As I see it, there are really no mistakes in life, but there are miss-takes. You do what you do when you do it because it is who you are at the time. When you know better, you do better. Think of it as an opportunity to do it over.
It has been decades since I was a teenager, but I am a strong visualizer and, when I think of it, I can feel the stifling heat of the heavy knit sweater (that I wore to school every day in June) to cover what I felt were my skinny arms. My skinny arms were a symbol to me that I was less than worthy. Nobody could have told me differently.
I look at teenagers these days, wearing only a t-shirt on bitterly cold days, or wearing a hoodie or knit hat on very hot days, and my heart goes out to them. I wonder who they are trying to please? Who, or what, are they are trying to hide from?
I remember the feeling…
I remember being very impressed with the military and police recruiters that came to our school and presented to us. I thought I may join the military or police after I graduated high school. Looking back, this proves to me how disconnected I was from my true nature. I thought it would give me some form of status, but it would have been pleasing someone else and their version of what was important. It was not for me.
My point is, I was always trying to please everyone except for myself for three reasons:
- Because I was taught that living for myself was selfish and wrong.
- Because I wanted to be important. In the jungle-wasteland that I saw every time I opened my eyes – only the combat warriors survived.
- I felt that my dreams were not valued. An artist didn’t do real work in my world.
I believe that the biggest life-changing miss-take (as in film, a miss-take is simply one that the Director wants to do over, ps you are the Director) is to view our choices as set in stone.
Even huge messes can be cleaned up given enough time, patience, and effort. The true gift of life is that you have time.
Keep in mind that you will make choices based on what you know now. Once the choice is made you will live the consequences of your choices. Cultivate an attitude of introspection and contemplation, but not self-depreciation and self-flagellation. In other words, flaying yourself raw over every little miss-take or miss-step will only make your situation worse and keep you from learning from the experience.
I see 50 and 60 yr old men and women doing this every day and it is sad.
- Living for yourself is the first step in living your best life. Nobody can live your life for you, breathe for you, walk in your shoes. Value your personal autonomy even if your tribe does not. Give yourself respect. Respect is like an oxygen mask on a plane – if you don’t put yours on first you won’t have any for others. Respect without self-respect isn’t respect, it is idolatry.
- Find people who live boldly and live large. Those who understand the difference between a combat soldier and a peaceful spirit warrior can help to guide you. These are the guides who can teach you how to say a firm and respectful No, thanks. This isn’t my gig. Keep your gaze steady and clear, and keep firmly in mind that you are here to pull your own weight. No matter what you have been taught, there are no free rides. If you believe there are, there will come a day when you will feel bitterly disappointed at how your life has turned out. Regret and resentment are bitter pills to swallow every day. I say this because a vast number of us believe that we should be able to rely on others (parents, etc.) to bankroll our dreams. If you have the benefit of support it is wise to express gratitude and rock that opportunity! If you do not have support, carry on, my friend. There are folks who will also teach you how to keep up with them, not rely on others to carry you. In the world of the peaceful spirit warrior, Nobody owes.
- Learn to firmly and peacefully say Yes! to your dreams. This means also saying Yes! to taking personal responsibility for what shows up every time you open your eyes. Make a plan, craft a strategy, and put in the effort to become world-class. Classy. Simply elegant.
The most gargantuan lesson that I have learned from my past is this:
It is always the perfect time to begin again. Rock on!!!
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Check out An Elegant Mind’s Handbook for more deep-dive ideas. And here’s
a gift for you…if you purchase the book, I invite you to contact me on my
website https://www.pauladtozerauthor.com and let me know that you have
purchased it. I will send you SKY MIND, a free guided meditation that I created
to get you in the Contemplative Writing mindset!