If you’ve ever given it much thought, you may have come to the realization that it can be difficult to love yourself, what with all those nasty habits and deficiencies everyone from your parents to your bosses have pointed out in billboard-sized letters. Or maybe just being a person in any era is enough to measure yourself against the Jones’ and feel like you’ve come up a few hundred feet short. Whatever your poison, loving thyself is an occupation with a girth measuring right alongside self-preservation (thank you Ani).
The knack of caring for yourself and others might arrive in small handfuls. That’s ok. We all take on maturity a little at a time. Not realizing this little morsel of wisdom upfront may cause utter frustration in those more accustomed to immediate, Olympic achievement. Congrats to you; few others are at your level, engage plentiful amounts of patience while we all catch up.
It can take a while to learn the ins and outs of personhood. I find I am still unsure of myself, and am taken aback when expressing my feelings of “unsure” result in a “yer fine” response from others + a big, hearty slap on the back. I made the mistake of showing my hand at work and was put in my place; we do not show our weaknesses, particularly if you’re in a position of leadership.
Perception is everything (it’s not to me, but statistics being the moldable quantifier, perception is everything to a lot of people).
Steady yourself on a chair, but I see merit in revealing weakness. I see employees of all tenure struggling to ask simple questions, not wanting to be marked with duh in any way yet the room is teeming with people wanting the same question to be answered! So, ask a question once in a while, folks, your career will not end.
Literally, not knowing can ruin your career.
Rising too quickly without enough knowledge base can also ruin your career. In over your head much? It will be a total disaster to attempt to lead people to achieve difficult goals without first establishing your own sense of self. We could be back to loving thyself...
It’s never too early to become a positive mentor or role model, or to reach out to one. You don’t need a spotless life, either. It is better to have taken some wrong turns to know how to explain the right path.
Having the courage to talk about failures may inspire someone to have the confidence to step out into a great, big challenge. How many people take on big challenges without a little confidence? (mmm...none)
Love thy neighbor as thyself.
All of that to round the narcissistic corner and bring it back to me, baby. Yeah, no.
I’m striking out at loving my neighbor, particularly in the realm of forgiveness.
I’m still on the fence on it. Oh, sure, it’ll free you, but it won’t do shit to yank the person who got you all spun up in the first place. Maybe justice is in play here, too. Maybe some of us can’t let go when we know we should.
Let’s face it, sometimes for us, the stakes are high. Some #metoo stuff. It affects male and female, young and old. Stakes are high on needing to figure out forgiveness and the location of the let-go button.
Some Mother Theresa action. I don’t know if she was forgiving but she is generally accepted as being selfless and I think Selflessness is a bordering country to the Nation of Forgiveness.
I promise this is leading somewhere. Please pull up a couple of chairs and a handful of cookies while I digress (again).
I read about an execution in Texas this week for a convenience store robbery that took place 14 years ago resulting in a murder. The family lobbied against the death penalty sentence on behalf of the convicted man who took their husband and father (and provider and probably 50 million other things he was to 1200 other people, such are the ripples of suffering upon us all).
In the convicted man’s final statement he said he knew he loved the family and that they loved him.
Boom! Powerful words!
It yelled at me: this is the transformation taking place when both sides reach out to each other genuinely.
I’m still working through every episode of Ear Hustle. ‘Dirty Water’ covered the tough topic of human trafficking honestly.
It was the first I had ever heard of Restorative Justice. That’s when perpetrators sit down with people who have been victimized by the same kinds of crimes. In this case, it was convicted pimps sitting down with victims of human trafficking. That’s right, hustling people for sex is human trafficking.
Forgiveness was not the purpose of those conversations. It might have been a step along the way for both of them; they came at it with their own levels of self-awareness, their own amount of developed self-care. It may have been as simple as: when you did this, it made someone like me feel like that. A start is a start.
‘No Justice, No Peace’ - 0, ‘Seeking Peace Over Forgiveness’ - (maybe) 1
To me, equating justice and forgiveness to each other is impossible. Laboring for whatever that looks like can waste a lot of precious time. I might want a lot of justice but it doesn’t mean I’m going to get any. What is justice? What is it to make someone feel their wrongness? Just think about the length of that rabbit hole.
While I’m ping-ponging aggressively (or assertively, it’s so hard to peg a woman on either), what is peace?
As it has become clear to us both, I cannot figure out the merits of forgiveness and my enthusiasm for seeking it in any avenue of my history is questionable.
But, I can tell you I know my own brand of peace. It won’t be yours, so I won’t go down that road. You’ll need to go after what settles and calms your mind and - yes, brace yourself for an incoming cliche - your soul.
I keep practicing at summoning my version of peace as it turns out it is needed all the time. Not just on bad days, but with every ebb and flow. There should be 2 fewer classes on economics in college (yes, I could’ve lived without both macro/micro Econ) and add 2 more on higher levels of coping skills. I was practically raised by wolves, so perhaps you faired better and thus reveled in every moment of the supply and demand model. I certainly wish you well, either way.
Until next time...