An expert on yourself

I was thinking about the idea that if you know yourself through and through, then there is less room for uncertainty in the unknown elements outside of yourself.  I think there is a big difference in the usefulness of being selfish and self-knowing.  If you don’t even know yourself, how can you come to understand anything else?  Being self-knowing serves both you and the people/circumstances that you meet throughout life.  Say you find yourself in unfamiliar territory, a challenging situation…if you know yourself and how you have reacted to other difficulties prior to this experience, then you can eliminate fear and anxiety.  Most irrational decisions come from either fear or anger, and since you have nothing to fear or be anxious/angry about then you can be almost certain that you will act in a constructive manner.  Spend time with yourself, penetrate the surfaces that you have allowed to collect dust.  Learn from you past, and use it to fuel your present.  Perhaps, you will not always know exactly what to do, but knowing what not to do can lead you on a surprisingly clear path.  A lot of people struggle with their goals.  If you are like me, I can almost always reach a goal…but I almost always fail to maintain it.  I then find myself back at square one thinking, that if I just do exactly what I did the last time to get me to my goal, I’ll be back there in no time.  I end up being right, but what I don’t account for is the fact that this path lead me to my goal in an unsustainable way…then I end up back at square one again. Now, however, I know what does not work and what works to a certain degree.  From this I can calmly face the drawing board and start again.  Am I fearful? No. Am I uncertain of the exact results? Yes.  Am I certain that the path and the results will reveal important information to me? Yes.  So there is nothing to fear, and there is everything to learn.  One journey or one experience can help me learn how to use certain tools that may be useful for my next journey!  I try to keep that in mind when I think I have failed at something.  As long as I have learned something, then I have certainly made progress for future endeavors.

Know yourself!  Take pride in the work that most people will never see.  Take pride in the fact that you have the strength and the courage to explore your failures and your dark side, absorb all the constructive things you can learn from past mistakes and accomplishments alike.  If there is one thing in life that is worth becoming an expert on, it is becoming an expert on yourself.  If you learn who you are and how to utilize who you are, then you can more easily enrich other people and other components in your life.  The better you know yourself, the better parent, teacher, student, etc. you will be.

(remember it isn’t about becoming something or someone that other people admire, it is about self-knowledge and learning how to utilize that knowledge in a way that enriches your life  and strengthens your capabilities.  Don’t do anything for the predicted results.  Act on knowledge not aspirations.  The results will always be uncertain until the end, but your actions are certain and permanent the moment you commit to them).

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But the Lord can’t take me and the Devil won’t have me

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Being (or at least attempting to be) all good or all bad is obviously an unbalanced approach to life.  I think a lot of people who end up on a negative path, start out trying to be perfect and “good.”  When the pressure gets to be too much or challenges pop up left and right, the best option seems to be to flick the angel off of our right shoulder and go with the devil.  There is a saying that when things don’t go right…go left, but balance in life is all about having an all inclusive view of the world.  Why do we tell ourselves that we can only do or be one thing or another?  When we limit ourselves to succeeding or failing then when we don’t succeed our only option is to fail.  An open mind and heart to all aspects of life allows us to choose from many paths when the one we are on gets blocked off.  Food, for example, is not only tasted…but it is also: smelled, seen, heard, and felt.  My goal is to live life using all senses, with an evolving balance between them.  I wish to let all parts of myself shake hands and serve their purposes when called upon.  Some people feel that changing principles throughout life is hypocritical, but I think we have to evolve throughout life or else we are stagnant.  Speak of what you believe today, but don’t let your ego prevent you from changing your view after tomorrow reveals new information.  “Make your own Bible” as Mr. Emerson said.  The biggest thing I’m learning is that I don’t have to be one thing or another, I just have to be who I am today; and if that changes tomorrow then I am going to be true to who I am tomorrow.

Confuse all good things, frustrate all bad things, and accept all parts of yourself as being purposeful.  Forget the righteous path and the menacing outskirts.  Don’t flourish or fall, don’t sink or swim…I say walk on water, swim on land, jump on clouds, and cool yourself with fire.  Do things he way that keeps you balanced, the way that works for you.  Don’t conform to the ways you “should be” because you’ll limit yourself.  Innovate and explore as you approach your life!

