The philosopher, and neurologist, Sam Harris once said something along the lines of “pride and guilt, neither have any value for you.”
This resonated with me. Both are feelings that can be seen to lead people to be better, to do the right things. But, overall, they’re just two emotional responses to things that happened in the past. And more times than not, these feelings are based on ego and shame, and are not worth pursuing. Also, pride and guilt were the two most constant states of mind in my life for the last 30 years.
Getting over how I felt about the past has always been a bigger part of my struggle, more so than even the fear of the future when you have MS. I’ve thought about these things a ton, and tried numerous times to embrace mindfulness any way I could. Since my early twenties, and through my time after MS diagnosis, I’ve been able to achieve things professionally, and have spent 60-70% of my time loving life. I also spent the other 30-40% of the time being miserable, feeling alone and desperate for some sort of big sweeping change. I constantly swing through the bipolar-esque high of a promotion, a move, or a new relationship, and then watch it slowly unravel towards miserable depression. I’m sick of this trend.
I think I may have an answer. And it all starts with grudges. Old bosses and coworkers, things with my family, old friends, and old relationships all can bring out anger, resentment, and even hurt my ego immensely.
Holding on to these things can make you feel “better” than others, or even help you move past something that bothers you. Fuck that.
Grudges in my life made me draw lines and take stances that cut people out of my life. They enabled me to tell myself that someone had wronged me, or that I was more right, or such a great guy for still caring about someone that did something that hurt me before.
Again, fuck that.
I am letting go. I am choosing to not be mad at anyone. I firmly believe that free will is a made up concept that doesn’t take into account things like; neurology, behavioral psychology, or evolutionary psychology. So, why am I holding on to feelings (good and bad) from the past?
I don’t know the meaning of life, but I’m sure it’s not “being right” or cutting off people, or judging others, or being “better” than anyone.
I am choosing to enjoy this ride, and to try and do it in a more healthy way than I have in the past. Friends make mistakes, and I’ve made them too, but if I do care about these people, than I have to forgive, forget and judge people on their now and truly experience life.
Does this mean getting walked all over or falling for the same shit again? Nope, but to me it means experiencing the now and experiencing relationships without asking what I’m getting out of it, or wondering where it leads.
Life is too short to not love every minute of it, and life is too meaningful to not want to experience every feeling, moment, and minute for all that they are worth (good or bad).
The last 9 months I was living in Los Angeles, having moved away from the one place I’ve ever felt at home. For 7 months I hated LA, I hated being alone, and I hated what I was feeling every single day. The last two I first got excited about new possibilities, and then was just open to new things and getting to know some of the people I’d met. I made some mistakes, but things moved forward steadily until I officially moved back to the Bay Area, and started the most exciting professional endeavor in my life.
As excited as I am to be back in the bay, see new friends, and move forward professionally, I think I’m also excited to finally use what I learned in a depressive state and to start to make changes in my mentality to move forward.
If you were in my life at some point, there’s a good chance I care about you. I look forward to the next time we talk, as I’ll be doing it from a new starting point. One where no one has to “earn” anything from me, and one where I’m actively trying to listen and learn from you.
Grudges, built up feelings from the past, and slights to your ego do nothing for the future, and the future is defined by what you do in the moment.
Maybe, I’ve started to get this Mindfulness thing down. I’ll find out if so every single moment moving forward.