If you keep two words in mind, you will be present with many of your most important issues. The first word is ‘means’. The second word is ‘ends’. Knowing what means you have available is very much like knowing how much money you have in your bank account. The more limited your means are, the more important it is to be aware exactly what they consist of, and how they fluctuate from one day to the next. Having an abundance of means implies that it’s less important to be vigilant. Ends are a slightly different matter. To be clear as regards to ends you must know and be honest with yourself. Hence, it would be suitable to consistently ask yourself what you want from any person, place or situation. That way you can keep in touch with who and what you are, which will in turn help you to evaluate whether you would like to be something or somebody different.
Proceed from your strengths, and keep an eye on your weaknesses. Easy to say, right? Not so easy to do. First, you must know your strengths. Next, you must admit to your weaknesses. It will help (at least to start with) if you think of yourself as having one strong foot and one weak foot. Then you should be conscious of how things came to be the way they are. If your stronger foot got to be that way because you favor it, then consciously using the weaker foot in its place more often should result in greater balance and a smoother stride — which will ultimately work its way up your being to make you more whole and hardy. Should your weaker foot have gotten to be that way because of injury or some other sort of affliction, you must first determine what kind of healing is possible. That way you will know if you need resign yourself to keep pushing off your stronger foot indefinitely, or just in the interim.
It appears as though you are developing a ‘nasty’ streak of common decency. Fortunately, there is no cure. This not to say you haven’t been a decent enough person up to now. Rather, you are about to plumb greater depths of the stand-up person you have always been. As with exploration of caves, you will probably have to overcome trepidation. It will mean sorting real from imagined risks in order to realize the potential you now have to reach those personal depths, and then return to demonstrate in public practice what you’ve found. Therefore, in your continuing evolution towards being a more truthful, just and trustworthy person than ever, be guided by your own resistance. You will not want to push yourself too hard all at once. Go back more than once, and just a little deeper each time, into discovering what is entailed when you do the right thing rather than just your thing.
Unless your situation is a matter of having to fight for survival, it’s probably not a good idea to choose conflict for the time being. Rather, select from three other possible responses whenever you feel an urge to respond with aggression. The first option is cooperation. As the saying goes, if you can’t (or shouldn’t try to) beat them, join them. By working to create with those you might otherwise oppose, it’s very possible to achieve gratification while also contributing to influence the nature of what is created. Where cooperation is not possible or appropriate, consider negotiation. Give a little in order to get a little. In the process, gradually establish and learn to maintain relationships so that negotiation can be either continuous or resumed at any given time. Finally, where cooperation and negotiation are not available, try practicing tolerance and give time a chance.
If you have had to endure loss this year, it should now be possible to assuage some of the pain that came with it. As your first order of business, be gentle with yourself. If you need to mourn, allow yourself plenty of time. If you need help with or guidance through the process of grieving, give yourself the gift of finding the assistance you need. At the same time, don’t be hard on yourself. Guilt and shame are probably not your friends. Neither should you be critical of yourself regardless of what role or responsibility you have had in bringing on whatever has brought you down. Regret exists to learn from it. Remorse is to be expressed so that you can move on. Lighten your load by giving yourself credit for having done what you can in the past. Proceed to do what you can now. Especially as regards to any form of consolation or compensation that is now making itself available, endeavor to meet it at least halfway.
Repetition can get old fast, especially for you, especially now. Therefore, where repetition is necessary, look to make it also refreshing — such as is (or should be) the case with bathing. On the other hand, any forms of recurrence or recitation that do not also confer a sense of renewal deserve the patient, yet judicious scrutiny that you are especially gifted at conducting. Purging in any form should not be a hasty matter, for once tossed is often lost. Even so, any form of reiteration that has not, in a long time, provided you with a return on the time and energy you are investing is probably not worth persisting with. Therefore seek to find a middle way between recklessly abandoning routine and reflexively attaching to it. Remember that the idea is to continuously improve the quality of your life. So ask yourself whether discarding a particular practice will, in fact, achieve that end.
