Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"What's Wrong with Me?"

“The biggest enemies of willpower: temptation, self-criticism, and stress. (...) these three skills —self-awareness, self-care, and remembering what matter most— are the foundation for self-control.”

Kelly McGonigal

“We are never so much disposed to quarrel with others as when we are dissatisfied with ourselves.”

William Hazlitt

“We are all failures- at least the best of us are.”

J.M. Barrie

“What is wrong with me?”
That’s what I said yesterday when I realized I was misread an e-mail and was late for an appointment.  I was frustrated and embarrassed, because I’ve made this kind of mistake before.    I’ve made all kinds of mistakes before, many more than once.  I’ve wasted time, made mistakes, hurt people, been rude, been lazy, indulged in drama and failed in ways big and small.
What is wrong with me?
I’m selfish and sinful and lazy.
What is wrong with me?
Nothing is wrong with me.  Sometimes the way I behave or react or complain is wrong.  Sometimes my choices are wrong.  But nothing is wrong with me.  Or you.  Buddhism teaches there is no sin, only mistakes.  I think there is sin.  And I think we all participate in it.  That doesn’t mean we have to though.  We have choices. 
Sometimes I make mistakes.  I’ve hurt people or missed appointments because I’ve made mistakes or misunderstood or didn’t have enough information, experience, maturity, or wisdom.  I did the best I could at the time, but it just wasn’t sufficient. 
Then there were the times I knowingly and intentionally did wrong.  This could have been anything from petty theft when I was 12 years old to being lazy in my 20’s to exceeding the speed limit yesterday.
What’s wrong with me?
The first answer is I’m human.  This is not an excuse, a rationalization, or a plea for sympathy.  But it’s the truth.  I’m human.  I mess up.  Perhaps unintentionally or perhaps not.  But I do.  We all do.  And there are only two responses to this.   I can make amends when possible or I cannot repeat my offenses.  But I’m going to mess up as long as I’m on this side of eternity.  This answer leads me to the next answer.
What’s wrong with me?
I’m human.  I mess up.  But I’m also a creation, a beautiful creation.  I was created, created consciously and deliberately by a Force, a Spirit, that is not human, that is greater, wiser, and more loving than me.  In addition, I’m not just a collection of sins and mistakes.  My shortcomings are not who I am.  They are what I do.  Who I am is different.  I am gifted.  I am beautiful.  I am kind and good.  I work hard.  I am here for a reason.  I have a Purpose.
Focusing on what is wrong with me rarely fixes what is wrong with me.  Focusing on what is right about me, what is good in me, is the path to healing and the path to improvement. 
So what is wrong with me?  Nothing is wrong with me that God, my Muse, Purpose and some work can’t fix.  I just need to Get Started and Keep Going.