I wish I was totally at peace all the time, but my ego seems to mess that up more than I’d like. You see, a few things still bother me, and I wish they didn’t. It’s okay though because there was a time when I found EVERYTHING annoying. I was one of those guys who could get pissed at winning the lottery. Really. So time to fess up and share (hopefully with a dash of humor) three of the situations in life that I still let get under my skin.
Let’s start with elevator etiquette. Why do people insist they shove their way ON before the occupants get off? More than once I’ve made a decision to stand about one inch from the door just to let strangers try to tackle me when it opens while I ask with a fake bewildered face “Can I get off first?” Yes it amuses me, (and has brought a LOT of laughter from those still inside waiting for their floor) but here’s the kicker….I find myself doing the opposite of what I want from the other side. Yes, I always apologize for being thoughtless, but I’m just as guilty as those who annoy me, which bothers me further. Ugh.
Next up, four-way stops. What? A complaint about drivers; what the? Anyway…It’s not the ones who roll through that get to me, it’s that no one seems to remember or care who got there first, so they sit and wait for the most aggressive one to take initiative. It also seems that at some point every day I pull up to at least one of these intersections and someone is just sitting in their vehicle, waving people through. They’ve been there for so long that their car is getting dirty from simple exposure. Really? Please just go. Years ago I actually met a motorist across from me who was doing this and I was shaking my head “No,” but they kept on waving. I finally turned off my truck, got out and waved THEM through. They left skid marks. Never figured that one out; and yes, I was sober. I’m not an aggressive driver, I swear. Almost everything is fine with me and it reflects in my record. Close to one million miles now and only two points on my license since I’ve had it as a teenager. I guess I just don’t like being confused. Not only that, I always make it through safely and respectfully so what’s the problem? Me, it’s me.
Finally, this is the situation I find REALLY aggravating. It’s a behavior pattern I’ve a hard time trying to break. I’m a plumber and I use a lot of tools that I scatter to different tasks, especially on large jobs so it’s quite often I misplace something. When I do, my first thought is always, “Who stole my whatever it is that I misplaced.” To be honest I have had stuff stolen in the past twenty years…….twice. That’s it; yet my ego still goes on its rampage for a few seconds looking around the room for the culprit. My mind is quite aware that no one took anything, and still I persist in this Pavlovian response to my ineptitude. Can I have a “DUH” please? Most of the time I relax rather quickly, get out another tool, and wait for the situation to fix itself. It always does. Someday I’ll be rid of that particular bit of programming in my hard drive. The good news is that it happens less than it used to. Maybe it’s because I misplace my stuff less than I used to. Wait a second….do you think that’s how I’m subconsciously teaching myself to be less scatter brained? Couldn’t be; could it?
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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood
BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really enjoyed this!!!! I LOVE articles imbued with humor (humor is one of my favorite things EVER), and I LOVE an individual that’s willing to call themselves out on their own crap!! (<- Hopefully that word is acceptable on your blog. If that's too potty mouthed, then just correct me with the standard of language you'd wish to have on here. I'm trying to be cognizant, haha.) Honestly, I just think Insight is sexy… and I mean that more in the "attractive" sense than "XXX" sense, haha. Being a counselor by profession, I run into the GAMUT of human expression and human experience. I also run into the GAMUT of self-awareness and insight. My favorite people are the ones who have enough Eureka's about themselves to make use of the things discussed. This probabably brings me to my NUMBER ONE PET PEEVE that I have found in this world: fixed mental states.
