Accepting the Worst…

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Anyone who knows me knows a few things about me.

  • I am worrier; the compulsive type.
  • I am a man of action, I have to be doing something.

These two things seem contrary and they are.  That’s kind of the point.  I worry about a great many things.

When I was a little kid I would worry about my older brothers wandering off in the store and getting taken.  I had nightmares about my family being in danger.  This was like when I was four.

I became paralyzed with worry for the first time when I learned my Dad was going to die.  I was seven and my mom told us that he’s sick and he’s not going to be getting better.  I went to the backyard of my grandmother’s house and sat in a tree and cried.

I was worried.

I remembering telling myself, “This is it.  This is how people become homeless.  No one is born homeless, this is how it happens.”  I was also obsessed with the fact that I now would only have one parent.  If anything happened to my mom I would have to live with my aunt who I did not get along with.  It would mean moving away too.

My life was over.  In that moment our house was gone and my mother was dead along with my dad.  The worst case scenario played out in my head.

I remember feel like I couldn’t do anything.  I felt compelled to try but couldn’t.  I racked my brain for hours, days, weeks, and months.  I had to do something.  I accepted the worst circumstances as realty and decided to prepare myself for them.  I started to discipline myself, read more, and become more self-reliant.

As a result, to this day I am more self-reliant than any of my brothers.  I know how to fix things, reason things out, take care of myself, improve myself and be self-reliant.

Do I worry less?  No.  Not even a little.  Possibly more.

There are things you can change.  This whole blog is all about being your best yourselves.  Sometimes acceptance of a limitation is the first step finding your best self.

You can change how you act.  You can change how you respond.  But deep down…

I will always worry.  Again, compulsively.

BUT it doesn’t stop me.

At the next lowest part of my life I was out of shape, newly divorced, fresh out of foreclosure, deep in debt, and living in a rented room at a friend’s house.

I had plenty to worry about.

And I did.

But it didn’t stop there.  I had to act.  Act or die, literally.

I accepted the worst scenarios of circumstances as realty and started again.

 

I decided who I wanted to be.

I decided what I needed to do.

I decided who I wanted to be with.

 

A lot of people say that worry is like a weight that wears you down.  Their advice is take it off and put it down.  I wish it were so easy.  It sounds like a fairy tale to me sometimes.

You look at people drowning in debt and unable to stop.  You look at people dying from eating and can’t stop.  They constantly break down and cry (it’s all very TV/Facebook friendly).  Why can’t they just put down there worry?  Because they fucking can’t!

You can’t just stop having your problems.  You just can’t stop worrying.  It doesn’t work like that.  You need to own it.  Harder yet, accept it.  Its not going anywhere.

 

My advice, for those who find themselves like me, is learn to lift it.  Learn to be stronger.

 

It will bend you, but it won’t break you.

It’s heavy, get stronger.

Learn to rest, but only when it’s earned.

 

There is no magic formula to stop worrying.  You just learn to be stronger.  That’s it.

No pretty pictures.  No inspirational quotes.  You will fail.  Let me make that clear.

You will fail.

You will fall.

You will have bad days… weeks… months…  but you will get stronger.  Do the work and you will get stronger.  Head down, shoulder in, be savage.

It will hurt.  Listen, that’s life!

When you are worried, and you feel paralyzed, face it.  Accept the realistic worst case scenario as fact.  Acknowledge the world has not ended and do something.

You are in debt.  You will have to pay it off.  It will take years.  It is going to hurt.  Accept it.

Do your budget.  Cut deep.  Get it done.

You got dumped.  You are alone.  What was your fault and what was there?  It hurts.  It won’t kill you.  You will move on because you have to.

Decided who you want to be and who you what to be with.  Do what you need to do.  Accept what you need to accept.

You are sick and out of shape.  You can’t fucking eat like that anymore.  You have to exercise.

Find an exercise you like and do it.  No excuses.  No being tired from work.  No being stressed.

