4 years ago500+ Views
• Strength doesn’t come from having the ability to force one’s will on another – strength is instead built from helping those who are not as prepared for life’s challenges as we are. • Power isn’t derived from feeding on the fears and insecurities of others – power is instead born of our willingness to recognize the vulnerabilities in those around us and our choosing to avoid the exploitation of this knowledge. • Knowledge has no value unless it is shared; the hording of knowledge is short-sighted, selfish, and pointless. Through giving our strength – by choosing a higher path – and in sharing our knowledge we embody the noblest aspects of our species; contributing to the improvement of the human condition and elevating the path for us all. ____________________ These things mentioned above are more than an amalgam of various beliefs and philosophies which have been stated before in many different but similar forms; these concepts form the basis for how I choose to live my life. After much introspection I’ve come to believe that I’ve lived three different lives so far - The first was full of hurt and confusion, anger and cynicism. I was a lost child who chose to run around in the hazy confusion of youth – playing at being a fully-realized person but never wanting to take the necessary steps to completely put away my childish ways and embrace being an adult and all that it entails. My second life came with the realization that I had abused my health (physically, emotionally, mentally) to the point that I was either going to break or I had to finally walk away from the excuses and justifications I used to avoid owning my poor choices. I not only had to accept and own my choices but I had to fight to stay alive so I could undo as much of the hurt as possible. And to be clear – The harm I speak of is more about the emotional damage we can so easily cause in others by being self-focused and careless. There is a balance we all must work to establish, where we can be honest and forthright without being careless or cruel. Where we learn to take a few moments to consider how our words will affect the person we are speaking to, and choose discretion and care in how we move forward expressing our thoughts and feelings. This is childhood’s end… the point of no return where you have to embrace a new awareness of yourself and your place in our world – the knowledge that you are not an island and you must learn to care about those around you. I’m in my third life now. In this life I have stopped lying to myself about who I am and what I stand for. I’ve stopped making excuses for my selfish choices and I have developed a strong self-dialog where I constantly assess where I am and what I am doing and how I am feeling. Most importantly I’ve recognized how my choices affect those around me. I’ve had to learn to live with the knowledge that some things cannot be unsaid. Some fences simply can never be mended. It’s a sobering thing to know and accept that through nothing more than a selfish denial of your own nature you chose to say and do things that affected innocent people in a severely negative way. The child I once was would say, “But sometimes that’s the only way you can learn.” Many people believe this but it’s just another form of justification and deflection. Right is right – wrong is wrong. As that petulant child who didn’t want to let go of the illusions of a carefree life that is one of the greatest gifts of childhood; I could see that many people around me justified their bad behavior through the use of this “but I sometimes just have to do it the hard way” excuse. The truth is that if we quiet the child in us and listen carefully, our intuition – our inner voice – our gut – will never lead us astray. In this life I am living now – I’ve worked hard to create a framework which defines my core beliefs and represents the extremes that I have come to accept and embrace as the boundaries which form my reality. The three statements which started this essay – these are core to who I am and more importantly – who I choose to be. I aspire to be more… but I’ve come to accept that if I can do nothing more than live by these three things; I can live a life that’s worth being lived. I am the architect of my best successes and my worst failures… I alone must shoulder the responsibility for my choices, my words, and my actions. It’s easy now… which is why I look back on just the past 10 years and sincerely, it feels like a lifetime ago. _________ Thank you for taking the time to read this and I sincerely hope that you are having a beautiful day, wherever you are, whatever time it is…
@JonPatrickHyde Thank you so much for the advice. I have always felt that I need to serve people and do something that can bring change - small or large. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I overwhelm myself when I think this way...especially when I feel like I am not making any progress. I agree with what you say...that my purpose in life is to live and that when you follow your dreams and passions, you find happiness that can be shared with others. When I think about the most influential people in my life, I think about the people with the most contagious positive attitudes who chase after their dreams. I'm thankful for this conversation, it has got me thinking...
