Writing and publishing this post will be an achievement for me. It’s helpful to consciously acknowledge when something would be an achievement, and when something has been achieved. An achievement is something we’re proud that we accomplished.
Appreciation is also something we can consciously acknowledge. By “consciously acknowledge” I mean it requires mental focus, and by focusing on the things we appreciate, we attract more of it into our lives. Appreciating is consciously acknowledging and savoring the beauty, worth, and value of something.
Achieving and appreciating are powerful self-improvement techniques. By using both of these mental skills, we can truly create a more positive experience for ourselves, and by extension, a more positive world.
I’ve just had a realization about most of the relationships I’ve experienced so far, and why I’ve often struggled with them. I’m deeply honest and sincere, and while that may seem like a virtue, in many relationships (that I’ve experienced) that’s actually something people are afraid of. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong for me to be sincere, but that I’m just not around like-minded (or ‘like-hearted’) people.
For example, I understand that people are going to be self-interested; I believe in that, actually. However, let’s say someone in a (romantic) relationship with me says they would be happier by ending the relationship–I genuinely support that–but what I don’t support is not being honest and up-front about it, and basically making me the bad guy in order to have an excuse to break up. Or maybe someone is talking about improving their life in some way; I wholeheartedly care and want them to do it, and I want to support them in whatever way I’m able to.
What I don’t like (or understand) is when I’m talking about improving my life–or being honest and sincere with someone–and I’m met with disinterest, falseness, or even passive-aggressiveness. Because I very much want to get along with people, I used to contort myself in all sorts of ways that ultimately left me feeling depressed. Now, instead of beating up and betraying myself, I choose to stand by my values and attract people who value the same things as I do.
The treasure I seek is self-realization, but the great fear I have is letting go of the belief that I have to do something, that I have to prove my worth, or be somebody. It’s a paradox. The more I try to be who I am, the more I can’t be who I am.
What if we accepted that everything is unfolding perfectly? That it has always unfolded perfectly, and will always unfold perfectly. There’s a part of me that’s terrified to accept that–recoils at the thought–and yet it’s a deep understanding and key to the universe.
Where does meaningfulness come from? I don’t know, but I know it’s something we can feel. Our own unique path will always feel meaningful to us.
Sometimes I wonder why it’s so quick and easy for me to focus love onto others, but focusing that same love on myself feels foreign. It’s one of those unfamiliar things that I’m devoted to becoming familiar with. As I look upon myself with the same admiration, esteem, friendliness, and respect that I afford others, I feel at peace.
My definition of humility is being neither too high nor too low in your estimation of yourself. In fact, the need to compare yourself to others is irrelevant when you’re truly humble. Humility requires self-honesty and sincerity.
Feeling like you’re better than others (and needing to put others down) is arrogance, which is the opposite of humility. Likewise, playing the martyr or victim is also a kind of arrogance, and not humble. It’s only through vigorous self-honesty that the true heart of humility can shine forth.
Being truly humble means being invisible, like the way nature is great without caring if anyone notices. It means living life for the greater good, which includes yourself and everyone else. It means withdrawing blame and taking on full responsibility for your choices.
Choosing to no longer seek the approval of (and trying to please) others may be the most challenging thing we ever face. Sometimes anger is our only way out, but when the anger subsides, we can feel the familiar pull of old habits. However (and whenever) it happens, turning the corner is the difference between night and day.
The Great Equalizer
Happiness is the great equalizer. We can never really tell if anyone else is truly happy. We can never truly make anyone else happy unless they really want to be happy.
I have to admit that as focused and (authentically) happy as I am now, through everything I’ve learned and overcome, there’s still pain and resistance to being happy, which requires all of my wisdom (as well as others) in order to find peace. It takes a deep and abiding appreciation of the journey and the process of life. We weren’t born to please others; we were born to be true to ourselves, and the sooner we realize that, the better we’ll feel.
I’m focused on embodying myself these days–really feeling what it means to be me–so I’m not trying to use my intellect to be happy. Intrinsic motivation is the only thing that’s truly fulfilling. Life flows into open spaces.
I’m enjoying art, writing, and music. There’s nothing for me to solve anymore. I’ve gone through the tough stuff, and now all I want to do is appreciate everything.
I know that whatever has gone away can be replaced by something greater. This is what it means to be a (better) man. That’s what it means to be human.