You are tired and stressed because you didn’t exercise.  Face it.  No one made you this way but you.

You don’t like your condition, where and how you live.  What are you going to do about it?

 

Finally…

 

You are not wrong for worrying.  Stop beating yourself up about it.

You are entitled to your worry as long as you earn it.  If you are a fucking dynamo of improvement, work, and self-reliance then you are entitled to worry about whatever you want.  You are entitled to your worry, your happiness, and the life you make for yourself.

Did you do something today about what you worry about?  Then you earned it.

 

Worry won’t stop you.  Keep going.  You will be stronger.

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How to treat a Man… 

 

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Right now in the world there is a lot of talk against men.  The very thought of this article is probably going to be met by many with a “Fuck em… they need to learn what it’s like to be on the shit side of life for a while!”  If that is your response that so be it.  It is natural to want to attack those who have attacked you.

If you are a woman whose been “kept down” (even if it is really a creation in your mind) by men then you see all men as the enemy.  Ok, you choose that relationship with men.  You choose to make an adversary of half the population, and namely the other half of the human identity.  It’s a bold move let me know how that works out for you.

For those of you that don’t want to have an enemy in 50% of the world’s population here is a guide to helping some of the men in your life navigate the negativity in their world and to be their best selves.

 

Your father…

Forgive him.  You won’t understand his role in your life until you are him if ever.  Could he have done better, probably.  If you are a grown adult (which if you are not stop reading, this site is not for you) then accept he did what he did.  It may not have done his best but there is no changing it.  If you are angry at him you are just hurting yourself.  Distance sure… but forgive.

If none of the above apply, and you had a great time even some of the time.  Show him gratitude.  He’s been freaking out for years that you are screwed up and it’s his fault.  You can take the weight off the shoulders of someone who loves you to just let him know, “I got this.  Thank you for getting me this far.”  Gratitude is other side of forgiveness.  It sets you free.

 

Your brother…

Understand him.  You can think things were different for him than you.  Being a guy… yeah they were.  But look, nothing is easy for anyone.  He dealt with rejection in a way you don’t understand.  He dealt with every bit of identity and personality issues you did.  Just different.  He probably didn’t arrive where he is now without some damage, just like you.  If you want to talk difference, well he can’t show it.  He might not even be able to acknowledge it.  If he didn’t have an example of what being a man is today then he may be lost, confused, angry, or all of the above.  Be patient with him and encourage him.  If nothing else be a good part of his life so he knows where the peace is when he needs it.

 

Your lover…

Help him.  Really.  Tell him you love and support him.  Show him you love and support him.  Never take him for granted.  Help him be his best self.  Above all, don’t be difficult.  Be an active partner.  It’s not just you that likes romantic gestures, flowers, and candy.  When was the last time you got him a gift?  A comic book at the grocery store… candy… a toy… anything?  So many women don’t but at the same time expect flowers and surprises.  It’s not fair.  Guys accept that, but it still sucks.  You may never know the stress of having to be leader in a relationship, it can be the source of his greatest strength and his greatest stress all at once.  Help him.  Whenever possible don’t be difficult, pick a restaurant, plan a date, do something different for him.  The biggest thing you can offer is your affection.  Simply put, guys love to chase you… if you love him be easier to catch.  Treat him like he is the best man in your life and he will rise to that occasion.

 

Everyone else…

Be at peace with them.  Trust me, I know you need to be or at least appear strong to get by in the world.  Instead of treating everyone like the enemy and letting hate into your life, live by this principle, “Make savage the body, Civilize the mind.”  Be ready for an enemy, but have your mind ready to accept dialogue and make peace.  Think over the events of the last few days.

My principle are…

To be at peace with myself and the world.

To be ready for war with myself and world.

To be my best self and help all those would want help to be their best selves.

