the most destructive thing I have ever done
“The most destructive thing I’ve ever done was believe someone else’s opinion of me.”
Teal Blue Jay
“I think it’s intoxicating when somebody is so unapologetically who they are.”
“I have sometimes sat alone here of an evening, listening, until I have made the echoes out to be the echoes of all the footsteps that are coming by and by into our lives.”
A Tale of Two Cities
The game of “self” may be the most difficult, challenging, game one ever plays.
And, yeah, it is an “I” sport.
Your “I” wanders around the “we” world and interacts with “them” and gets a humongous amount of feedback from “everyone”, but, ultimately, this particular game really is an “I” sport.
Sifting thru what matters and what is said outside your own head is a tough, full time job. You cannot completely ignore what is being said & thought about you, but you also cannot live solely by what is being said & thought about you.
Well. I am very much a be yourself, be true to thineself, maintain your individuality, look inside rather than without type of guy.
Possibly to a fault.
I am this way probably because most of my youth I was told over and over again who I was supposed to be and how to act and what I was supposed to do <and I did not like it>.
Every once in a while you need to make sure you haven’t become a joke. Because often no one actually tells you that you are a joke, or even tell you the joke, or let you in on the joke.
Ok. That was harsh.
Maybe every once in a while you just need to check in with the rest of the world and see what life looks like through someone else’s eyes just to be sure you are playing your “I” game well.
“Sure you are playing well.”
This implies there are some nice neat rules & standards & milestones you can judge your Life game-playing.
There are not.
And because there aren’t … well … then inevitably you start scanning around for some external feedback.
Here is where it gets real tricky.
Life is playing its game <even if a business or other people are trying to ‘game the system’> and you have to figure out which player you are truly playing against. I am not suggesting you should avoid considering anyone who is actually in the game. Just who is more important than another.
Because you need to ask what is at stake in the real game.
Because the one and only answer is … you.
It is an “I” sport.
“Oh, don’t mind me.
I’m just silently outperforming all of you on my own terms.”
You are the one dodging, bobbing & weaving as you make your way forward. And you are doing all that because the world is a minefield of inconsistency and uncertainty which means you better fucking be able to adapt … or you are screwed.
You have to be able to adapt to and take advantage of changing circumstances.
If I am trying to stay consistent to me <my sense of self> & yet adapt to an ever changing inconsistent world and there really are no established set of measurements to judge oneself against … well … I can 100% guarantee you will end up have to talk to your yourself about yourself a lot.
And, yeah, this means we all have a talk with our self when bad shit happens.
Unfortunately most times we have a talk with ourselves when bad shit has happened, we tend to have a shitty talk with ourself. The shittiness can occur in a variety of creatively destructive ways:
You can blame external ‘forces’ <”not my fault”>.
You can blame yourself <spanning lack of confidence to lack of skills>.
What I will tell you is that when the shit hits the fan you can get a startlingly clear picture of who & what you are. And sometimes it ain’t pretty.
“Some conversations are not about what they’re about.”
And, even worse, sometimes the conversation you have with yourself aren’t the conversations you think they are. What I mean by that is when bad shit happens most of us, in the moment or near the moment, are thinking causally – stimulus response stuff.
At worst our conversation with yourself sounds something like “you stupid shit” <suffice it to say … poor self-esteem is an equal opportunity employer>.
These conversations are sometimes call ‘soul searching.’ I, instead, refer to them as ‘soul wrenching.’ Doubt, fears of being good enough, self-uncertainty … these are the assholes you sometimes have a conversation with when bad shit happens. And, unfortunately, they all went to a debate school and unfortunately they all lie to talk a lot when given the opportunity.
Here is what I have to offer <as someone who has certainly had his share of both bad shit happening and shitty conversation with myself>.
We spend far far <far> too much time in these conversations on comparison.
It is natural … I mean … well … how else can you decide whether you are worth a shit unless you compare yourself to someone who IS worth a shit?
But, frankly, most of our sins are borrowed — just echoes of what is around us. So when bad shit happens the conversation really should be about you and with you.
note: I do believe having good sounding boards, preferably not family, who are fairly good at seeing the forest through the trees is invaluable.
Look. We always think about what we deserve. I imagine I could just suggest here that bad shit happens, you have shitty conversations with yourself and that you should have these conversations with the non shitty aspects within you when it happens, but I kind of think what gets you through shit sometimes needs a little more ‘oomph’ to get you through it.
So I suggest something simple. It’s kind of a mindset. Not any ‘happy hippie shit Secret stuff’ just an attitude that can kind of get you through when bad shit happens as well as when you scan about for answers with regard to how you are doing:
“I didn’t come this far, to only come this far.”
The truth is that distance is relative and progress is almost always assessed by perspective when assessing one’s Life.
Within that perspective you can be guaranteed that bad shit happens in work and in Life.
But … you know what?
It isn’t really about shitty things versus non shitty things.
It isn’t really about judging yourself either through your own eyes or someone else’s eyes.
It is really about the fact “you didn’t get that far just to get that far.”
None of us do.
And sometimes you just have to remember that.
And maybe that is the point of why I used the opening quote “most destructive thing I have ever done was believe someone’s opinion of me.”
External opinions have a nasty habit of destroying destinations. Destinations as in “where I am going.” And the opinions are cleverly destructive in that they not only destroy destinations seen but also those yet to be seen. Opinions actually can destroy roads, highways & paths as to getting father than the ‘far’ you have gotten.
Anyway. Be aware of what people say & think but always, always, keep in mind that all that matters is, well, I did not come this far only to come this far.
note: corollary to “I did not come this far only to come this far” is “just because i have nor reached my destination (objective) doesn’t mean i am nowhere.”
If you do that, everyone else’s opinions just seem to matter a little less.