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Independence Day

When our actions come from fear and anger, we hurt ourselves and everyone around us.

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson on Self Reliance

People are so often caught up in their experiences from the past.  They can’t live past the day that someone said something that tripped them up and threw them off track.  They see that one experience as the reason for the countless mistakes in their lives, the reason they held back, the reason it all went wrong.  I know this, because I do this.  I often find myself bitter and disheartened by the actions of others.  Coulda, woulda, shoulda…that type of thinking is one I know all to well.  But is it what was said/done to us or was it how we reacted that created all the chaos?  It is so difficult to forget about being mad at someone and focus on our own actions.  However, I think this is a valuable asset.  It is powerful because when we place the blame on someone else, then we take the power away from ourselves to make things right.  This is where I think a person can learn to be calm in the shadows of the dark points of their life.  Fear comes from a lack of understanding and knowledge, but if we remain faithful in our own abilities and our desire to flourish then we will not emerge from the shadows with imbalance.

When I was a kid, I was terrified of the dark.  I would go out and do my chores as fast as I could and then run full speed back into the house.  What was I afraid of?  Monsters, aliens, murderers…the usual.  But now that I am older, I rather enjoy my time spent out alone walking at night.  It isn’t that I am confident in the fact that there are no threats, because I know they are there, but I am just more focused on the positive things that the darkness of night holds.  That’s all it took, a positive shift in focus…now the thing I once loathed is the thing I love.  That said, I haven’t been able to do this in all aspects of my life.  I think it is important to recognize this.  My negative shift in focus really holds me back from a lot of things.  I used to love living a healthy lifestyle, I focused on it as being a positive thing.  But somewhere along the line it became a negative thing, I lost sight of my goals and got off track.  The further off track I got  the more I started worrying about what other people were thinking about me…the more I worried about what other people were thinking, the less I did the constructive things that would have gotten me out of my rut.  And at some point you just have to say who cares!?  Do what you need to do to be healthy without hurting anyone along the way.  For me, isolation is what I need right now to detox from all the negativity.  Because here is the big secret:  everyone is fighting a battle within themselves and most people aren’t dealing with their own problems in a healthy way.  When your own focus is strong and positive then toxic people are less of a hindrance, but when you are on the edge yourself…well then I say it is best to repair your foundation for as long as necessary so that when a storm comes you are strong and ready.

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build a home at the top

Sisyphus was a king in Greek mythology, a KING…on top! But at the top, he was not balanced, he was deceitful. So, he was punished by the gods, forced to roll a massive boulder up a hill and watch it roll down over and over again. Some people picture Sisyphus smiling as he pushed the boulder to the top; they say that the struggle, toward the goals in our lives, is enough to make us smile, even if we don’t maintain the accomplishment for long. I disagree! I’ve worked tirelessly and endlessly toward the goals in my life, and my boulder always rolls back down to the bottom. I’ve chased dreams and failed; I’ve overcome flaws and transformed myself, only to revert back to a state of dismay. I’m happy, to an extent, as I work toward a goal…but there is also a frantic rush to get there.  I throw away all balance in my life, in order to somehow achieve a balanced life.  Sounds pretty stupid, right!?   At some point I have to make it to the top and balance the weight.  Because if success is never going to be a reality, then what’s the point? I think I the key, for me at least, is to become patient and steadfast.  I need to stop rushing toward something that I think will fix everything and make me happy forever. I know the struggle will always be there, but I don’t think I have to live in a constant state of disappointment and failure. Rolling that boulder up the hill is only half the battle. As Bruce Lee said, “long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity.” My boulder consists of self image issues and negative thoughts, which I always try to get rid of with short bursts of intense self-discipline.   I keep slamming the boulder to the top of the hill, expecting it to magically stop and hang out at the top…but the only way for it to stay up there is if I  push toward the top with a controlled and steady motion.  It’s time to be consistent, to be slow and steady. Each day I am working to get better, to stop being self-destructive. It’s time to put a brave face on, to labor toward the top, and smile while I build a home up there. That’s where I want to live, to work, and thrive. Here I am, at the bottom looking up…ready for the task at hand.

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