My Big Ten

Last week I suddenly sprang awake at 4am and HAD to write.  I began writing a list of 10 self-limiting behaviors I have faced and changed over the past few years.  I scoffed that I felt like Moses receiving the 10 commandments or something, how immediate and necessary it felt... so much so that god woke me up at 4am!  Then I kept it all to myself.  I knew I was supposed to share it, but whatever.  I chickened out.  Then I had a very obvious dream last night that I put on 10 nicotine patches all over my torso and hid them under a shirt.  As I sat there I got ill because the drug was overflowing my system.  I knew it was about those realizations.  So, here are the ten lessons I've learned (among so many) and am still fighting to detox from my mind.  Hopefully, if you're guilty of any of these you will be able to face them and change too.  Or, if you aren't guilty, you will know me better.  I would like everyone who knew me then to know me now.

1. When people disagree with you it's because they do... and they're not wrong.  It's not always because they are ill-informed.  Your point of view isn't the "right" one just because you did a lot of research.  People can perform the same arduous research and form a completely different opinion.  People just have different opinions.  Not everyone will agree with you.  YOU WILL NEVER BE ALWAYS RIGHT!  Usually people just want to talk, not debate or get berated.

2. Just because you do something differently doesn't mean it's the only way or the "right" way.  2+5=7, but so does 4+3 and 6+1 and 7+0 and 4.6+2.4 etc... there are as many ways to get to the right answer as there are people on the planet.  We are all different so we each have different perspectives.  Keep an open mind!!  If your beliefs aren't flexible they may need to change.  Everything we believe should be able to withstand scrutiny and critical thinking.  Fear of scrutiny could mean you're afraid of having to change.  You should be able to at least hear other sides.  Are you afraid of hearing other perspectives?  Do you get angry just thinking about giving the other side respect and listening?  (ref #10).

3. If you find yourself constantly trying to keep up with new information so you always know about everything, you might be doing it because you're terrified of criticism... of being wrong.  Everyone is always wrong in the eyes of another person.  Once you stop being such a critic, you won't be so afraid of your possible critics.

4. Needing to be right all the time is not healthy.  It's exhausting and pointless.  No one can ever be perfect.  Stop trying.  Be your true self, what's "right for you" is what's perfect for you.  Some people will not accept you or they'll disagree.  Some will be mean.  If you're living your truth it's not going to bother you.  You can only really be "right" about yourself.

5. Sarcasm is always negative and passive aggressive.  Do you want to be those things to people?

6. Cynicism is the language spoken by those with little self-love.  It's far easier to find fault in everything around you than to take responsibility for your own happiness or to take action to change something.

7. You are the only thing you can really control and even that is difficult.  How you feel is your responsibility.  Your emotions are yours.  You weren't the one who started the war, or raped yourself, or beat yourself, or cheated, or betrayed you... but, your emotions are yours, not theirs.  You are choosing to let those people or events keep the control and the power they took from you.  You have to allow yourself to forgive and move on or they will keep that power over you forever.  It's your choice to stay miserable and angry or to heal.  Be patient with yourself, but know that it's your responsibility to address this issue (not the wrong-doer).

8.  If you find yourself being negative, always thinking of something bad on the horizon or fearing for your safety that is your problem.  People who are positive aren't naive or wrong.  They're just choosing a perspective that makes them happy.  It's not their fault you are angry or unhappy, it's your problem.

9. Jealousy is poison to everyone, but especially you.  If you cannot be happy for people you love... or even ones you don't, you should probably figure out why.  What are you so afraid of?  What are you jealous or resentful of that you aren't doing?  A lot of times jealousy is caused by our own fears.  We are jealous of people who face those fears and are successful, while we are stuck trapped in fear.  Holding back your true self = no success = jealousy.

10. Anger is like pain in your body, it's telling you where to look to find your problem.  God, god, the universe, the mother, your inner voice, fate... is trying to teach you something.  Pay attention to the anger and find out where it's pointing so you can fix the problem.  Relationships are mirrors.  They show us what we need to learn.

For those of you who knew me back when I was this person I'm sorry for the discomfort.  I've been face to face with people now who are these things and I see how hard it is to be around someone who's always on edge like that.  It's hard being confronted with my old self.  I watch them rant and rave and argue about everything, debate constantly... always right, always negative and cynical.  Constantly criticizing themselves so no one else can.  Just so trapped and fearful and out of control, overflowing with self-loathing and self-hatred.  One of the hardest things in life is to face your old self.  But, it's also one of the most inspiring gifts.  You get to see just how far you've come and renews your faith in others being able to heal.

Thanks to everyone for reading and thanks to everyone who helped teach me these lessons.

"It takes care.  It takes patience and fear and despair to change.  Though you swear to change you can tell if you do". (Into the Woods)


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