinions about food, about identity, about culture, about history, about conduct and ethics, etc. etc. And that view colours every single thing we intake. Which is why you cannot even hope to control what other people think of you even if you are the most powerful person on Earth.

439 Relax and Succeed - Take others opinions lightlyI’ve had an extreme example of this sort of situation happen to me so I have a lot of familiarity with the kinds of feelings that can emerge. It packs quite a wallop. Most people find the hardest part is that it shakes their faith in their ability to trust overall. Because when someone you trust so easily changes their opinion of you without even giving you a chance to defend yourself, you’re suddenly left realizing that they did not have the same commitment to you that you had to them and you wonder about your judgment in having a one-sided friendship like that. This is usually extremely humbling. Add to this the fact that the sudden change in your daily domestic life can be very jarring and painful and it’s one of life’s bigger experiences to traverse.

It feels strangest at the start. You used to have coffee with person A, B and C, but now because of the lies they won’t go with you so you have to experience the awkward feelings of creating a new pattern for coffee breaks or whatever. But that’s just life. No need to worry about that. For all you know your new coffee partner becomes a best friend. There are seven billion people on the planet and the vast majority are awesome potential friends, so we don’t really have to harbour attachments to those that are gone. Don’t be lonely, replace the time with lost friends with time with new people. You’ll even find that you’re better at choosing friends based on character more than interests, and that generally creates a richer exchange between you and them.

My heart goes out to anyone experiencing this, but it’s just a part of life with language. There’s so many routes to happiness in life there is no need to use words to give any thought to the few stories that will close you off from experience. Your salvation—your freedom—lies in your ability to choose from a fantastic number of paths through life. Every moment is a decision—a choice. But we get so focused on wanting something specific that we start to get attached to it and then we expect it. Do these words seem familiar? Like Buddhism-familiar? That’s because that’s what we’re talking about here.

439 Relax and Succeed - What you think of yourselfYou have to let go of your attachment to your expectation of what people will think of you or others. We were always wrong anyway. We just lie to ourselves that what we think of ourselves is what other people think of us too. For all we know someone’s bad stories could be improving some people’s views of us. Lots of people smile at people’s faces and then stab them in the back the moment the person turns around. That’s just people. And that’s always been happening to us too. Your job isn’t to dispel anything, it’s to accept that this is the true nature of reality and the best course of action is simply ignoring all of the stories as insignificant because in general that is what they are.

Forget your reputation. Just go be yourself and the people truly worth impressing will notice the real you anyway. Just breathe out any ugliness. There is nothing to be gained by thinking about it. Simply live your life. Don’t surrender a bunch of time to fighting ghosts. Your life is worth too much for that. Don’t worry about things you only you imagine. Focus on the verb of your life.

peace. s

Other Perspectives #23

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426 Relax and Succeed Quote Rebuttal - Live in such a way.

Hey, I get the sentiment here and it’s a nice thought. And I’m all for people leading “good” lives. But to me that is a life you love, because those kinds of lives include joy, laughter, sharing, compassion—all the makings of the easiest type of life. But have a great life selfishly, because it feels good for you, not to influence people around you. Only you experience your thoughts about your life, so what other people think is entirely irrelevant. Everyone lives in their own separate bubble of judgmental thoughts. That’s what the world is to all of us: our ideas about the world. And the people in it. So no matter how you lived, there would still be people who would have hateful thoughts about you. If you were perfect people would hate you for being perfect. Remember, Nelson Mandela was in jail and Martin Luther King and Gandhi were both shot. So no matter how “good” you think you can be, there’s no way to please seven billion people, so just relax and selfishly do what feels right to a happy and connected. You and everything will be as good as you each can be. We can’t seek perfection, we must realize ourselves authentically in as many moments as we’re able to stay conscious for. If you demanded a definition for goodness, that’s what I would use. Because that is the purest form of us in the spiritual sense. And that is Truth in motion. That is the universe being. And there is nothing “wrong” in that.

peace. s

Note: Everyone who posts or shares a quote does so with the very best of intentions. That said, I have created the series of Other Perspectives blog posts in an effort to prevent some of these ideas from entering into people’s consciousness unchallenged. These quotes range from silly to dangerous and—while I intend no offense to their creators—I do use these rebuttals to help define and delineate the larger message I’m attempting to convey in my own work. I do hope you find them helpful in your pursuit of both psychological and spiritual health.