So, I’m curious if I can write this message without going all intellectual on myself. I could tell myself about all the good things about that I’ve been doing. That’s probably a good place to start before I try to formulate thoughts. Cleanse the palate sort of. I’ll do that before I get to the other side of the debate where I beat myself up. ‘Cuz that’s what I do. The voice used to run rampant until I stopped letting it run at the mouth and try to decide if I’m the voice or if I’m the listener. I still don’t know. What’s going on here? This is crazy. Or is it? Probably this stuff goes on in everyone’s consciousness doesn’t it?
The debate goes on continually, but I’ve started to pay attention. I like to get to the bottom of things, but sometimes the bottom is not a pretty place to look. So, when the debate goes on and I’m arguing about some little thing, I come to understand it’s not about that little thing at all, it’s associated with some bigger thing under that and then it becomes bigger to the point where I’m debating all the stupid things that I’ve done for the past 20 years. All the dumb things I did that lead to divorce which is a REALLY big thing. If only I’d done this or that and it all would have been different. It’s not pleasant, it’s hard to bind a conversation with myself so it doesn’t go everywhere.
So, I’ll think of a bunch of good things about what I have done (which I really do believe) so as not to fall into the big pit get to this: There’s this little problem here I’d like to adjust it in a minor way and maybe that will sort things out. A huge part of the issue is just exactly what this is about? And how can I be compassionate with myself? Let’s see, I can think about empathy for about a fifth of a second. A mother is compassionate because she loves her baby, but then there’s nothing less compassionate to me than a mother Grizzly protecting her cubs…
God Damn IT! Here I am fucking intellectualizing again. All right, it’s OK. It’s a coping mechanism isn’t it? Let’s distract ourselves and go off on a tangent. At least I’ve caught myself…
So how can I BE compassionate with myself. I’m compassionate with other people, aren’t I? So what am I really talking about with myself? Soul searching, trying to find my problems, and then holding myself guilty for having problems. Who am I? Jesus? Buddha? Nah, just a simple guy. Am I a dragon slayer? Hardly. I have my anxieties and fears, but that’s common sense isn’t it? Yep. And I’m doing a lot of good things, but you wouldn’t know that by the way I treat myself. I treat my friends and even their DOGS better than I treat myself sometimes.
You’d think I’d have compassion for myself, I’m a compassionate guy. I really am. Am I also a victim? Yes, of course I’m a victim. Everyone is. Am I a fixer upper? Everyone is? Am I dysfunctional? Everyone is. But can I change? Of course I can. Can I fix things? Yes, but it’s REALLY hard. Life is not simple. But maybe its purpose is to strive toward what is better. Just one simple thing at a time.
Jordan Peterson says “…if you don’t have a purpose, it isn’t that your life becomes neutral in a meaningless sense, it’s that your life becomes characterized by unbearable suffering – because the baseline condition of life is something like unbearable suffering. And what you have to set against that is a noble and worth-while purpose. Hopefully, your determination of that purpose is buttressed to some degree by the wisdom of the past because you can’t conjure something like that on your own.”
He continues: “If you provide people with nobility of purpose then they can tolerate the suffering of existence without becoming entirely corrupted by it… cultures that don’t do that are dead – they’re done. They don’t have a story anymore and no call to adventure.”
Oh My, more intellectualization. Let’s just leave it at this:
Am I perfect? No.
Can I forgive myself for being imperfect (um, Human)? Yes.
Do I forgive myself for being human? Yes
Can I improve? Yes, one small thing at a time.
I’m going to do my best; one thing at a time. Let’s try Dr. Peterson’s prescription:
Stand up straight with my shoulders back.
- I can do that, it’s easy.
Treat myself like I would someone I am responsible for helping.
- Um, first I’ll give myself a break and a pardon.
Make friends with people who want the best for me.
- Ahhh! Safe People. I know who they are now!
Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today
- Stepwise refinement. Do just one thing differently today than yesterday. After 100 days, I’ll be 100 times better than I am today.
Set my house in perfect order before I criticize the world
- Make my bed, pick up my room.
Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)
This is one I will ponder. The meaning of life
Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie.
- I catch myself all the time. I am getting better and better. There’s one of those little improvements. One day at a time.
Assume that the person I am listening to might know something I don’t.
- Ouch. Arrogance. Maybe humility and gratitude are in order. It’s another of the bigger things that must be worked on.
Be precise in my speech
- I like this one. Yes, I will be precise and not intellectualize so much. Less blah, blah, blah, more precision.
Pet a cat when I encounter one on the street.
- Or a dog. I like both cats and dogs… But this is not about pets. When things are not good, when they’re hard, I get a moment or two when small things shine through. When things are going to hell in a handbasket, when I’ve got too many problems, I will shrink it down. Shrink the time to handle it. One day at a time my AA friends tell me. If it’s bad one hour at a time, one minute at a time. Pet the dog…