On my moms’ refrigerator, there is a quote. My older sister put it there many years ago and it stayed. Every time I visit my parents and open the refrigerator, I read it. It says:
“When you get angry, you punish yourself for other people’s stupidity”
I remember myself being very angry as a kid (surprisingly, this was before my teen years). Life just did not work the way I wanted it to work – people did not behave the way I expected them and my actions did not get me where I wanted to be. Life pretty much sucked (I hope it is OK to say “sucked” in a post, because it explains how I felt perfectly).
It took me a while to understand what this quote meant, but when I did, a huge, heavy load came off my young shoulders. Realizing that anger was a poison I was carrying with me was a big revelation – scary, but very relieving. My life has been much happier since.
In our time, pressure seems to be everywhere. There is a wealth of information like never before, which means we could find out about anything we wanted, only this takes time, so we look for “drip feeds” that will give us up-to-the-minute updates and we assume our sources do a reasonable job at finding and telling things as they are.
Reality is a bit different, unfortunately. Most of our information feeds are controlled by a fairly small group of huge profit-driven conglomerates, which make their money by selling. To sell well, they need people to “see red”, so they inspire fear via TV news broadcasts, bold newspaper headlines and various other methods.
The result of this is the general view that violent crime is everywhere, that different people cannot live together in harmony and that all too often, the only way to sort things out is to wage war on another ethnic group or country, even at the cost of “friendly” life.
Picture yourself sitting in an old cinema all by yourself, watching a movie. Turn your head towards the back wall and see there a big window. Behind the window, there is a projection machine. In that machine, a long, wide film is running, a film you have created.
A strong light travels through the film towards the screen. You can see the beam of light getting wider as it travels through the air, showing flickers of colors and movement inside it. Follow the beam of light with your eyes as it keeps on going and getting wider, until you are facing forward and looking at a huge screen, which practically fills your entire fields of vision.
As you look, you become absorbed in the movie, finding yourself emotionally attached to some of the characters, fearing some of the others, hating a few and getting carried away with the story.
Real life is very much the same. We become absorbed in our own story, which we project onto the world. When we interact with other people, we each look at our own “film” and can get into all kinds of trouble.
You know, lots of people follow trends. So much so that trendy gadgets, fashion, language and behavior are no longer questioned by many. They are simply followed, as if they were some force of nature. This video blew my mind when I saw it. It demonstrates in a symbolic way what each and every one of us should be doing in order to reverse some of the bad trends in our society and create a better environment for everybody. Which way do you read the script of your life?
“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us” – Jane Austen
The world is full of different people, with whom we have relationships of varying closeness and intimacy. More often than not, we find ourselves in conversation with someone wanting to say something, but saying something completely different, because saying what we think would produce the wrong results. This even happens with our partner sometimes, not to mention the kids.
Absolutely everybody receives some criticism in life. Some of us have the misfortune of growing up with critical parents, while others bump into their first critic at school, but we all have to face criticism at some point, right?
It’s looking around the world, at what is happening with starving people and violence, which makes me feel small and helpless sometimes. I can remember thinking about it ever since I was 15 years old, like Atlas, carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. I wrote poetry, listened to Joan Baez and wrote John Lennon’s words of “Imagine” on my notebooks.
The thing with beliefs is that we make decisions based on them. So you might expect people to confirm their beliefs and validate them before using them to decide what to do, especially in matters of importance. Well, as scary as this may seem, they don’t. Oh, and neither do you.