It’s Just a Word

And so—
There is this word, which I am about to discuss, and yet, this is a word that no one likes to talk about. Then again, who would?
Who wants to talk about words like disappointment or worse, who wants to talk about discouragement? Even though we all feel it; we have moments of disappointment; we have moments when our attachments are emotionally mis-assigned, nobody wants to address it. Discouragement . . .
It’s just a word.

When I was born, I was born into this little body of mine, which eventually grew. I eventually took shape. I developed a personality. My thinking developed the same as my brain. I began to take on assignments such as who I am? Who did I want to be?
Was I an athlete? Was I tough? Was I good looking or did I have a good sense of humor? Or, where do I fit in? Since the day of my birth, I am still learning the answers to these questions, which is fine because at least now, I understands the questions from a different perspective.

I have found that we are all too involved with credentialing and identity. We are entirely too involved with a personal ranking system and the interpretations of success. We give too much thought to appearance and to the titles, positions and the stations that we hold in life.
And this is us, right? I’m a CEO or I am a business owner. There is prestige to this. There is ego and pride but yet, there is also stigma to someone who is like, say, a mop boy in the bathroom stalls of the worst bathroom in the world. There is the idea that if I made “This” than I am good. I am better than good. This means I am productive. I am successful. Right?

We all find bumps and pitfalls on the road to improvement. We learn about disappointments and face the discouraging challenges that seem to separate us from accomplishing our goals.
We assign approval to our standards and should our standards somehow miss, then what does this say about us?
If we lose our ranks or if we lose our positions or stations in life, who are we?

If I am not a mother or father, sister or brother, — or if I am not a husband or a worker, or if I am a person without some kind of notable or external identity—then the question becomes, “Who am I?”
We associate labels, achievements, failures and disappointments with a sense of self. Meanwhile, this is only judgement. This is a measure of our attachments to the outcomes, which at some point; this grossly undermines the energy it takes to get up every morning and try.

When I was born, I was born a small little boy. I had flaws and imperfections. I was never very tall nor was I ever too strong. My ears are different. My eyes are slightly crooked. I was skinny and very young looking. I’d fear that when people looked at me, they only saw what I saw. I assumed they saw my awkwardness. Therefore, I assigned the approval of others to a higher regard. I was trained this way. In fact, we all are.

While insecurity is normal, the training that we undergo throughout our lifetime can hold us to our limitations. Some of our training comes from the commercialized ideas that we see captured in the eyes of a camera’s lens. We are trained to assign identity. We are told about beauty and what beauty looks like.
We categorize and compartmentalize people into patterns and descriptions and we do this to ourselves too. We assigned preferences and dislikes, alternatives and settlements; and we assign labels to our opinions and our conclusions, which we hold in our emotional storage room, also known as our head.

Do not be discouraged.
I have heard this since I was a small boy. I heard this when I was in grade school while sitting in a special classroom with round blocks and square blocks and a board with holes.

Don’t be discouraged.
I was told this when I couldn’t express myself or have the language to explain why I was so angry or frustrated.

Don’t be discouraged.
I was told this while making my way home after my first week in the working world. I was humiliated by my new boss because I was nervous and misspelled a simple word in front of him.
He told me he didn’t like my suit and not to come back until I get a few new suits—and then I could start working for him—but why would I want to?

Don’t be discouraged
I was told this when I was a salesman and no matter what direction I tried, all I heard was rejection.

Don’t be discouraged.
I have been hearing these words throughout my entire lifetime, and yet, I was never too sure what the words really mean.

I used to have attachments. I had attachments to ideas of wealth and status. I was attached to the ideas of success and to the appearance of success—and since I was never quite comfortable in my own skin or my appearance; I was attached to different ways to compensate for my defects and flaws.

Meanwhile, throughout all of this; I just wanted to be free. I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to be included and invited. I wanted to be regarded and celebrated; as if to mean that who I am was truly worth the space I took up on this place we call earth.

Someone once told me that rejection is not real.
They told me, “It’s only real to you.”
My wins or my losses whether they are equal, insurmountable, or otherwise; none of them are so meaningful that they make up my life. There is so much more and yet, there is so much less when we scale ourselves back.
I had to learn that my attachments needed to change. The way I assigned my emotions needed to change—my thinking had to change, my behavior had to change, and so did the way I lived, loved or looked at the world. All of these things needed to change.
But how?

I had these attachments for so long. How does someone simply, “Let go” of their fears or their pain, their hurt or their anger? How do we prevent ourselves from privatizing or personalization?  How do we stop the mis-allocations of improper ownership or responsibility? Isn’t discouragement? Or even easier, how do we stop the machine in our head from spinning around the ideas of rejection and loss?

I tried to create programs. I took shots and missed. I went for interviews and was told that I was a bit out of my league.
And what was I told?
Don’t be discouraged.

I went in front of a CFO of a large company. He asked me about what I do. Then he said, “It’s just you in your company? There’s no one else?”
The CFO had his assistant come in to cut the meeting short. He told me, “I wish I could have spent more time with you, but my schedule is crazy. You know how it is . . .”
There I was with egg on my face.
 I took a meeting with this man after being encouraged by someone who put me on the man’s calendar—and by the way, the person who put me on his calendar was the same person who came in to interrupt the meeting.

And what was I told?
Don’t be discouraged.

I listened to a woman on television tell a man that everyone has a dream but sometimes dreams aren’t meant to come true.
Is this right?

Does anybody remember who William Hung is?
He was a young American who was born in Hong Kong with no professional training to sing or dance and yet, he auditioned for the show American Idol.
Hung didn’t do very well on his audition. He went up and he sung and he danced and he appeared to be having fun. However, the show was a talent show and with no talent to support Hung’s audition, his time was cut short.

Hung was somewhat ridiculed and his answer was simple. “I did the best I could and I have no regrets.”
He held no attachment to the outcome or to what the judges said or how they appeared to be laughing—and it’s not like Hung did this privately. He was on television, in front of millions of viewers. Hung did not allow the distractions of discouragement to get in his way.

I admire that.

I was born in this body. I grew. I lived and I’ve learned; and my time is not over. So, what does this mean?
Well, I don’t suppose this means anyone will see me in a talent show on television—but what this does mean is that I have the ability to shoot, try, miss and fall. But above all, I have the ability to step away from my personal attachments to judgment and rather than see myself as pass or fail—I can just be me and live my life without attaching myself to regret.

Note To Self:
Discouragement is not real
it’s only real to you.
Words only mean something when you give them value.
So give yourself value
and don’t be discouraged.

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