“If it is not right, do not do it, if it is not true, do not say it.” – Marcus Aurelius
Whenever I find myself fucking up in life it's always rooted refusing to accept reality. And boy is reality not ok with this. (Yes, I just anthropomorphized reality. Deal with it).
It doesn't matter if you're denying external reality, i.e. trying to see the world as other than it is, or denying internal reality, i.e. denying yourself self, both sides of the equation result in equally disastrous results.
Case and point, this past week I found myself blowing up on someone I care about because I wasn't being "honest with myself". I had spent too long trying to be something I'm not, which much to the detriment to my friend, bubbled out into a not-so-pleasant exchange.
My personal favorite flavor of reality distortion is seemingly well intentioned and never effective. What flavor you ask? Why, noble self sacrifice of course.
I say, "yes", when what I actually mean is "hell no", and I do "the right thing" for others even when I don't want to.
"Self righteous" is probably a better term for this pattern come to think of it...
And we've all been there; we do it because it's what we're "supposed" to do. Or "supposed" to say. It's the kind thing or what civilized people do. We all tell white lies, right? We go along with the flow even if what we actually want to do is be as unflowy as possible.
But this doesn't work. Not really.
Not long term and often not even short term. When you say or act other than what you feel and think, a little bit of resentment builds inside you. It's not a lot and it's effects are minimal, but it'll sit there and grow and grow until you pop like an over inflated balloon.
Whenever you act according to someone else's standards instead of your own, you feed your resentment a little more. And insidiously enough, those other "other standards" are often so internalized we don't even know what is ours vs other (more thoughts on this here).
But it doesn't matter. Days, weeks, years, or even decades later–that resentment will always end up 'ploding. Whether imploding or exploding, the 'plosion is real. We're just not capable of living by beliefs we don't agree with deep down.
So rather than being somewhat miserable, somewhat self-resenting, somewhat other-resenting, just be you.
Ok, I know that's a silly Mr. Rogersesque approach to life but it's also quite true. You do you. Don't worry if you're being selfish. If you're being selfish, at least be HONEST about it with yourself! I feel selfish! So what? It's better than feeling selfish AND being in denial.
Just be you. It's really going to be ok. Pinky promise. People will still like you. And some other people won't. And that's ok too.
Whether it's your external reality or your incessant, lovable and hateable internal voices, just accept reality please. Don't try to distort/avoid/deny/justify/blame/refute or otherwise disagree with reality. You won't win and you'll just make yourself and those around you suffer.
And hey, if you struggle to accept reality, don't worry–it'll always be ready to shitslap you back into humility!