As many of you know here at 'What's Now' I like to take quotes sometimes and disagree with them. This one however popped up twice for me this week "randomly" and both times I was reassured by it that I'm moving in the right direction.
This week my theme seemed to be: Get back to the basics and I'm the only person that I need to or want to impress. Start small and move forward... celebrate your success... don't worry about what anyone else thinks.
I was triggered several times this week by small 'insignificant' things that brought up a lot of anger in me. Each time I lived in those moments was hell. Each time I was not in a present state of mind and each time I either did or said something that was not loving. However, each time those situations got shorter and shorter because I kept catching myself and asking, "Is this who you want to be?" Am I upset because that person said something about me or did something to me? Or am I upset for another reason? 100% of the time the answer was because I was putting something into the situation that caused me to be upset. I was the one choosing to get angry or "offended." I was the one who was comparing how I thought I was to how I thought I should be. How I thought the other person was treating me versus looking at the situation as it really was. I wasn't taking responsibility for my own emotions and reactions.
Where does that leave me then? Well it leaves me nowhere, because I'm here. However it does lead me to forgiveness. Self-forgiveness. Real forgiveness. I got so forgiving the other night that I damn near cried. "It's okay man. That's not who you are now. I forgive you. Yes, that happened, yes you did that or said that. So what? Is that who you are? Is that who you want to be? Guess what? You don't have to do it anymore. You aren't that. That doesn't have to be that way."
Now schizophrenic duel voice aside, some real shit got shifted for me in that. It felt like I was just talking to my past self and telling him that I was okay and he didn't need to feel guilt about it anymore. Past me is forgiven because what he did or didn't do doesn't affect me anymore. "I release you!"
Hey! I came here to read about comparison... you say.
Well I'm getting there... Comparison is the thief of joy because comparing myself to how I am and how I think I ought to be just sucks. I'm not there yet. I am right here. Today I take a step, tomorrow maybe I'll take another or who knows, maybe two. We'll get there when we get there. Comparing myself to my past self sucks too. I may feel better, I may like now more than then, but I can't compare because I can't crawl back into that mindset and I can't judge my past self when I'm too busy forgiving and letting all that judgment go. Wait? What do you mean you can't compare to your past self? Well... okay, there will be times when I go, oh wow... I used to ______ and then think: 'Man I'm glad that's not part of my life anymore. I'm so much better off.' However, I'm not looking at past me and saying what a shitty place that was because I'm not going to project backwards any judgment or pull into the present any guilt over any of that. Sounds kind of douchey, but really it's not since forgiveness is weaved throughout it all.
Insert segue here
people while he's chilling by a pool somewhere and you think... damn, I may be well but I'm not Bill Gates well. Aaaaaand, there goes the good day. Now you're comparing. Now you're seeing yourself as less than because you've started putting things on ol' Bill and his billions. You think about your wish for billions or heck just $20 more to get a good lunch. You feel less somehow and you've just comparison killed your good day.
Flip that comparison around and in the same happy day you see a homeless many who is dirty and weak looking sitting under a bridge while it rains. Now you say to yourself, 'Well at least I'm not wet under a bridge depressed.' Um... who said that guy was depressed? Did you go talk to him and ask? Or did you just project that onto him? You're day just slid into comparison and then guilt over your "higher position" on the happiness ladder. See? Thieving joy all over the place.
Where this plays into my life right now is that I'm trying to compare myself to not only others but to my own expectations. I was getting down on myself for "not getting it" or "not being able to shift" or "not understanding how to change" or "not knowing what I want." I was thieving myself of the joy of my days. I was stealing my own happiness by not just forgiving and letting it go. I was not concentrating on myself and doing what I want to do and being what I want to be... right now! Not then, not next week, right now. Right now I want to type a blog. Wha-la! A blog is being typed. Randomly and all over the place I'm sure, but we're getting there.
My teacher has a cool analogy that he uses a lot that has been super helpful to me this week as well. If you're a second grader and you're talking to a senior in High School, then you're not going to understand what they're talking about when they discuss their calculus homework. (Side note: I never took calculus and didn't even know how to spell it just now). Anyway, the second grader can't get frustrated about it because that's not where they are! It's going to take a lot of time and a lot of lessons in life (school of life) to get to c-a-l-c-u-l-u-s. Okay, got it.
The point is if I'm siting here in second grade, then that's where I am. Let's enjoy it and move on to recess and art class. I'll get it and take in a few more ABCs and then move on to third grade. If I learn them well enough then who knows, I may be able to skip a grade, or two, or seven! If not, then hey, back to math class and move on. The point is, I can't compare myself to others who have been at this longer or who are opening up faster, forgiving more, forgiving less... because, that'll take all the fun and importance out of MY lessons. I've got to be the best second grader I can be. (sips juice box) I can't compare, one because I don't know enough about who or what I'm comparing myself to and two, it will take all the joy out of my lessons and my journey.
Bottom this line of thought out and you get to this: If you're busy comparing yourself to others, you're not spending that time looking at yourself; you're looking at others and practicing projection. Focus on yourself. You have only you to impress.
Back to the basics. Sitting here in whatever grade I'm in and learning the lessons as they come. I'm not trying to go after it all at once anymore. I'm just taking it as it comes and taking the pressure off. That whole "get it right or else you'll be punished" mindset is fading away. I'm saying, "Nah. I'm good. I am happy, and I'd like to stay that way."
Thanks for hanging with me this week dear reader. I know this wasn't the most eloquent of posts, but I did refrain from saying fuck this week, so... ooops. There was one. Ha! You're welcome!