 

I hope you share these principle with me.  The events of the last few days are not the actions of those who are at peace with themselves.  They are the actions of the scared, the hurt, and angry.  While that is understandable it is not a place of peace with one’s self and therefore is a poor place to go to war from.

Be at peace with yourselves ladies.  Work to be at peace with the world around you.  Prepare for war, but seek peace.

Why Something Rather than Nothing?

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So this is a topic that I’ve been reluctant to write about for some time.

When I started this little project I wrote some basic relationship advice that basically just comes from making to my age and interacting with other people.  I always felt that nothing I think much less write is really unique; no deep secrets here.  That being said it appears that some people out there (guys I imagine most but if you are of the female persuasion and find some value here good on you) need a mental exercise to help them out.

So let’s get started.

It seems so fundamental but it’s the best place to start and end.

When I studied in college I took a philosophy course or two.  They were helpful in organizing my thoughts and developing the cold analytical machine you are reading here.  One of my particularly wizened professors once told the class that his ultimate question was “Why something rather than nothing?”  Whether you believe in nothing, something, or any combination there in you must admit that the universe (i.e. reality) exists.  Was there a point that it didn’t?  Don’t get caught up on whether everything exists because of an old man in white robe or random chemicals doing random things.  Think past that and ask yourself not how but why does everything exist?

Right about not you are asking, “What the absolute fuck does this have to do with relationships?”

Well, it’s simple really.  Often times relationships become our world and we get so caught up on the HOW we forget the WHY.

 

How do I make them happy?

How do I find time for them?

How do I pay the bills to get them what they want?

How do I do everything they need me to do?

 

It is important, perhaps the most important thing, to ask yourself throughout and regularly…

 

Why am I with them?

Why do they make me happy?

Why do I make them happy?

Why am I not alone?

Why are they not just a friend?

 

So instead of asking “How do I make this work?” dare to ask the harder question, “Why should I make this work?”

Often times we (guys especially) end up focusing on the doing.  We are task orientated creatures.  However, tasks without purpose can be very bad for you.

You would not run daily to prepare for a weight lifting completion and you would not lift weights to prepare for a marathon.

 

Why are you in the most all-consuming relationship of your life?

 

If you answers read

 

Because they said yes…

Because they need me…

Because I’ll be a bad person if I don’t want this…

Because I don’t know what else to do…

 

You deserve better.

Fundamentally, you are an aberration in existence.  You are a unique person among nearly 7 Billion today, much less the Billions throughout human history.  There has been and only will be one you.  This is your story and if you are spending the best chapters on reason like the ones above I tell you that you can do better.  Doing nothing is better than doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons.

 

Worse, it’s selfish.

 

They are every bit as unique as you.  Instead of letting them live up to their potential (which may be a painful thing) you are crippling them by making them use the crutch that is your relationship.  They will never grow and heal if you keep carrying them.  You are holding them back because you don’t know what else to do.  Go through the pain of letting them go through the pain.

 

So, right about now you are pretty bummed and asking “Well then what are the right reasons?”

This is not a comprehensive list but here we go…

 

Because I am truly the best version of myself when I am with them…

Because they inspire, not shame or trick, me to do more…

Because they believe in me and when they believe in me I believe in me…

Because I know when things go bad they help me up and not put me down…

 

You only get one trip through life.  Be the best version of yourself.

The work you dedicate your life to should have meaning.

The people in your life should be better for having known you.

The person you make your partner should make you better.

 

Money, jobs, houses, things…  If you leave this world having spent your life on someone who does not make it better you are wasting the one thing you will never have more of… time.  So ask yourself…  Why?

The Problem with Being the Hard Edge

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This is going to be a bit on the philosophical side so bear with me.

 

At a fundamental level all life is movement.  At the basest levels you heat exchanges and chemical reactions all the way up to body movement and social movements then onto the cosmic movements of the universe.

All life can be summed up as movement from point another.  So with everything moving you are bound to have collisions.

In these collisions the bodies in motion change, they react to collision.  They will change direction or shape.

