A Personal Investment

Something I realize now is that we teach other on a daily basis. We learn from each other every day. I swear this is true.
We learn what we accept and what we don’t. We learn what we appreciate and what we admire.
We teach other what to do and stay away from. This is how we learn. We watch each other.
We interact and we adapt. When it comes to new people, we learn about them. We learn about their qualities on both ends of the spectrum from benefit to deficit.

Sometimes we forget that with new introductions come new responsibilities. That’s right. We are responsible for teaching people what is and is not acceptable to us. If this is not settled up front then we run the risk of handling this in the back end because keep in mind: All relationships are like a contract.

People come with their own rules of engagement. To each their own, which means everyone has their own ways and opinions. We are entitled to our own way of thinking. We act and respond differently. We have different mindsets and different points of view. But of course we do. After all, we have different experiences and we have different moods. We different ways of communicating and we come from different upbringings.

I realize that not everyone is created to interact with me or me with them. I realize there are people who fit the saying, “And never the twain shall meet.” This is natural and no pretending or method of people pleasing will change this fact

Based upon our interactions, we learn how to live with or without other. We see what life brings and what people go through.
Life happens to everyone, which is normal. No one is untouched or untroubled. Life happens. Period.
Our admiration towards one another comes from learning how we handle life on life’s terms. This is what attracts us to each other. We are drawn together for a reason. Some of these reasons, however are less than beneficial and sometimes they are only self-serving at best, which is why mindfulness is important.

It is essential to have an understanding of self; otherwise, we lose our identity. Without an understanding of self or at least a semblance of understanding, life is leashed upon outside influences. This is (to me) is a form of self-induced slavery.

About 28 years ago, I walked down into the basement of a hospital to attend a 12-step meeting. I made a mistake and resorted back to old behaviors. In a place like this, however, I was supposed to be supported; however, this was not the case when I admitted to the exact nature of my wrong.

I walked in and discussed my downfall, to which I was yelled at by a man much older than myself. He explained that I had no idea what I was doing, that I was just a young stupid kid, that I was going to end up dead, and that I was never going to make it. He explained this as if he were the authority on the subject; meanwhile, his was a hard road travelled and his was a story that had not yet made a stellar comeback. Nevertheless, I felt like a child, browbeaten and scolded.

I wondered why I went back to this place at all. However, with a programmed mind, I was programmed to be subservient to him. I was programmed that I was the younger and he was the older. I was programed to respect my elders, which I still agree with. But still, it took a lot for me to admit my faults. This meant I deserved to be respected as well. That means I reserve the right to be regarded with mutual respect.

This man continued on his tirade about us, “Stupid kids,” because there were others young newcomers in attendance. They also met with a similar fight. I heard this man rant and rave. He was met with some support by others who felt as if they deserved a spot on a podium; as if they were an authority and had the right to judge.

After a while, I realized this was no longer acceptable.

I responded by explaining the fact that I decided to come in and willingly clean myself up two decades before him.
I questioned that if he knew so much, then why did it take him so long to grasp the concept of clean living?
Why would he shout and carry on like this? Was i so much of an insult to him? The answer is this; his tirade had nothing to do with me. These were his issues. This was about him and not my humidity to admit to the facts of my self-induced slavery. I have no impact on his life. The only impact I have was the impact he chose to create. These were his issues so then why would I allow myself to borrow them?

We hold each other to levels of importance, when in fact, the way we live is simply the way we live.

I had to learn not to internalize other people and their own personal ways. And should their behavior impact me; I reserve the right to be mutually respected. If I say nothing and allow people to treat me poorly or disregard me in a hurtful way; or if I do not allow myself my voice in this regard, I find that poor treatment can become habit forming on both sides. I find this is the breeding ground of resentment. So rather than breed contempt, I have the right to walk away.

I come to realize that there are times when we put our best foot forward to impress people. This is fine but this is why first impressions need to be honest. Otherwise they can be misleading. Sometimes, first impressions can be manipulative. They almost become an agreement (like a contract) to which we sign with a smile and handshake.

I think of new hires at a job and how they come out of the gate on their very first day. They look to impress.
They look to sell themselves, which I get. But this is not the problem. The problem is when they inaccurately oversell themselves.
The problem is when they set the bar unrealistically high and they come in exceptionally early. They overwork. They create a pace too difficult to keep and then slowly but surely, performance declines. The early mornings become later and later until eventually, the early to ontime arrivals become late.

Showing people who I am means showing me on an honest basis. This means the pace I set is the pace I keep.

I am learning steadily and I learn on a daily basis. I also learn that above and beyond anything else; there is no need to impress anyone. Not anymore.
So long as I am comfortable with me and who I am, then I am fit to be me, which means I am not intimidated or insecure.

I used to sell myself because I was intimidated. I was insecure. I used to sell myself because I thought I was lacking.
I believed that I needed to sell myself because how else will I impress anyone?

This is where I sold myself short. This is where I accepted treatment that was beneath my value.
I took what I could because I was afraid of not being accepted or liked. I responded in such ways to protect myself. However, if I had learned that people are just people and rather than place importance on the people that impose —I placed my importance on people who inspire me, had I placed my importance upon me, I could have avoided decades or resentment and mistreatment.

Moreover, I have come to realize that how I allow myself to be treated is my responsibility.

Key points:
Always match respect with equal respect.
Match friendships with equal intensity.
Match love with love and disregard the rest.
So long as I do this, I swear, my list of troubles dwindles down to insignificant.

Life is energy; therefore, it would serve me best to conserve my energy and invest it wisely.

This is why I choose to invest in me

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