Words in My Head

Spilling on the page...

Tag: self

A Simple Philosophy for Living

Getting older, I really hope I’m getting wiser. But some recent events have made me take a look at my own views, prejudices, and behaviors, in an attempt to codify things a bit better. Another case of “simplify, simplify, simplify” at work here…

Brian’s Rules for Life

Be kind as often as possible. Most of us know what WE have been through, but not what others have endured on their own journeys. It pays dividends to be nice to people on general principle, which then hopefully makes other people be nicer to you in return. Or perhaps nicer to other people down the line. One kind deed can create a landslide of good.

But, as Dalton (Patrick Swayze) says in the movie Road Housebe nice until it’s time not to be nice.  Sure, you can be kind to everybody, but at some point you have to stand up for yourself and others to say that enough is enough. That is simpler than it sounds and downright impossible to consider in many circumstances.  Fear is a powerful motivator to avoid conflict. However, bravery is acting despite that fear. Is it worth fighting for? Then fight if kindness and words won’t do the job. (This is something I struggle with because I’m severely conflict-averse.)

Listen more than you speak. If you do it right, you’ll know many things you may not wish to. If you listen, truly listen, complete strangers will tell you their life stories and you’ll begin to piece together some of the interesting tales that surround you. As a writer, I’m always watching and listening, and sometimes I even contribute — but mostly I ask questions and listen to the answers, filing things away to form a more complete picture of the world.

Accept the consequences for your actions. Good and bad. (I have a harder time accepting praise than accepting my failures. That’s still a challenge.)

But guess what? You’re going to screw up. I screw up all the time, but I also try to fix it. And sometimes trying to fix it makes it worse, but at least you’re acknowledging the issue in the first place. Some things can’t be fixed. That’s a hard truth. And the price for screwing up may be huge. But the price for hiding, running, or ignoring the consequences ALSO has consequences, so get ahead of it if you can.

Along those same lines, tell the truth as best you can. You may want to spare someone’s feelings from facts that may be difficult to accept, but if you remember to be kind, truth is its own kindness. Because lies, like screw-ups, have consequences. And just from a practical standpoint, it’s easier to remember one story than to make up and try to remember a bunch of lies.  (BTW, telling the truth goes doubly for yourself. Lying to yourself is never a good option.)

Karma’s a bitch. Sorry Karma. Ultimately I believe that you reap what you sow, so pay the consequences as quickly as possible or they may gather interest and spiral even further out of control. Build a life on a bed of lies and I think you’ll pay for it in the end. Be good and kind to yourself and others and hopefully that comes back in unexpected ways down the line.

Through it all, remember to take time for yourself and be kind to yourself. This is a hard one for me because I try to do what I can for those I love, usually at my own expense. It feels selfish to do otherwise, but if you don’t do it, you will find that your well of energy to help others may hit bottom.

Finally…

In a perfect world, we would all work together. I would help you. You would help me. We would find fulfilling tasks to fill our time doing things we were passionate about and care deeply for.

Ours is not a perfect world. We can’t change that. But we can control our own actions and serve as good examples for others to follow, hoping that we become the change we want to see in the world.

We are not perfect. Our world is not perfect. And we are stronger for the differences and flaws we have as a community. But if we are kind to one another, try to do the right thing, and remember to be kind to ourselves along the way, we’d go a long way towards making it a better world to live in, imperfections and all. 

Peace.

Positivity and a Negative Mind

There’s a weird dichotomy when I look at the world from my point of view. I’m not the most positive guy in the world, really, but I find myself trying to help others look at the bright side of things more often than not. And it seems that perhaps that approach has rewired my brain a bit over the last few years.

But what do I mean by that? Let’s start with a baseline.

A Few Things About Me

If you talk to my family, they’ll tell you a few things about me.

Change is Hard

First, I don’t like change. As a result, they often had to give me advance warning (at least 15-30 minutes) before it was time to go anywhere, especially when I was doing something like reading and lost in my own head. If you try and change plans at the last minute, I get very cranky.

Second, I don’t like confrontation and will go to ludicrous extremes to avoid it. I think this goes back to my issues with change.

That said, if you do something to harm my family or friends, I can be a bull in a china shop. I may avoid confrontation, but I will maul you like a bear if you do anything to mess with my family. And family goes much deeper than blood.

Third, I don’t like interacting with people I don’t know. Or people in general. I love interacting with individuals or even small groups, but crowds are exhausting. And even dealing with people on the phone is exhausting.

If I can text you, e-mail you, or send you a chat message via Facebook or some other site, I’m there. It gives me a chance to consider my words.

The Changes

Over the last 17 years, I’ve had one very large factor for change in my life. My wife. She’s a force of nature and very impulsive. My resistance to change has been worn down out of necessity. She’s been good for me in that respect.

Having children has also forced me to deal with most of those issues I deal with all the time. Sometimes I just have to get out of my comfort zone and deal with things I don’t want to. And that’s been good for me as well.

And then there’s CrossFit, which has given me a ton more confidence in my own abilities.

I still don’t like change, confrontation, or people, but I think overall I’ve improved by leaps and bounds over where I was before I was married and had kids.

It used to be that the world conspired against me and I’d get angry about it. I had a picture in my head of how things were going to go, and they rarely went that way, which would make me less and less willing to make plans in the future.

Now, if I have a little time to get my mind right, I can leave enough room for change to not throw me off as badly. I still have to prep for it, but if I know that we don’t have a set plan and we just figure things out as we go.

But where does the positivity come in?

Helping Others

I listen and I watch. Pretty much I’m a passive observer in much of my own life. And when people talk to me, sometimes I have advice. Sometimes I don’t and the mere act of listening is enough. But usually I can make a suggestion or relate something I’ve experienced, read, or heard, and I have hope that sometimes that makes things better. I try to help when I can, even if it’s just offering encouragement.

That said, with CrossFit I have begun working on myself. I feel like until I started CrossFit, I was locked into the physical awkwardness of a 12-year old boy. Over the last 4 years, I’ve at least progressed to maybe age 13 or 14. 🙂 But I have plenty left to work on. It’s like relearning how to do the most basic things all over again, and it’s deeply humbling.

And I hope that my work ethic serves as an example to others. If I can do some of this stuff as an awkward, out of shape, 40 something, geek, then anybody can. I’m still amazed when I do simple things like kick up on the wall and do a handstand push-up. Who have I become? Or, better yet, who am I becoming?

Heck if I know, but I’m enjoying the ride — and that in and of itself is amazing to me.

Helping Myself

Beyond that, I find myself approaching the world with a cautious optimism and trying to accept things as they come. I can only control one thing – me. That has to be enough.

These days if I need something done, I try to take the time to do it while I’m thinking about it. That avoids any awkwardness with asking someone else to do it only to have them forget. Doing it gets it out of the way.

That doesn’t mean I don’t still procrastinate or put things off indefinitely. But that’s not on anybody else but me.

And because I’ve helped others, some of those folks are now helping me by offering encouragement and advice. Sometimes I even accept it. 🙂

Conclusions?

Quite honestly, 2016 was a pretty good year for me and I hope that 2017 continues the trend.

It’s taken a long time to get to the point where I can try treating myself as well as I treat others. Accepting my faults is a big part of that because it means I can address them better.

Now we just work on everything a day at a time.

© 2017 Words in My Head

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