Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Update on New Year's Resolution

A while ago I had the audacity to post my resolution for 2008 on this here blog. In a nutshell, I decided I was going to be a more forgiving person, specifically towards my ex-girlfriend.

Well, that didn't go as smoothly as I thought. And I've had my ups and downs over the whole mess since I made the resolution. There have been times when I felt like I was totally over it, and other times when I have felt like I'll never be over it. A low point was one night shortly after Chinese New Year when I sent some really mean-spirited text messages to the young woman's cell phone. I don't know if she ever got them, but the next morning I felt terrible about it, and I knew I had a long way to go before being straightened out over this thing.

Lately I've been reading some books about, and generally paying more attention to, the concepts regarding having a happy life. I'm not going into detail about the specific books, but there are a few principles that seem to be recurring in the different things I've read and seen.

One thing that seems universal is that it is important to live in the moment as much as is practically possible. Dwelling on the past or worrying about the future never did anyone any good. This is a surprisingly difficult thing to do, however. It must take some practice.

Another thing that keeps coming up is that most of what we think about and perceive about ourselves and others is just a mental construct. It is impossible to really know anyone beyond the projections they make of themselves and the images we create in our minds about them. If you're lucky and you work at it, you might get to know the real you eventually.

Fear. This is also present everywhere I look. Fear causes all the problems. It's opposite, according to some sources, is love. Practice love and you can eliminate fear from your life.

Forgiveness is a big thing, too. Since most of the grudges we hold against others are based in the past, they really have no meaning in the present. Holding a grudge doesn't do anything to help you get back at the person who offended you, but it fills your own life with poison. Forgiving someone who did you wrong is not for them, it is for you. By the way, seems you have to forgive yourself first before you can do a very good job of forgiving others.

I've always been a pretty strong believer in grudge holding. I call it the "Hyman Roth Method." Basically it follows the ideas that revenge is a dish best served cold, and that you should keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Since I practiced this way of thinking for so long, it is not easy to re-learn how to think, but I'm working on it.

So, it seems that the big trick is to learn to live more in the present, and thereby release all the emotional poison that is based on the past. By doing so, you can reach the place where the events of the past no longer have a hold on you (so you can forgive). Also by doing so, you don't have anxiety about the things in the future over which you have no control.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it?

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