“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself” – Rumi
How often do you expect others or the world around you to change so you can feel better or for your life to be easier?
We think if only they did it this way things would be better. I spent so much of my life blaming the world around me for my problems. Why must I get a university degree? Why must I surrender to global capitalism and get a job? Why can’t we all get along? It’s because of religion, it’s because of greed, wherever I could point blame I would. I pointed my finger in every direction, not realizing three fingers were pointing right back at me.
This perspective guaranteed I’d be miserable because I deflected responsibility away from myself. My fears, insecurities, lack of self-esteem, lack of self-confidence were blamed on others. If they’d change, I’d be ok. Since they will never change, I’m justified in my anger, misery, self-destruction, moral superiority, and so on.
What did this get me? A disabling drug addiction, coupled with various mental health problems that rendered my life into perpetual crisis, relationship problems, and disconnection from any sense of community, connection, and a loving sense of self. I could always justify, rationalize, and minimize my circumstance. Just because I’m high on the most potent marijuana ever created 24/7 doesn’t mean I have a problem. At least I’m not homeless or addicted to ‘worse’ drugs. I pretended I wasn’t terrified of trying to get a job because it’s not fair I had to be qualified by the system we live in. You name it, I would use it to stay in DENIAL – (Don’t, Even, Notice, I, Am, Lying) This led me to the depths of despair and the darkest place I’d ever imagine. We all have a bottom, and it’s when we decide to stop digging.
When I stopped digging and asked for help, I became willing to look within for the changes I wanted from the world. I received the gift of self-awareness, reflection, and honesty. I learned that I was at the root of my life problems, and the only one who could change them. Over the years of looking within for solutions to what I perceive to be the world’s problems, I’ve been blessed with so many beautiful experiences, relationships, and lessons that are shaping the person I am on a moment to moment basis.
I always wanted the world to be a more honest, safe, responsible, compassionate place. Now those are some of my most important values. I’m no longer complaining about you, the government, the corporate world, and anything else I could point to. I still see the same issues, but I don’t blame my problems on them. I use what I’ve learned to practice and embody what I want out of the world. This allows me to be the person, husband, father, brother, son, and friend, I always wanted to be. Only in this way, can I, one individual, play my part in bringing more peace, love, honesty, forgiveness, and acceptance into the world I believe so desperately needs it.
Starts With Me is launching the ‘State Of Mind’ Youth Mental Health & System Innovation Festival on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017. Please see more here startswithme.ca/som
You can buy tickets or donate here – https://stateofmindfestival.eventbrite.ca