As you improve your mindset and your life you will begin to move in a clear direction, with purpose and intent.  Some will follow or emulate your actions and follow the path you cutting through the universe.  I follow from people who have gone before and try to emulate their path when it goes in the same direction to my own.  It’s natural in the strictest sense.

Others will attempt to derail your progress as you set forth goals and standards, particularly if they fall outside of those standards.  For the most part there is a collision and you go your way and they go theirs.  But every once in a while you encounter a person that requires you to be what I call a hard edge.

You have set your standards and your plans to get to where you want to go and there will be someone in your life that wants to get there but wants to do it outside your standards and your goals.  They will not simply collide and go away they will push, they will pull, and they will cut against you.

You will need to be the hard edge they fall against as you make your way to your goals.

This is not simple, there is a problem with being the hard edge.  It hurts.  It dulls you.  It slows you down.

You will question yourself.  You will lose sight of the goal ahead and with it motivation.

As much as conflict can make you strong, it can also tear you down if you are not properly honed.

Being intellectually honest with yourself is key to staying the hard edge against the pull of other people.  To stay honed ask yourself these questions and answer them as honestly as possible.

 

  • Are you doing the right thing to the best of your ability?
  • Are you trying to accomplish something that is good /purposeful for you or others?
  • What is their motivation?

 

If you can say that you are giving your best effort to do your best work then do not worry.

If you can say that you trying to accomplish something of meaning that will help yourself and/or others then do not worry.

If you can examine their motivations and find them to be less than pure do not worry.

 

Be the hard edge.

 

 

 

How to Enjoy Something Despite Other People

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I had a recent bad experience sharing something that I love and have dedicated a large amount of time to with other people.  It was a good feeling to share with other people something we had in common and everyone had shared energy for.  People have a way of magnifying things when it comes to enjoying things.  The problem (or paradox) is that the effect works the other way as well.

I am not talking about when people don’t share something you enjoy.  If you are into an obscure genre of Japanese Anime starring chipmunks vs. octopi then you know that you are going to be in a small group of fans.  If you are a rabid fan of ancient Tibetan yak haired instrumentals then you are most likely not going to be fighting for front rows seats at the next concert (if you can find one!).  There is a small comfort that can be found in being in an elite group of people of a fandom.

I am talking about when people’s shared passion stifles you.  It affects everyone.

 

You like Batman?  You don’t know who Bill Finger is and celebrate his birthday?  Then you are not a “real” Batman fan.  Poser!

 

You like football?  Who was the most intercepted QB of 1986?  Don’t know?  Take your jersey off and throw it in the fire you ass.

 

This can be especially painful when it’s an active thing you enjoy; something that takes your time and energy like learning a sport or any kind of skill.  Its inherent in the nature of people that if you had to work for something that you want to put barriers to entry up for others.  We all want to be “elite” and the easiest way to do that is exclude others.  The hard way is to work hard and be the best, but most people are like “Fuck that!” because they may not actually be that good and it means hard work to find out.  So instead it’s easier to make up trivial shit to keep you out of their club.

 

So, what do you do?  Refuse to enjoy anything? How can you really enjoy something while at the same time defending your right to enjoy it as much or as little or any way you want to?

It’s like trying to hug a puppy while being poked with a shit covered stick.

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So do you stop hugging the puppy?

Do you learn to ignore the stick?

Both of these ideas are terrible.  No one wants to stop hugging a puppy and learning to ignore the bad acts of others is never a true solution.

So here’s my two cents boys and girls.

 

Learn to dodge the stick.

 

Upfront I will tell you this sucks as a solution.  You are going to have to putting energy into learning to handle the bad acts of others just so you can hug your puppy.  It puts the burden on victim.  It sucks.  However, that’s life.  You will never stop “bullying” or just general asshole-ry.  You need to learn to defend yourself or you will never enjoy your puppy.  Note:  thisis not the same as ignoring the stick, this is actively  engaging it and make sure it can’t hurt you.  This also doesn’t mean just toughing up so that it doesn’t hurt when it hits.  This truly not letting it hurt you because it doesn’t get into your mindset.

