When there is something that someone wants, and wants badly, the general impulse it to go after it with everything you’ve got. The trouble is that though effort and persistence are needed to achieve your aim, too much trying or too much doggedness can lead to failure; and this can lead to the loss of excitement and healthy challenge that can make you truly excel and meet or exceed your expectations of yourself. A key to achieving ultimate success is to know yourself and your strengths and weaknesses, then to set goals and create your expectations within your ability to accomplish them without lending too much credence to others’ opinions. Only you can make any close to accurate judgements regarding your ability or lack of ability to contend with or reach for a specific thing and only you can make choices about what is success, what is almost success, and what has been a good try. If you bite off more than you can chew it is generally because you haven’t listened to what you really have to say to yourself or because you are acting on impulse, not giving considered thought to your choice. Will you be thinking before making any resolutions this year?
We may not always be feeling our best, we may find ourselves in awkward or negative positions, we may have suffered losses of many different kinds, but in general we will not let allow ourselves to descend past certain standards of behavior, grooming, or thinking. Maintaining a self-defined standard in which our dignity and a positive self-esteem are assured is necessary for survival and for the opportunity to effect a change in our circumstances. The majority of people do not choose to wallow in cosmic woe but are trying to work their way toward ever more positive and uplifting places that will create and upward spiral of more and more ambitious goals that lead to better and better outcomes. If we manage to cling to our standards when we are at or approaching our lowest point we stand a good chance at being able to maintain those standards more easily or to lift the bar higher for ourselves when we’ve conquered some of our demons and achieved some of our goals. A benefit we most often have no idea of is in our example of what can be accomplished when one doesn’t let go of self-respect and when one doesn’t stop making an effort to create and reach goals, no matter how small or mundane they may be. Isn’t creating and maintaining a set of standards crucial to your self-respect and self-esteem?
When all the fuss is over, when you’ve made plans, then completed them, when you’ve anticipated for such a long time… it’s hard for the event to have ended, whether it went well or badly. For no matter how emphatically we tell ourselves that we are creating no expectations, that we will not anticipate the reactions of others, that we will be prepared for any eventuality, we are not. No matter how much or how well we plan we are still dealing with people and people’s reactions cannot be accurately predicted; nor can their actions or their own plans. We can tell ourselves that we have no idea what others may be planning for us either; but we will have thought about it, and we can be disappointed if plans or gifts do not quite match what we’ve vigorously denied is in our head. Most of all we feel let down; our energy, creativity, and anticipation have nowhere to go for the time just after the longed-for event, because it’s gone, until we bestir ourselves to find something to look forward to and let the event just past stay there, in the past, leaving good memories and bringing lasting feelings of goodwill. Doesn’t recalling the memories of an event help to blow away the malaise of let down?
There are times we feel that we don’t know a familiar place at all: we don’t know the landscape, we don’t know the language, we don’t even know those who are or who have been closest to us. We feel a disconnect from the reality we have come to know as our own and can’t, for a time, sometimes a long time, bridge the gap that separate us from all that is comfortable and that used to feel just right. This can be caused by many things: small, short-lived things like fatigue or intense concentration, or by longer acting things such as an absence or ideological clash. For the shorter-lived things one generally needs only to wait and continue along one’s regular path and normalcy will reassert itself sooner or later. For longer term feelings of dislocation one must take a look at one’s core beliefs and evaluate any changes in actions or the direction one is, consciously or unconsciously, now going. It is good to check to see if your companions’ language or behavior has begun to mystify you or if your behavior or language has begun to mystify them. When one has begun to feel like a stranger in formerly familiar surroundings one can only take to heart what one has learned and move on to the next stage, don’t you think?
At just about this point in the holiday season many of us begin to think we will never make it through, we feel somewhat, or very much, out of control and have no idea what to do to make things better, not only for us, but for those around us. After all, this season is supposed to be about joy and celebration, of beliefs, families, loved ones; but it can get so frantic and frightful, with wounded feelings and smashed sensibilities looming all around us. And we still haven’t gotten all of “it” done. At the first sight or sense of these kinds of feelings it is wise to take a step back and ask ourselves why we’re doing whatever it is that is causing stress and contention; if we find that it isn’t crucial to our happiness or well-being, or of that of those we truly care about, then we should stop in our tracks and turn our attentions elsewhere. The point of the holidays is not to see that everyone except yourself is happy, well-fed, and overindulged, the point is that everyone feel merry and joyful, and you, too, are part of everyone. It is a time to allow yourself to float down the river, past the rapids, and to the calm, smooth water of enjoyment. I wish everyone the very best, myself included. Don’t you wish the same?
At the end of the day we may tend to feel all washed up; that our potential and talents have been used to their utmost but we haven’t seemed to accomplish much – and we know we have to start again and do it all over again, to the best of our abilities, tomorrow. We can end up feeling used, even by ourselves, and that life’s lustre has become dull; that life itself is dull. We’ve been tossed to and fro, with no apparent control of the situations where find ourselves and left immobile and unable to put a coherent thought together. It is possible to avoid at least some of these feelings, though a good wallow in woe can be valuable at times, through our own self-directed thoughts, that can lead to action, that leads to more thinking and planning. Instead of letting circumstances toss us like a salad, we can look around to see where we are, choose a direction, and go. Instead of abrogating all responsibility for ourselves we can choose to speak up about how we feel and what we want. Instead of lying empty and used like a shell on a beach we can choose interest in the world around us and make a specific place for ourselves. Shouldn’t we be making our own choices for our own selves?
Once we get used to something, it’s familiar; once something is familiar it is no longer threatening by its strangeness or its oddity. If there is no way to avoid being around something or someplace different than we’re used to we become habituated to that new or different thing. Then, when we’ve become habituated, we assume that everyone will like, understand, or want what we’ve become familiar with and consider normal. We find it very hard to understand when our lifestyle or way of thinking is rejected by others. We very seldom stop to think that, of course, they are habituated to their own lifestyles and frequently we will reject theirs in turn. This can become a damaging cycle that leads to more and more and greater and greater misunderstandings until someone takes those misunderstandings and creates threats or worse from them. It would be so much easier for those of us who want to stay indoors when it’s cold to do so and not to deride or question those who would rather be outdoors. Preferences are not a matter of right or wrong, they are simply preferences and should not be taken as a personal statement to a specific person or group. If you like & prefer what is familiar to you, won’t you let others like & prefer what is familiar to them?