The reason we don’t have to waste our time wanting to be other people is that they have the same collection of experiences that we do, theirs are just triggered by different narratives. For example, we might assume being in the Beatles was a really wild and fun gig. Beauty, talent, recognition, love, money.
A person can appear to have it all. But, as George Harrison points out, when you’re a young new songwriter in a band with arguably the world’s two greatest modern composers, bringing forward an idea—and having many shot down—was quite a huge and unpleasant experience.
But what wisdom can we draw from George’s intense suffering? It’s that George was in one of the most unique and wonderful positions that life has ever offered anyone, and yet he was unhappy because he compared himself to Paul and John.
It’s not who we are to others that matters. It’s what we do with our minds that counts. Life is how it feels. Which means the stories we tell ourselves are critical.
How we feel when we’re anxious that we might not be accepted at a table in the cafeteria; or if we feel we might look dumb in front of classmates in offering some ‘answer;’ or when we worry we may not be up to some job; or to belong to some team—we are having the same experience as George Harrison presenting a song to the Beatles. Only the words in the story change. But the chemistry is the same.
You are telling yourself a story. Stop being so partial to the enjoyable parts. The scary and uncertain parts are at the heart of the plot. If our story doesn’t challenge us as protagonist, then we never grow and change. And then we have no old ‘us’ to look back on. Without that, it’s hard to appreciate our growth.
All of this means that everyone can relax. No matter what life we lived, we’d still be feeling most of the same ways, just at different times, and for different ‘reasons.’ But we don’t live the reasons. We live the feelings. That’s why it’s worth it to trust yours, and to look for a life that gives you, good or bad, the most rewarding feelings you can find.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.