Change your mindset to see those people as the obsessive pricks they are.

No I don’t know the exact issue that Superman first kissed Lois Lane, but it’s because I’m awesome and spent time enjoying Superman rather than reducing him to trivia.

Dodge.

No I don’t know the leading wide receiver from 1974, but it’s because I was enjoying the game with friends and family who don’t quiz me to be their friends.

Feint.

No I can’t scale a 14” wall and then do a handstand.  But I am closer than I was yesterday and when I can I won’t be an asshat about it, I’ll help others.

Super Deluxe Dodge.

 

Most things in life come back to that first primal act, fighting.  When these super elites assholes “attack” you can go blow for blow with them but that’s not a way to fight smart.  Dodge, feint, and counter are always going to win out…  And you don’t have to put your puppy down.

Remember Life Tip #3:  You do not have to be around people you don’t like

Conflict and Desire

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A lesson to live by:  All conflict is result of denied desire.

Conflict is almost always manifested as “I want something someone else has.”

It could be their candy, their time, their affection, their money, their status, their friends, their mate, their stuff, their life, on and on…

 

You could take it.  That would be an external conflict.

You could suffer without it.  That would an internal conflict.

You could work/change to have what they have.  That would be a personal conflict.

 

Denying a desire creates conflict.  Let’s step out of the ethereal and get into the practical.

 

Work conflict.

 

I want these people to proper fill out their forms.  I desire their attention.  I desire their concern to do what I want.  Ultimately, I want to get things done and I can’t because of this.

 

If you start to look at conflict in its base element you can begin to address it in the most effective way.

Ask yourself, “How do I get what I desire?”

 

Successfully resolved conflict is not hurting the other person as you were hurt, that doesn’t get you what you want.  When you do that you are making a false equivalence.  You hurt me… so I hurt you until you stop hurting me.  This feels right because it appeals to the most primal part of conflict, external or physical.  The problem is that it doesn’t translate past physical threats.

Going back to our example:  If these people won’t fill out their forms correctly and so you stop helping them then ultimately nothing gets done.  That is opposite of your ultimate desire, to get things done!

So how do you get what you want?

You need to get them to what you want… your ultimate desire.  You need them to want to get things done as much you do.  If they want it as much as you do ten there will be no conflict as you are all committed to common goal of getting things done.  That single purpose drives all interactions and sets the rules for the relationship.

The conflict is resolved only when the denied desire is fulfilled or abandoned.

 

Personal Conflict

 

I desire to have this kind of relationship with that person.

If they desire that same kind of relationship then there is no conflict.

If they do not desire that same kind of relationship then there is conflict.

 

It is that simple.  It really is.

 

Example: I want my family to treat me a certain way.  When they don’t I feel bad, angry, or stressed and I want to feel calm and accepted.  Ultimately, I want to feel happy.

 

This comes down to a matter of choices.

 

The people in your life will choose to treat you how you want to be treated.

When they treat you want to be treated you happy and your Ultimate desire is to be happy.

You want someone to treat as a lover, a friend, a brother, sister, son or daughter… whatever it is.  You have an idea of what that looks like and you desire them to conform to it.

 

That is their choice.  To treat you the way you desire or not.

 

Your choice is to accept it or not.  You cannot resolve the conflict by hurting them like they hurt you.  Again, this is primal our usually our first response.

 

You desire your relationship to conform to your ideas of what it should be and to the degree it does is the degree that the relationship exists.

 

HOWEVER!  This puts two responsibilities on you.  (Pay attention here kiddos!)

