Kyle was talking to me the other day about a guy that he works with. (I feel that there is adequate anonymity in this statement due to the fact that Kyle is working with 5 different “companies/ventures/what-have-you” at the moment and I don’t know any of these people personally. I’m afraid it will sound like people you know, but this will just be due to the fact that there are too many people in the world who are like this…including me…)
Anyway, this guy’s company puts over $300,000 in his pocket annually, and would you even believe it? …his wife is unhappy. It’s not enough. She wants to go on such and such a trip, and get such and such a new car, and they’ve already “upgraded” to three different houses because she wanted bigger, and better, and newer… and these days, she’s feeling especially sorry for herself because they have 2 kids, and she wanted to keep it that way, and now an “oops” baby is on the way and her life is just awful. She is peeved. This co-worker, who is completely distraught, confided in Kyle (who is basically little more than a total stranger) because he doesn’t have anyone he feels he can talk to.
As I sat at the dining room table and listened to the list of complaints spill from Kyle’s lips, I found that my cheeks were burning, and my jaw was clenched, and I just wanted to scream!
“Oh, I feel SO SORRY for her!” I blurted out. Thankfully, the Kortmeister was already tucked into bed, because this rant was coming (ready or not!) and I was glad he wasn’t around to hear it!
“It must be SO HARD to have a uterus that spontaneously (and totally without my consent) produced beautiful, perfect little babies! AND it would be SO AWFUL to have a budget of 25,000 dollars a month! What would I even do with such meager earnings? That’s barely enough to buy groceries, 2 luxury cars, 3 exotic vacations a year, whatever I wanted at “Anthropolgie” and a SIX THOUSAND SQUARE FOOT HOUSE!! I am overcome with sorrow for that poor woman! She really should whip that husband of hers into shape, or better yet, she should just leave! Who cares that he loves her, works incredibly hard for her, and wants to make her happy and give her the world (a goal that is CLEARLY never going to be achieved by her standards). She could do SO MUCH BETTER than him!”
And so it went. (I’m not proud of it…)
Kyle just STARED at me with wide-eyed-wonderment at the spewing, bubbling, angry volcano of contempt he had unwittingly sent into full-blown eruption.
Later that night, when Kyle was asleep, I loaded and started the dishwasher and was wandering around my living room, tidying up, when I had a thought:
“I. am. just. like that woman.”
Not kind of like her, JUST like her! Not even different in the least! (Okay, a little – I really like my husband and think that he is the bomb.com and that he does wonderful things for my family and that I would die if I ever lost him…so I’m a little different, but not much.) That’s why I was so angry. That’s why that story hit me so hard. Though I fool myself into thinking that I am a grounded, salt of the earth person, deep down, “that woman” is hiding, and living, and EXISTING inside of me! (creepy, right?) Allow me to illustrate.
We have a simple, lovely home that is completely paid off. I love it, but I want to make improvements…and it’s not my “dream house” by any means, but maybe it should be. Would my house be someone else’s dream house just the way that “that woman’s” house would be mine? Yep.
Our cars are old clunkers. I don’t like them. I find myself feeling “dissatisfied” when I think about them, but are there people out there who would be overjoyed to have my cars? Yep.
It’s all a matter of perspective. I am just like that woman; you only have to look at me on a different scale to see that that’s precisely true. I’m not mad at her. I’m mad at myself. I want different flooring, and new furniture, and new cars, and a better yard, and so on, but if you were to fly an impoverished woman over here from Africa, or India, or Guatemala, and give her a tour of my house, and my cars, and my LIFESTYLE, and my pantry, and my dishwasher, and the closet filled with enough clothing to dress me for 90 days without a repeat…WHAT WOULD SHE THINK OF ME WHEN SHE HEARD THAT I WANTED MORE? Wow, I can tell you what I’D think.
Sheesh, you don’t even have to be that extreme. What would a couple with 3 kids living in a one bedroom apartment think of my house? Would they probably like to live here and watch their kids run free in a big, fenced backyard? Yep.
I know this is nothing new, but it’s always nice to be reminded. It was for me anyway.
Now, all of this doesn’t mean that we can’t strive for goals. It doesn’t mean that we can’t create, and design, and imagine, and dream, and enjoy working toward creating anything that we want to create in this life without feeling guilty or like we are “bad people.” We should ALWAYS be creating and changing and building the lives we want for ourselves.. we should SIMPLY choose to be grateful, happy, and fulfilled every step along the way. In THIS moment (because, THIS moment is the ONLY one you’ll ever have.) It’s something akin to insanity that we spend our lives immersed in thoughts of the past that we cannot change, and the future that may never come. What about NOW?
So, I’m reading a new book called “Loving What Is” by Katie Byron. And I am LOVING IT. (If you live in Springville, please do not immediately go an put this book on reserve for yourself, because then I will not be allowed to renew it and will have to turn it in on its original due date and I’m not done reading it yet. This keeps happening to me when I plug a book on my blog, ha ha!…give me a few weeks mmmkay?) It is brilliant, and the quotes therein sum this concept up SO MUCH BETTER than I ever could. So I thought I would share:
“Everyone is a mirror image of yourself- your own thinking coming back at you” Ha ha! This would be ME! That girl was just a mirror image of an internal vice that I could see (and judge) better in someone else first, but any time someone REALLY makes us angry, we need to turn the mirror on ourselves and see what those feelings are really about. It stinks at first, but is revealing/liberating in the end.
“No one can hurt me – that’s my job” Seriously, someone can’t offend you unless you choose to take offense. The job of inflicting suffering is left only to each individual. We get to choose.
“When I argue with reality, I lose – but only 100% of the time.” It’s insanity to fight against “what is!”Reality is reality and while you can take steps to enhance you future realities, total acceptance of “what is” in EVERY moment of our lives is what is needed for true freedom. Saying: “I hate that I can’t afford to take a nice vacation!” is like saying “I hate that there are 24 hours in a day!” No amount of suffering or negative thinking on your part will change either of those things, yet we don’t seem to mind wasting PILES of time and energy lamenting them anyway. “God give me the courage to accept the things I cannot change…” is a VERY wise prayer indeed.
“Nothing outside of you can ever give you what you’re looking for” Including a spouse, a child, a new house…you name it! And therein lies the problem for so many of us! We believe the lie that happiness is somewhere beyond ourselves, so we keep looking in all the wrong places. The accumulation of material goods gives us momentary pleasure, so we mistake consumerism as “the answer or antidote” but it is only one of many illusions that keep us from delving deeper to find real answers.
“Everything happens for me, not to me” I love this. I need to put this on my wall.
“You move totally away from reality when you believe that there is a legitimate reason to suffer.”
So anyway, there is your preachy daily dose of self help randomness. I know that you are all more enlightened than I am, and many of you figured this out a long time ago, but thanks sharing in the rant anyway.