@WordDoctor - Thank you! And I completely agree. In my own personal experience I think some of the most hurtful things I've said to others haven't been deliberate; they've been "thoughtless" or "careless"... and what I mean by this is we (as humans) have a tendency to often view the world around us from our own limited interpretation of reality, not stopping to consider that those around us may have a very different perception of any given subject or situation. Sometimes the most hurtful things come from when someone you care about disregards your emotions or feelings. I think men are far more guilty of this - we think about things that others share with us only from the context of our own feelings on the subject. If you - for instance - shared a fear that you were not really a likeable person once people came to know you and I liked you and thought other people liked you - it'd be easy to disregard your fear/insecurity as insignificant. To say, "That's stupid" or "You're just being silly." - when in fact you are not. If you fear something or have doubts or insecurities - they don't have to make sense or be justifiable to anyone but yourself. I know in the past if I wasn't prepared to hear some feeling or emotion from someone close to me wanted to share - I'd downplay it or just brush it aside. The truth is nothing can be more hurtful. It took me a long time to accept that the reason I did this was out of my own fear. I can't speak for all men, but many men I have known and observed closely fear change. We like to work to build things to a place we are comfortable and then we like them to stay there. This just isn't really possible. Things always change. What most men in this situation are completely guilty of is they stop working on building the relationship once they get to their comfort zone. Their attitude is - hey! I built it - what more do you want? Men often understand analogies best when explaining emotions - so here's one of my favorites. When you use the analogy of the comparing any relationship - with a love interest or family or friends or even yourself - with the greatest structures man has created such as the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a feat of engineering to build. But once construction was completed it hasn't been left alone. If it had been - the structure would have failed a few short years after being finished. According to the Official Golden Gate Bridge website, "Currently, a revered and rugged group of of 13 ironworkers and 3 pusher ironworkers along with and 28 painters, 5 painter laborers, and a chief bridge painter battle wind, sea air and fog, often suspended high above the Gate, to repair corroding steel." It takes 50 people to keep that bridge healthy on a yearly basis. If you consider each is full time and you take into account the average hours worked in the USA per year per worker - (1788 x 50) - it takes 89,400 hours of labor per year to keep that bridge from breaking apart and falling into the bay below it. Nothing built - relationships or bridges - can survive without continue effort to keep them healthy. Words are incredibly powerful. Once said and heard, they cannot be unheard. Saying deliberately hurtful things to others is often part of conflict. And this is a completely different type of communication issue than what I am speaking of when I say thoughtless and/or careless. I've adopted the habit of listening when someone shares their thoughts or feelings with me. And I try to listen through a couple of mental filters - for lack of better terminology - I hear what they are saying and I can immediately think about how it affects me and makes me feel. The important filter is being able to not react and instead look deeper into their words, putting aside my personal bias, to contemplate how these words as expressed represent the speaker's reality and their point of view. Another big issue I see in communicating deeply personal thoughts and feelings is that our (as in human beings) need to categorize, stratify, and organize information. When trying to understand another person's point of view - there seems to be the false belief that a consensus or agreement regarding what was shared has to be reached... and it doesn't. I don't have to understand why you feel a certain way. I just need to be able to accept it. This is the first step in being able to communicate without misunderstanding. Communication - honest - raw - meaningful - has to be based in trust. And trust is build through acceptance and sincerity. Lastly, where powerful emotions which defy logic are concerned - fear, hatred, sorrow, love, etc.. when expressing these things we are at our most vulnerable. This means that the communicator is emotionally exposed to the person (or people) they are sharing with. The responsibility for being careful and thoughtful - falls on the listener. It's also vitally important that both parties be patient and diligent at the same time. That someone in the communication chain has to be able to stay calm and clear. In these situations I allow my instincts to guide me, because sometimes there is nothing you can say to a person who is sharing - you just need to listen and let them know you care and that what they are sharing matters to you. For all of our grey matter and ability to think, rationalize, remember, and dream... we are still instinctual animals. What sets us apart from the rest of the Animal Kingdom is the amazing gift to use our intellect to override our instinctual impulses - thus opening up a whole new level of existence, potential, and possibilities.