Let me explain…… I'm quite sure being a middle-aged adult that you've had experiences with people that made you think, "What in the WORLD?!?!?!?!?" Yeah. Daily basis occurrence for me. There will be people that come to me that complain about how they feel that everyone in the world hates them. I'll obviously ask Why? They generally reply with something along the lines of, "So&so is always talking crap about me, or gettin' in my face, or disrespectin' me!!" Usually… all I have to do next is have them explain ONE example of when So&so was rude to them. The stories inevitably go like this: "Well me 'n so&so were haning' out at [insert random place], and they told me [something important], and I told them that was soooooo stupid! I mean why would they think something like that?? It's so dumb!! Then, they get all up in my face and start talkin' all this crap about me, and NONE of it is true, and I demanded that they apologize, and they still haven't to this day! And we haven't talked since!" And I'm just sitting there….. knowing that I'll have to find a diplomatic way of saying "YOU STARTED IT, YOU BULLY!!" Literally, a solid 8 times out of 10, the complaints that I receive are things that I honestly feel the average human should be able to resolve with the simple question, "What have I done to contribute to or contaminate this situation?" I think if people took 2 seconds to reflect before they blow up, there will be a much happier world, hahaha.
I suppose this takes me to my 2nd greatest pet peeve in the world: something I've labeled "automatic attitude," or overall Defensiveness. In my line of work, I've grown REALLY tired of people that lack any insight into their own behavior, and people that are on the defensive 24/7. You know… the people that, when you ask, "Are you ok?" they reply, "Why??? Do I look sick or something?? What's wrong with me? You sayin' there's somethin' wrong with me? It ain't like you're perfect or anything!" Wow….. ok…. um….. a simple, "Yes, I'm fine." would've shut me up even quicker, haha. Lord help! Because of being around these type people, these "sitting on pins and needles" people, I've developed this really annoying habit of disclaiming EVERYTHING I say before I say it. What used to be said in 4 sentences is now a 15 minute conversation, hahaha. I preface everything with, "In my own personal opinion, which is not something that is "right," it's only personal opinion, and in no way shape or form am I suggesting that anyone else adopt my opinion as theirs, or in any way am I saying I believe other opinions are wrong, I like the color green the best." Really. Well that was marvelous. And entirely uneccessary in ordinary conversation, hahaha, but it's there. All my friends have just about HAD IT with that habit of mine.
Now, those are my 2 pet peeves about OTHERS…….. and I know that anytime I have a pet peeve about other people, it's usually seated in something that I'm trying desperately to avoid in myself. For example, when people lack insight to the point that they'd be more successful vegetative………. to me, no insight means that you don't know how you truly are… which means you don't exist outside of others' opinions of you….. which means that you aren't real, or you aren't free……… so what I'm REALLY fearing, or trying to avoid, is the feeling of being fake or being imprisoned. To me, having insight is liberating (real and truthful). If I focus more on doing things that make me feel free… and things that feel more like the truest version of me, I know that I won't be a match to as many insightless people in the world, haha. "If you want to end war. End it within yourself." Right?
Also, defensiveness irks me, because I translate defensiveness to being guarded…. feeling like you need to be protected from SOMETHING… because you're under attack. So what I REALLY desire is to feel safe and free. (Self-liberation is obviously a huge thing for me, hahaha. I think most Americans can resonate with that… as American was formed, after all, on the BASIS of attaining freedoms.) Again, if I focused more on realizing that I am safe and free, then defensiveness people will not bother me as much as they currently do. That's all very much so a work in progress, hahaha!!!
Pet peeves about myself (other than my habitual disclaiming of everything): I'm such a counselor at heart that I seem to turn EVERY conversation and EVERY casual friendly hangout into a session. People will come over to my house for a large get together, and by the end of the night, I've got people confessing stories of their deepest childhood secrets, and crying, and processing together. I guess, ultimately it's cathartic, and makes people feel better, but why…… when people have called me one of the funniest/happiest persons they know (and you can't tell I have humor by my writing style, because I'm so scholarly indoctrinated… but believe me, in person, I'm MUCH more laid back and slang, haha)….. why do I have to turn even the most casual events into something so serious???
