Learning Never Stops

I’ve learned a few lessons in the past couple of weeks.  I have irritated myself with mistakes.  I have been disappointed by how I react to people or situations.  But in the end I have learned various lessons.  I observe myself during situations, realizing I am acting in specific ways – in ways that I wish I didn’t, but didn’t have the courage to act otherwise.  Afterwards, I looked back, and knew the mistakes I had made.  They were very clear.  I thought about how I would react the next time something similar happens, and I hope that I am able to react in a way that I would be happy with.

Most fears come from how I think people will think about me.  It happens everyday.  How will they look at me when I pick my son up from school?  I have visible tattoos in a society that doesn’t accept them.  What will that person think when I remind them of something they owe me?  Will they think I am a greedy person?  Even if they did, why should I care?  I know in my mind, what is right for me.  What other people think – or more specifically, what I think other people think – about me should really have no bearing on my own life.  BUT, yet it does.  It prevents from being me.  Actually, it is just me that is preventing myself.

Stuff happens in life, but it’s not the stuff that happens, but how we react to it that is most important.  The things that have happened to me in recent weeks are like signals from myself to indicate that I am unhappy with an aspect of myself.  The occurrences are indications that I need to change something, I need to learn something, I have some of deficiency, or some kind of ignorance.  Feelings of pain, anger, irritation, annoyance, bitterness, stubbornness are the feelings of growth.  The old cliche, no pain, no gain is literally true.  Without some kind of death, there is no life.

Every time some challenge occurs, something that I struggle with, something that bugs the hell out of me; these are little deaths.  The death of some kind of innocence, something I did not forsee, something that had to die in order for me to grow.  The thing is, there will always be these kind of deaths, some larger and more destructive than others.  I will learn to keep dying.

Months ago, I told myself that I need to make mistakes in order to learn.  And now, the fruits of my labour are being born.  Mistakes have been made, lessons learned, growth achieved.  These things are part of what makes me an adventurer.  What makes me feel uncomfortable will surely help me grow.  I don’t think I have ever achieved anything useful in a zone of comfort.  And I could point to times of discomfort where I learned the most about myself.

And that’s kind of what it’s all about: learning about myself.  learning what I am capable of.  Yes, it really is a hero’s journey, and I wouldn’t change it for anything else.

Undefined Feelings

What I want to do is describe why exactly I feel the way I do about a particular situation.  But I have been having difficulty defining the reason for the emotions I have.  It’s probably not appropriate to divulge specifics in this space either, but I do need an outlet, and that is the main reason this blog exists.

The situation involves people I have known for over a year.  It involves agreements, and money.  It involves time and planning.  Somewhere – and I’m pretty sure I know the place – there was a miscommunication.  And that was probably my fault.  When it comes to discussing money, in particular money that someone will pay me for some kind of service I will provide, I have a block.

That block prevents me from being clear.  It stops me from saying exactly what I think I am owed.  I take into consideration other peoples opinions of me.  Like, am I worth that amount of money?  Do I need to provide the best of that particular service for them to appreciate me?  What if they are not satisfied?  These questions are a result of a lack of confidence in myself.  It is a dismissal of the core values that I believe I hold close.  It is a subconscious refusal to believe that I am worth what I expect.

It is only within the last year or so that I have even begun to question my own paradigms.  It had taken me close to 40 years(!) to realize that I am worth exactly how much I define myself to be worth. Until recent years, I chronically undervalued myself.  I would feel ashamed, embarrassed, or unworthy to accept money for a service that I provided.  My worldview in relation to money was in large part formed by my penny-pinching parents, especially my father (RIP).  It was framed in such a way that I viewed cheap things as valuable: the cheaper the better.  So when I began to provide services for clients, that ‘cheaper is better’ worldview shaped my expectations of how much money I should receive.

And that led to uncomfortable situations that occurred when I needed to discuss with a client the price of my services.  I used phrases like, ‘If it’s OK…….’, or I know it’s a little expensive, but….’. Discussing money with people has always been a challenge.

Now I look at receiving money as an exchange for my time.  And my time has become increasingly more important.  My son requires my time.  So does my wife.  I need my own time.  When it comes allocating time to people I love, I never seem to have enough.

Anyways, long story short, I recently had a problem with an exchange of services for money.  What I expected was vastly different from what the other person’s expectations were.  And now, with the time coming closer to the requirement of my services, there is an uncomfortable feeling within me.

I think it is a battle of the past me with the new me, and the resulting emotions playing out within.  The old me says to suck it up, and accept what has been offered.  The new me says Fuck that!  Have some pride!  Don’t settle!  I wish it were that easy, as the situation is slightly complicated and involves other people who are depending on me, and really are not involved in the financial aspect of the situation.

If anything, I have learned a huge lesson from this.

And that is something to be thankful for.  Part of growth and development is making mistakes.  I definitely made a mistake in not defining exactly how much I expected, and that is something I can grow from.  My undefined feelings then are a mix of dissatisfaction, annoyance, uselessness, etc.

Gotta change. Grow. Learn.

Just Walk Away


Sometimes I encounter little tests.  How I react to these tests takes me a step closer, or a step farther away from the kind of person I want to be.

I have changed in the past few years.  I used to let my emotions take control of my ability to rationalize, so that I would simply respond to such ‘tests’ with anger, jealousy and spite.  My late father provided the earliest examples of how NOT to deal with situations that had the potential to evoke such negative feelings.   I was not immune to the rage that flowed through his blood and infected mine.  I didn’t have the strength to resist my own urges.  There were times I cowered in fear of his reactions, and in turn, I have laid bare  the raw reactions that come from anger, irritation, annoyance.  In doing so, I have also instilled fear in those I love.  Afterwards, I saw clearly the consequences of letting emotions drive my reactions, and I regretted them to no end.

But like I said, I have changed.  I no longer succumb to the dark side of emotions.  I do not let myself engage.  It takes an enormous amount of restraint to not let my feelings wash over me.  In those moments, I breathe deeply.  I concentrate my breaths, allowing the rhythmic motion of my chest to calm me down.  I keep my mouth shut, or I lower my voice to low whisper, evoking in myself a feeling of calm, rationality.  I examine the person I am arguing with.  I tell myself, I cannot control what they do or think.  I can only control myself.  I force myself remain quiet, in control.  Yes, I tuck my balls between my legs, and run away from myself, because it is myself that I fear:  The irrational child within me who cannot see beyond his own desire to win, the desire not to lose, the desire to hurt.

I can only control me.  Sometimes that is difficult, but the consequences of not doing so are at best unpleasant, and at worst, harmful.  So I step back, look at myself, feel the swell of emotion rising up, and I bat it back.  I resist the urge to confront.  Because in the end, I have only myself to confront, and that is challenging enough.

I just walk away.