selfishness – a meditation

 

It is not selfish to live the life you want to live, it is selfish to tell others to live the life you want them to live.

– Oscar Wilde

 

I am often afraid to live my own life. I am afraid of the consequences. I am afraid I will be shown to be wrong. But it is so easy for me to see what others should do in their own lives. I used to think “what bad luck! If only my friend’s problem was mine, I’d know EXACTLY what to do!” I find it quite funny, now, because I see that no matter what “problem” I had, I would have felt overwhelmed by it. The reason for this is because I was so emotionally involved in my own life and the consequences of my actions that it was difficult for me to make the right choices.

Now, that I am in a program of recovery, I have learned other tools with which to address my life rather than my old go-to’s of denial, avoidance, or control. I am able to see now that when I was trying to control others and tell them how to live their lives, I was measuring their choices by the standards and priorities that I want to apply to my own life. Those standards and priorities only have a place in my own decisions since others have their own standards. That is why I try to stay in my hula hoop and try not to give advice but rather give suggestions when asked. Only I am able to make the right choice for myself just as each person is only able to make the right choices for him- or herself.

A meditation for June 11, 2013.

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humanity – a meditation

 

Everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.

It is so easy for me to forget that the people around me are real. I can easily behave in a manner that is so self-centered that I can only focus on my pain and my suffering. Without effort, sometimes, it is hard for me to look at another person and realize that they too have a past, they too are in pain, and that they too are afraid.

I think I developed this behavior because I grew up in a home where control and codependency reigned supreme. I fixated less and less on my part and focused more and more on “getting mine”. That is, I felt that my needs weren’t being met so I lashed out. But it is difficult to be cruel to someone that I see as a person. So I dehumanize them. I turn them into monsters that are attacking me. Then I can justify my own cruel behavior towards them rather than approach the situation with kindness, respect, and compassion both for myself as well as the other person.

Now, in recovery, I know that each person I speak to is a person with their own past, their own scars, and their own fears. Each person I speak is like me – human. They are not monsters, so I can no longer justify being a monster to them.

This sounds like something I do for the other person, but, honestly, seeing others with compassion and respect has done wonders for my own ability to see myself with compassion and respect. I am now able to behave in a way that I can be proud of regardless of what the other person is doing. I can set my boundaries and let go of the outcome.

Today, when I feel myself losing my serenity when interacting with another person, I will take pause and remember that this person, like me, is human. I will remember that and look for my own part in it before I react to their behavior.

A meditation for June 10, 2013.

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