 

  • You must know and communicate your desires. If you are vague or unsure of what you want then you are the cause of the conflict.
  • You must be willing to confront the conflict. If you desire one thing but tolerate a lesser because you fear or have no desire for conflict then you are actually making the choice to accept relationship as is and are not entitled your desires.

 

That being said… conflict is not bad boys and girls.  Conflict is your desires and your willingness to go after them.  The conflict is no worse than your desires are.  If your desires are valid then so the conflict should be worth it.  Count the cost and know exactly what you are in conflict for.

When is it Wisdom to Fail?

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Failure is hard thing to accept.

Inherent to the concept of failure is “being not good enough” and many people have a hard time admitting that.  In a world where people are being forced into equality more and more, Failure is the great equalizer.  You can hand out participation trophies all day, you can bail out businesses until there is no more money, and you lower every standard possible…  but someone will always have a natural talent to hit faster, harder, and better.

Pretend that everyone is equal, but you are doing just that, pretending.  It will never be true.

So, when is it wisdom to accept that you are not good enough.

I admit it all the time.

There are sports I’m not good at.  There are video games I hate because I am terrible at them.  I can’t singe or keep rhythm on an instrument.

Failure.

Failure.

Failure.

It is easy when the task at hand doesn’t matter.

But what about when it does?

What about a sport you are good at but someone is better?

What about a job that you need to be able to do to pay your bills?

What about a relationship that should be right just can’t work out?

 

My First Failure

 

The first time I really failed was at a tournament.  I trained all year to go to my first open tournament.  I got my friends, teammates, and even my new wife to come.  I never let my girlfriends come to my tournaments so as my wife this was a big deal.  I had just gotten my second degree black belt and I wanted to win in front of all of them.

I went to a traditional karate school and while we weren’t wusses we didn’t fight full contact.  We had a strict sense of respect and safety.

My match comes up and my opponent is out for blood.  He was out of control and looking to hurt me.  I pleaded with the rep that he was out of control and was chided for being too soft.  I threw the rest of the match.  I defended everything and ran down the clock.

I was not prepared for blood sport and I didn’t want to win if it meant doing that kind of damage to someone.  (I later started MMA and got over this in the proper context)

I was eliminated in the first round.  I failed.  I was a failure.  In front of everybody.  Months of hard work were washed away.

After my match I went and found the promoter.  I was pissed and rug him back to the ring just in time to see my opponents next round up.  As we argued at ringside about safety and honor my former opponent kicked his current victim in the back of the head so hard he got knocked out and fell face first to the gym floor.  His eye socket orbital bones thing shattered.  His face became a curtain of blood and his eyeball fell behind his cheek.

He was seriously fucked up and probably in a permanent way.

I turned to promoter and told him to enjoy his law suit and walked away.

I was still pissed about the whole thing and going over it with my coach later.

He told me after I left that Both those fighters were disqualified and the ring was shut down after that.  Technically speaking even with a loss I was the only competitor to fight “successfully” in my division and was given 1st place.  He, rightly so, declined on my behalf.  He told me I won through having the wisdom of when to lose.

 

 When It Is Wise to Fail

 

Time and again in my life I’ve had to be wise enough to accept failure.

 

For the sake of my faith I had to walk away from the church.

For the sake of my sanity and pride I had to walk from a terrible job after five years.

For the sake of my happiness I had to let my wife and marriage go.

For sake of her happiness I had to let the next woman I loved go.

Each of these can be called, and rightly so, a failure.

 

However, you consider the alternative.

 

Giving up on my faith, my spirituality, the best parts of me for a job of words and stone but not spirit.

To try again and again to do the right thing only to drowned out in a chorus of what’s easy, cheap, or we can get away with.

To give up my identity, myself, and my soul to stay in marriage that had lost all meaning.

To force a woman who couldn’t “make it work” to be someone she can’t be while making me into the same monster from my first marriage.

Avoiding each of these can be called, and rightly so, a success.

Wisdom is about perspective, not spin, knowing when failure is actually success and success is really a sad failure.