If you are a bit uncomfortable in your own skin, the feeling will probably pass. Meantime, you might want to make the most of whatever restlessness you feel. Indications are you have at least two options. Which you choose should depend on whether excitement or relaxation is more appropriate for you right now. Either way, you will probably need to take some unaccustomed form of action to relieve what appears for all the world to be an uncharacteristic but fortuitous itch. If you think a bit of excitement will best serve to get whatever it is that’s bugging you out of your system, it would probably be better to try a thrill that does not carry the risk of bodily harm. In other words, better to perform at an open mike than bungee jump off a bridge. Should relaxation seem like the best way to float your boat into more comfortable waters, look to do it in familiar surroundings. Better a candlelight bath or three in your own tub than a single trip to the spa.
Put your powerful imagination to work by envisioning yourself in roles you have not yet dared to take on. For you, the most important part of your constructive daydreaming will be variety. Rather than becoming fixated on visualizing yourself as a rock star, for example, dare also to dream of being and doing many other things. As a matter of fact, no matter how strong your attachment to any particular fantasy, put it away after a day or two and allow yourself to move on to other reveries. That way, you will be maximizing the possibility of eventual fulfillment while minimizing the potential of ultimate disappointment. Unless your circumstances somehow dictate that you must soon settle on and manifest one — and only one — of the many possibilities you can see yourself becoming, take your time and wait until you have been through enough scenarios to be sure of which calls you with greatest certainty. This is not procrastination; it is finding your way. — by Len Wallick
Don’t allow any perceived lack of what you conventionally consider progress to get the better of you. To the extent that you can, be task (rather than timetable) oriented. Think of yourself as making a map rather than following one. If you can arrange to see your life that way for the next five or six months, you will avoid a lot of frustration and spare yourself a great deal of wasted energy. In other words, instead of being obsessed with trying to get somewhere, focus on accomplishing something. Let that thing you are making happen justify wherever you need to go and whatever you have to do to complete your task. That way, every cul-de-sac, blind alley or dead end you encounter can be welcomed, noted and recorded as an integral part of the greater whole — rather than be a cause for exasperation. Don’t worry, by this time next year you really will have gone somewhere, precisely because you did something first.
Expectations are not your ally, at least not for now. Better to have as few expectations of others as practicality will allow. It’s also a good idea to have only the most humble expectations of yourself. This is not to say you should abandon your ambitions or become some sort of spineless Casper Milquetoast. It is to say that you should consider making flexibility one of your highest aspirations. If you will but reflect on your experience over the last seven or eight years, it should be clear that being rigid has not been nearly as helpful for you as being supple has. Rest assured, the goals you have pursued have left you with erudition, skills and qualifications you will retain for a long time, even if you have actually attained some very different (and almost certainly very worthwhile) objectives. In fact, nothing will have been lost if you will but combine the admirable diligence you have already shown with a more pliant perspective on your life.
It does not suck to be you. Don’t go to that dark place except to laugh at it. You should not measure yourself according to conventional standards when, in fact, you have been unconventional. Neither is it in any way right or appropriate to upbraid yourself for having practiced your idiosyncratic ways even if others cannot or will not understand. As much as you have had to endure the pain of losing who and what you have lost to be who and what you are, you have almost certainly gained even more. At the moment those gains are probably not apparent. Rather, the accumulated stores of what your originality has built up are hidden, and not from you. There are unprecedented and (as of yet) untapped reserves of creative genius inside you. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find a way to access that genius without resorting to drugs, alcohol or other forms of self-destruction.
You probably have an excellent and widespread reputation for all the things you are best at. That’s your mountain and you have built it. For the sake of that formidable massif, don’t allow any detractors to provoke you into making their molehills of disparagement any bigger than they are. Outside of legal recourse against the most clearly actionable forms of libel and slander, your best bet is not to dignify your critics. Don’t spend any of your valuable time and energy defending yourself against their petty complaints. Rather, seek to widen the base of your achievements by exposing your best work to more people in more places. In addition, exercise the greatest care so that in any personal contacts you make, your character and not that of others is the focus. Finally, your mountain’s best bet against any forces of erosion is to continue growing even higher at a pace that no aspersions can keep up with.