We all reach a point sometimes when the negativity in life, people, politics, work life balance, etc.. all add to the that point where we feel overwhelmed. Different people deal with these stress points differently. Some ignore them. Others get lost in the drama. And some just get down in the dumps from the pressure. There comes a point where a fresh start is a good idea.
Recently I have worked on the concept of giving all humans a fresh start. When dealing with people you wont always get along. Misunderstandings are common. Past actions fester. Judgments made in the heat of a specific situation carry over and remain in the mind. We get angry. Grudges are omnipresent.
But a fresh start for all humans is not easy. Our brains like to point fingers and fill in the blanks of some facts we cannot know. We are confident we know what others think or how they feel (but unless you are clairvoyant there is no way to be so confident as to what motivates the next person). We blame others for the problems in our relationships. Can’t be our fault, after all.
(This blog post has been followed up with a post about “Forgiveness”)
Lately I am beginning to release people from whatever they did or did not do in the past. If I have negative feelings about them, or catch myself negatively reacting to the thought of an individual, I let it free. A friend recently reminded me of a time when a mutual friend pushed me out of a social situation and made sure I was not included. This hurt at the time and the person who did the snub fell into my “not such a good person” list. But you know what? I am sure if you unpacked their life, they had their own shit happening. People rarely mean to hurt others, they are just trying to lessen their own pain.
So I am offering up a clean slate. Now calling people and telling them this does not seem right. They would then have to admit they had some responsibility in the slate being dirty. Most people who are not on a quest for fresh starts would probably be offended by such and outreach. Thus I am just wiping the slate clean on my side of the line, and wishing them well. I hope they will come around and we can start a new journey forward, but that is not really what I expect.
Freedom Brings Opportunity
There is something about “good vibes” and Karma. When you wish others well and do not hold negative feelings, opportunity tends to come in the door. I am not really “woo-woo” about things, but there is some legitimacy to how our thought attract or repel good fortune. By giving all humans a fresh start, there is a weird freedom.
It is easy to get caught up in wanting the world to revolve around us, but it does not. There is more to the universe that what you wish. Your hopes and dreams will get stepped on by other humans, and if you take that and let them ruin you, life gets murky really quickly.
Lately I am hungry for opportunity. To invite the world of Karma to do it’s things I have to clear out the space for the fresh energy to fill up my world. I am systematically looking for where I have judged others and held onto any negative thoughts and I am just dissolving anything that is not productive. If the thoughts of another person are not upbeat, I am seeking out what is admirable about that person. Usually it is easy to replace the negative with a positive if you are really looking.
Be Fast To Forgive
My dad used to say “be slow to anger and fast to forgive”. I have seen many people do the opposite. Sometimes I am not good at following this advice. However, when I do live by these words, I am happier. Slow to anger is part of my nature, but like most people, fast to forgive is harder to put into practice.
Long ago another person dissed me. I held onto it for years and felt slighted. It felt very personal and I pointed the fingers outward. Then a chance came to connect, and we did. While we were not instantly close again, we both let the past go and chalked it up to a youthful misunderstanding. This person does not live near me, but I am confident if we now crossed paths there would be nothing but joy and friendship. The forgiveness on both sides was like the release of a weight.
A Brand New Day
This effort to let go of the past and to free all people from any negative thoughts or judgments is not something that can happen all at once. I have to take this journey one step at a time. I still can find myself rolling my eyes at the thought of some folks who may or many not have hurt my feelings. People have a weird way of impacting out lives. But as we get older I think it becomes easier to let things fade into oblivion.
I look now to all relationships as starting fresh. At least on my side of the fence. It is easy to laugh at myself. I look for my own flaws first, rather than the flaws of others. We all have our own “stuff” going on. When we remember that this journey of life becomes easier.
My year long adventure into the world of stand up comedy has had a profound impact on me. The comics I have met, and those I have studied from afar, often are amazingly honest about their struggles. Meanwhile in the rest of the world we strive to act as if we have nothing wrong. Ever. Instagram for most people is a highlight reel of humble brags (guilty as charged). But comedians tend to openly share their blemishes. One guy I have gotten to know posted a long share about his dark days and how he has navigated the rough spots. It was so raw and rare.
As I have begun doing stand up, attending comedy shows, and studying humor I laugh more often. Humor does set you free from a lot of the crap that comes along. The more I navigate my efforts to a “fresh start for all humans”, the more I smile. Looking for the funny in my daily life has been the single best lesson and lightens the weight of the B.S. we all have to carry sometimes.