At a certain point too much of something becomes its opposite. The drug that could save your life becomes poison. Too much time and attention from a significant other, no longer feels warm and fuzzy, it feels weird and creepy. The key to keeping this from happening is to keep from overdosing on something. At the moment, if I’m being honest, I’m LIKED out.
Growing up in the ’80s and the “Vally Girl” movement, you would have thought that it would have happened earlier. However it is only recently that the word like has become so pervasive that it feels like its opposite. No longer do I want to ‘like’ anything because it feels meaningless, a throw away compliment because it’s time to move onto the next thing. Perhaps it is time to dismiss the notion of ‘liking’ every thing that you like and only ‘like’ the things that you love. By putting this plan into action, it reduces the number of ‘likes’ to go around. Only the truly special will be donned with this moniker.
In life our most precious resource is our time. If all we do is like the time that we spend on this earth, then maybe we should hold out for more loves rather than drowning in likes. They might take some more effort to find but at least everything won’t feel like different flavors of vanilla.
The act of being human is not always an easy one. Despite all of our advantages, we still run into plenty of obstacles and potholes. There is an odd feeling that I have inside that I am more than one person. I’ve written before about my fascination with a scene from Lord of the Rings that personifies that internal struggle. However today I’m thinking of a much more strategical breakdown to the human animal. We are all in a constant cycle of -ing.
Human Being – This is our general state. Much like an idling car, we all have our own base state. This may be influenced by outside factors but in general it is within our capacity to control. Who are you being on a regular basis? The -ing is important because it is a present progressive. Who you’ve been in the past is not important. The present is a new choice for you to be.
Human Meaning – As we are being our way through the day, things are going to happen. It is inevitable. Humans are not always objective creatures. We generally put meaning onto the things that happen. Something happened, that means; I’m going to be late, people appreciate me, I’m worthless, it’s a complete success or a million other things that we’ve made up in our own heads. Since the stories inside of our heads about the meanings behind things are completely made up by us, then wouldn’t it be intelligent to give things a meaning that helps us? As the writer of your own programming, this seems the most sensible thing to do.
Human Doing – Once we’ve put ourselves into a position for a successful day by being in a winning state. Then putting the most helpful meaning onto all external events. The only -ing left is what to do. Doing is the end step that brings the cycle back around. There is definitely enough evidence around to support the fact that the internal human game is extremely important. However we were always meant to be creatures of action. Man was meant to MANufacture, MANifest, MANage and MANeuver through this world to greater heights.
So as you are going through your day. Pay attention to the -ing that you are in. Are you being in your best interest? Is the meaning that you give to your circumstances helpful? And especially, what are you doing with what you have? It won’t always be perfect but that’s alright because you weren’t meant to be either. My hope is that you’re at least progressing!
I was heartbroken! Disappointed! Slightly angry and my self-esteem had definitely taken a hit. It was 1998 and my best friend and I had just returned from a month in Europe. The trip had been amazing! Despite the US playing horribly, Schaef and I had enjoyed a great World Cup. We had toured England, Spain, France and Germany seeing five World Cup matches along the way. The only downside to the trip had been that my girlfriend and I were never able to connect on the phone. Either we were traveling or she was working but we kept missing one another. Then when Schaef and I got home, the worst possible scenario came true. She was breaking up with me and was possibly seeing someone else.
After a month of pure joy, I was paying the price with pure agony. My life had basically fallen apart. I had lost my girlfriend, my place to live (we were moving in together when I got back) and my future (in my head marriage was the next step). Now I was left with nothing and all alone to build things back up again. As much as I would love for the theme song from Rocky to start playing in the background and tell you that I got myself right in about a week, it took about a year. The details of my rise from the ashes are not as important as the recognition of who/what turned me into ashes. The person who was responsible for my agony was me and the tool that I used to inflict it upon myself was meaning.
There are many things that happen throughout life. Although some may have positive or negative connotations to them, most are subject to interpretation. It is not particularly the situation that causes the most pain but the meaning that we associate to the event. My breakup meant all kinds of things at the time. It meant that I was worthless, hopeless, helpless, lonely, a loser and a bunch of other things. It took time to gain perspective and put new meaning onto that experience. It was freeing, challenging, educational and the best thing for both of us. Obviously this all came with time but it didn’t need to. That experience did not need to be so destructive, had I been a Master of Meaning (M.O.M).
At the time, life happened to me more than I influenced it. For better or worse, the events of my life would happen and THEY made me feel good or bad. This is of course nonsense. The events of our lives can influence but do not completely control how we feel. Any event can be made to feel like it is positive or negative based on the meaning that we attach to it. A million dollars is nothing but currency with pictures of dead presidents on it. How someone reacts to receiving a million dollars is based completely on the meaning that they attach to it. For many it represents possibility, happiness and freedom. For others it means obligation, mistrust and greed. The meaning that we put onto any event is crucial to how we feel about our lives. Our habits of making meaning will make our lives seem like it is heading in one direction or another. Until we take our power to decide, we are at the mercy of circumstance. That is a difficult life to lead!