Life & Times: March 4, 2017
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” -Galatians 5:22-23
That is a message that I saw at the right time today, on Tuesday, April 4th, 2017. I am still (years later after I initially started jotting down my feelings) going through this rigmarole of being impatient, jealous, sad, angry, frustrated, and dissatisfied with the life I have been blessed with. While I know that I should be grateful for the health, strength, and opportunities that I am given with each new day, I haven’t quite been able to shake the feelings of insecurities, self-loathing, inadequacy, and jealousy. I am currently reading ‘The Book of Joy’ by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In the book, the Dalai Lama makes some very good points as to why people are suffering. To summarize, the Dalai Lama believes that we suffer because we have no self-control over our feelings. He goes on to say that we suffer because we are self-obsessed, selfish, and lack compassion. In reading this book, I am starting to have quiet introspection. I am beginning re-evaluate what it is that causes me to feel the negatives emotion that I often feel and starting to ask myself “what will you do to change these patterns?”
Here’s a [lengthy] list of some things that cause me ‘suffering’:
(1) comparing my life to others (2) being dissatisfied with my physical appearance, i.e. weight, scars/blemishes, hair, fashion (3) failed situationships with men (4) longing for a partner (5) prolonged and/or draining friendships (6) career uncertainty (7) lack of long-term goals (8) feelings of inadequacy (9) fear of never reaching my full potential (10) worry about starting a family.
I feel that therapy can be a great help for reflection and reframing thoughts. However, I also feel that if I know that talking these things through and changing the narrative can benefit me, why don’t I just go see a therapist? That sounds like the most reasonable answer. But at the same time, why spend money on professional help when I know the answer to my own questions (most of the time)? I can reason with what the Dalai Lama is saying. I need to stop making everything about me and how much of a fuck-up I can be or have potential to be. Instead, I need to look at the glass as half-full, rather than half-empty. The Dalai Lama gives an example of when he realized that compassion prevails over suffering. He recalled a time when he was preparing to teach an important Buddhist lesson, but was overtaken by a shocking pain in his abdomen. The ride to the hospital was 2 hours away, and on that ride, he saw an old man with matted hair, unsuitable clothing, and who seemed to be ill of malnutrition. The Dalai Lama recounted that for the remainder of the trip, the memory of the old man didn’t leave him and because of it, he had forgotten all about his own abdomen pain (a gallbladder issue).
In the memories where I’m feeling shitty about myself, I need to get up and get a grip. While I do know that there are adversities out there in the world, sometimes I become too consumed about what ‘I feel’ I am lacking to the point of near depression. Like the Dalai Lama says, we have more control over our suffering than we think we do. There are things I want to accomplish that will make me feel a lot more confident in myself. I am the sole person preventing myself from achieving these goals. I’d like to pass my LMSW exam (for real), learn better photography (and possibly videography), and give back more to women/children in third-world countries. I want to travel the world much more and receive resources to do so. People always say the sky's the limit and my negative thinking has had me feeling that these people are all dreamers, but day after day, I hear stories of people that had nothing and they persevered. I have more than a basis to start me off in the world, so it’s totally up to me to make a move on accomplishing what I want out of life. It all begins with me: love, contentment, joy, happiness, inspiration, success, compassion.
So here’s to grabbing myself by the bootstraps and going for whatever it is I want from life! Here’s to more living, more love, more compassion.