Sunday, May 10, 2015

I See Myself in Other People

I see myself in other people and sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes it's not.

A long time ago I really thought that people were all like me so if they did stuff I didn't like I thought they were doing it on purpose to annoy or hurt me.  That's very immature and borderline crazy I later learned.

Now that part of recovery is to share with other people my experience with using the principles of the 12 steps in my life, I still identify with the people I share with.  I remember very well why and how I began to change how I thought and how I lived - I was hopelessly miserable and willing to do anything to get out of the emotional pain I was in.  I forget that I'm somewhat wimpy and can't really take a lot of pain.  I have a very low tolerance for it. 

So I think, "Why is this person so resistant to changing their point of view and doing things differently?"  I forget that although I imagine I would be living in hell in their circumstances, they might be doing okay and their complaining might just be their way of making conversation. 

I actually consider myself lucky to be able to identify with other people - that's the good part of seeing myself in others.  Maybe I'm also lucky that I have such a low tolerance for pain because I've been motivated to make a whole lot of changes that have led me to the beautiful life I have now. 

Nevertheless, I sometimes have outbursts of amazement and say stuff like, "Oh my God!  You must really be suffering!!  Here let me tell you all about the ways I got out of suffering like that."  Sometimes that's well received but a lot of times it's not.  People think I'm criticizing them, the poor babies. 

So, I just write posts like this and feel like I've done my duty to pass on what I've learned.

Here are a couple of things I've tried to give away recently that came back to bite me:  If someone is taking advantage of me, I have choices.  If I'm just complaining about it, I'm just as much at fault as the other person.  I'm really creating my own misery.  I have learned to do what I want, to give what I want, and if I stop wanting to give, I stop giving. 

Also, if the people in my life act ugly to me or even just in my presence, I can go somewhere else.  I have 100% of the control of how I'm treated by other people (which might partly explain why I've been married three times).

Of course, I have to pay attention to my own behavior too so that I don't take advantage of others and don't act ugly to them or in their presence.  I've also learned if I do that, I attract what I put out there.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Election Season - How to Promote Civility and Reason

I'm in the process of trying to decide how I want to handle the election season.  Last time I chose to just watch one television program that covered politics and then didn't vote for the first time in my life.  Where I live I'm so outnumbered that it doesn't really matter if I vote or not.  I was feeling physically not so good and just didn't bother.

This time I found myself dreading all the mud-slinging and hate and shaming on Facebook, email, and television.  Since I'm feeling a lot better physically I decided that to the best of my ability I will try to put my principles into election season.

For starters I'm going to change parties for the purpose of voting so that my vote does have impact in the primaries.  I'm going to look for candidates with the most civility and reason and truthfulness.  Maybe there won't be any with those characteristics but I'll find the ones that comes closest. 

I'm going to write letters to candidates asking them for clear positions on the things that matter to me and those that respond will get my vote even if I don't agree with them.

On social media I'm going to do my best to check out the truth of anything posted from either side of the fence and share what I find out. 

I'm going to promote solutions rather than point out problems.  I hope I can find candidates with solutions.  If not, I'm going to propose some to the candidates that seem to have their heads screwed on the straightest.

All this is going to take up some of my precious time.  However, I can't think of much that's more important at this stage of my life than being the best citizen I can be.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

My New Mantra

I've decided that it's no longer necessary for me to be shocked and amazed when I hear about somebody doing something clearly nuts.  So my new mantra is, "People:  We be crazy!"

How is it possible that I either read about or hear about many, many utterly dysfunctional things that we do every day?  I would think that the majority of us are behaving in a fairly sane way most of the time.  Maybe we are, and that doesn't make the news. 

On the other hand, what I think is crazy is not necessarily the same as what everyone thinks is crazy. 

I think it's crazy for example, that when we try desperately to do everything to get everyone's approval (and some of us do this our whole lives), it never, ever works.  You'd think we'd notice this, but apparently we don't.

You'd think that by now we would have noticed that getting more and more stuff absolutely never, ever makes us happy.  After we've shown off our new stuff for a little while, we're back to square one wanting some more stuff.  Even considering the constant brainwashing of advertising, it looks like we would start seeing through it and turn our attention some place else - some place that would actually make us happy.

There's a huge amount of very reliable information about what will create a healthy body.  But either we don't believe it or we don't want to believe it.  Fresh fruit and vegetables.  Good protein.  Exercise and decreased stress.  Instead we take a lot of pills and gripe.  We're living longer but we're sicker. 

There's also an enormous amount of reliable information about how to parent, but it seems to me that most people just assume they already know how to do it.  Then we just do what our parents did without even thinking about it.  Hmmmm.  If we really wanted to create a better world, we'd be trying to find out how to parent so that our kids could grow up to be somewhat less dysfunctional.  I'm going to guess that if you chose ten people at random and had them explain what they thought a parent should do, all of them would have a different idea and be adamant that everyone but them was wrong.

Basic personal finance seems to be a mystery to a lot of us.  Things like paying for necessities before other things, saving for emergencies, how to earn more and spend less...Not a lot of us following these basics.

Then there's personal relations...Many of us seem to think that being critical, complaining incessantly, making demands on others, and trying to get others to be like we think they should be are the ways to have enjoyable relationships.  And, of course, those ways of being with people are destructive and cause nothing but trouble.

Health, relationships with others, basic finance and knowledge of how to be peaceful seem to be critical to our well-being.  But we seem to be ignoring them.
What's up with that?  People:  we be crazy.

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