New Year

Adios 2010, aloha 2011! While it’s true that every day is a chance for a new beginning if you’re trying to accomplish some future goal, the advent of a new year usually makes one want to reflect on the events of the previous year and hope for the best looking ahead. This past year was if nothing else, at least interesting. With that said, here’s a brief reminder of what I’ve learned or what was reinforced in 2010:

  • People pick their poisons. What I mean by this is that it’s a fact that you are only ever as miserable as you want to be, and you can’t blame anyone else for your suffering. This flowchart is a perfect visual representation of what I’m trying to communicate here.

  • As a corollary to the above observation, you shouldn’t ever let anyone make you feel guilty for pursuing your own happiness. I know that in my efforts to be true to myself I’ve been guilty of letting others guilt me into believing that I was somehow beholden to them as their singular source of happiness. This is false, and why I now have what I call my “bucket story”*.

  • Whenever someone gives you advice, it’s important to remember that they’re speaking from their own lived experience. Consider if they are indeed someone who is knowledgeable on the subject: if yes heed it, if no discard it.

  • Most people seem to be ignorant of the fact that just because they enjoy being around you, it does not necessarily follow that you enjoy being around them.

  • While I personally believe in non maleficence and live by my version of the golden rule (it’s fairly simple, I treat others as they treat me), not everyone lives by the golden rule of treating others as they would like to be treated. This is not a valid excuse to turn around and be a jerk yourself.

  • Overall, I like people. I want to like everyone I meet, and I want to believe that there is goodness in them even if it’s lying just beneath the surface. However, I am not a complete idiot and know well enough that there are people out there that choose to be unkind at best and I ought to take the high road with them (whether I do or not, well, what can I say? I’m human, too).

  • I care about the suffering of others maybe a little too much, as is evidenced by the fact that I wound up comforting a woman whose husband had left her on new year’s eve. I hope my record shows that I may not always be a good person, but at least I try.

For 2011, my only real goal is I’d like to do more traveling. It’s a big world, and there are sights to be seen and experiences to be had.

*My “bucket story” – I came across it somewhere, but don’t remember where now. The point is I’ve adopted it as my own, and it goes like this: Imagine that everyone has a bucket, in which their confidence/happiness (in my mind happiness and confidence are linked since you can’t have one without the other) is stored. Ideally, you’d want your own bucket to be full, overflowing even, right? This is true for everyone, but unfortunately those with less try to get more by stealing from others. Until they realize that what they’re looking for lies within them, they will take from anyone they can.

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