I have said over and over in my little essays that my goal is to “Love everybody and make ‘em feel good about themselves.” Michael Des Barres, who I knew little about until I started listening to him on his Underground Garage radio show, states that he is “Your Humbler Servant” which was something I adopted to put words to how I see my life. I didn’t come to this easily, and for a portion of my life I was embittered, cynical, and felt that I had been given the fuzzy end of the lollypop.
I made the change in my thinking, and I am NOT one of those people who believes “the secret” or that positive thoughts bring you positive results. In fact, the world around me hasn’t changed. I’ve still had to struggle, deal with financial and emotional upheaval, had people in my life who did me wrong and the like. None of that changed, and the people who say “thinking positively will always make you rich!” are scam artists just as big as the Nigerian Prince who used to e-mail you about helping him get his money transferred to another bank.
The world didn’t change. I still have been laid off 4 times since 1999 when I made the mental change. I have had a dear friendship dissolve in a painful way. I have had five relationships with women I loved end. I have suffered huge financial setbacks, increased anxiety, family tragedies and the like. What changed was how I saw it.
With people, I assumed positive intent and gave forgiveness, knowing that they did what they thought was a good idea at the time. With employment, I made sure to keep myself learning and got away from thinking that my job is who I am, and instead see it as how I help others. With family, I realize that things will be good at times and not good at others. With my own mental health, I realize that I can do what I can to take care of myself and to get help when I need it, same as I would for an infection or a chronic condition.
I wake up every day knowing that my internal weather determines how I see the external circumstances. That everyone is a person with hopes, dreams, fears, desires and needs and while what they do may affect me, it’s all in how I react to that.
I have also seen people whose lives are defined by who and what they hate, and the more I se4e it, the more I realize it’s not my job to oppose them, but to avoid them and not let their anger change how you live your life. I fail at this, and tend to take criticism much more easily than praise, but I’m trying to do better.
I want to live in a world where everyone gets what they want. Even my enemies. It ain’t easy, but since we’re all we’ve got, we have to help each other.
Much love to friends old and new and I hope that you learn to live a life defined by forgiveness and hope rather than anger and fear. It may not work for everyone, but it works for me.