Here's a quick example about that from just last night: my husband and I were out in our yard just pruning the plants and refreshing the mulch. Our neighbor (and we've only lived in the neighborhood for 8 months, so we're still just on 1st name basis') drove by and pulled up alongside the sidewalk to compliment our landscaping and new lights we just put up around the house. Somehow, within FIVE MINUTES of him driving up next to the house before heading to work, he begins spilling about how he and his son are having so many arguments about money, and how they don't appreciate him or the way he decorates, and how he's feeling like he wants to move back up north. Before this moment, all I knew about him was that his name was Russell and he drives an Escalade. But BAM…. he spills his guts right there after "Those are some nice landscaping lights you've got there!" As if catching himself under a spell, he breaks back into the moment and says, "Whoa…. wow…. why'd I just unload all of that?? I don't get personal with the neighbors…. sorry. Wow, awkward." I just giggled and told him I was a counselor, and for some reason, people I run into everywhere tend to do that. He said he felt a lot better and smiled and drove off to work. I guess this is a good thing?? Hahaha!!
My other pet peeves about myself: I tend to be overly analytical (people say I'm in my own world), so I feel like an alien a lot of the time, never fitting in……… and analyzing everything anyone says. For people with a HUGE resistance to getting personal, they do NOT like being around me. I don't do small talk. I suck at it. Bad. I think some people can feel picked apart after being around me… because I DO tend to force things to bubble up to people's surfaces. People can feel raw or vulnerable after being around me, which may not always be the "best" feeling. I hate making people feel uncomfortable or "not in the mood" to hang around me, haha.
Last pet peeve, because this has gotten VERY long, haha…… I discredit myself too much. I always feel like I'm not good enough, or I haven't done as much as I COULD'VE done, or I'm behind and that this is a race. Some people will look at me and find me very accomplished for my age. I look at me and say, "Ehh, that's "normal," and look at everything else I have yet to conquer." It's a very nasty habit… probably my most self-defeating one.
Ps: I hate 4-ways too. I always have idiot drivers screwing up the natural flow of things. There's a 4-way literally 1/4 mile from my house that I have to drive through everyday. It sucks, haha. It's also on a train track… which you can assume brings in ANOTHER flagrant display of confusion!!
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One of my goals is to eventually try and help people (other than in this blog) in a more intimate setting. I’m just a blue-collar guy and didn’t even finish high school. I’m not a counselor or doctor or anything with a professional “label” that qualifies me to be handing out advice; but I also feel that my background can offer a common and comfortable setting for those who are just starting out on the path of self-improvement. Yes, I have my G.E.D. and some college now, and I’ll continue my education as I go through life. With this in mind one of the FIRST things I try and teach guys, MEN, is to ask yourself repeatedly this question, “How many people in your life have opinions that ACTUALLY matter?” The answer usually comes down to five or less and it’s almost never both parents. Yet these guys (and yes, women too) go out and subconsciously try please and fulfill other peoples agendas even if they are dead. Very sad.
The reason I bring this up is to address your annoyance that so many want to fight over the words of strangers and casual acquaintance’s. Really? What a waste of direction, energy, and determination.
I had bumper stickers made up years ago and used to hand them out to whomever wanted one that said, “I ALWAYS GET EVERYTHING I WANT, ALL I HAVE TO DO IS CHANGE MY MIND.” Mental flexibility is the foundation of growth. Nothing happens without it. Nothing.
Wayne Dyer said something that made me laugh. He said that most people spend most of their time looking for ways to be insulted. That’s their M.O. The next question is why would they do that? I think it’s because people convince themselves that sticking to a belief is less painful that admitting fault. Wrong. For me it’s LESS painful to admit I’m wrong (even if I KNOW something) than it is to FIGHT about whether or not I’m right. Besides, I’ve said it before, the fastest way to prove someone else wrong is to let them do it their way.
Our ego’s are the material anchor to the ship of the spirit. If we truly want to start exploring we must pull anchor and set sail. Very few have. What most don’t realize is that the “ship” is not our home. Our true nature lies on the horizon, Its in the water it floats upon and in the wind that carries us to new and unknown destinations. Stagnation of mankind has for thousands of years defined our pain, our worries, and our conflicts.