I'd like to respond to these points: "And to be clear – The harm I speak of is more about the emotional damage we can so easily cause in others by being self-focused and careless. There is a balance we all must work to establish, where we can be honest and forthright without being careless or cruel. Where we learn to take a few moments to consider how our words will affect the person we are speaking to, and choose discretion and care in how we move forward expressing our thoughts and feelings." I really like that you included not only "cruel" but also "careless." Whether it is in giving each other our opinions as artists or just in our interactions with others, I've found that some of the cruelest or most damaging words happen not intentionally but rather carelessly. Also, you write that "This is childhood’s end… the point of no return where you have to embrace a new awareness of yourself and your place in our world – the knowledge that you are not an island and you must learn to care about those around you." I agree that this is one of the most significant signs of maturity and adulthood. Ideally we become so much more aware of our relationships to each other and the world around us, and how we can affect those things and people around us in many ways both good and bad. It takes a lot of self-awareness, I think, to focus on projecting constructive rather than destructive effects out into the world - but it is a goal that we should always strive for. Thank you for reminding us!
:D Thanks for the thoughtful comment and for sharing in return. I'll be totally honest and say that it's different for everyone - I've met people who just know early on who they are and what they stand for... and yet another set seem to grow and learn and discover their core values in time (I am certainly one of these), and there's a whole other set that is lost, remains lost, and there's really nothing you can do to assist them. There's no right or wrong answer - there's only what you discover (in time) works for you. I think having people who can be positive influences is vital. I can say that the idea of "mentors" in life is a great one. And I think the more the better off you are. Wisdom is certainly something one can only achieve in time. What I constantly tell myself is that although I am often determined to do things "my way", I shouldn't ever discount or ignore advice to the contrary by older and more experienced people around me. Pride is a major hurdle for anyone in terms of finding your inner voice and identifying a set of core values that isn't harmful in some way to those around you. That being said - I want to offer you some hard earned advice about what you said regarding what you are passionate about and finding overlap with the World's greatest needs. Living a life that is fulfilled and passionate and allows you to be the happiest, best version of yourself possible IS the World's greatest need. By following your dreams and living a life full of happiness and peace - you share that with everyone around you. And that sends positivity out into the World. You can make an enormous difference in the future shape of our society by simply being productive and sharing your love of what you do with others. This act can and will inspire people around you. Haven't you met people who really are happy and live the sort of productive life you'd like for yourself? Positive energy feeds positive energy. You don't HAVE to find the cure for cancer to make the World a better place. So don't put that sort of pressure on yourself. Sometimes you simply need to stop, step back and over to the left or the right a step - to see things in a completely new light. Your purpose in life is to live. It's your choice and ultimately your responsibility to decide if you are going to live a life that is what you had wanted for yourself. I hope this helps. And again, thank you for your kind words.
These are great values to live by. I use the excuse "sometimes you have to learn the hard way" in different areas of my life. Technically, I am still young and have my whole life ahead of me, but I know that this isn't the healthiest way of thinking about my choices. If I keep relying on my making mistakes to "learn"...will I ever learn? Hmm, so much to think about. I really want to be the best version of my self at all times, but I definitely need to work on this. I'm still in the process of completely understanding who I am and what I want to do with my life...that I know could be over at any moment. I know I am passionate about several things, but I still haven't found a way to find an overlap with my passions and the world's greatest need. I don't know if I will ever be 100% sure. All I know is that I am thankful for human interaction and the opportunity to learn and be inspired from individuals stories...I feel that really affects me in a positive way and makes me reflect about my life. Thank you for sharing.