It is imperative that I remind myself why I have chosen to live the life that I lead. I have not changed my life with the hope that others would change as well. The life I have chosen is not meant for anyone but me. I am not a preacher or a designer, and I ought not to find myself pushing unwanted advice on those that do not ask for it. I chose this life for myself, not for anybody else.
Throughout my recovery I have spent much of my time focused on how to best be of service to others; I have focused on the qualities of patience, honesty, reflection, and gratitude. I have learned how to be patient with myself and how to forgive myself for my mistakes. Though I make mistakes each day, I aim for discipline and focus my efforts on taking a non-judgmental approach towards others. I practice these things because I want to improve myself each day so that I may act in accordance with a quality of life that remains free from what I see as negative behaviors and the pitfalls of men like myself. With this in mind, I want to emphasize that it is I who wants this type of life, and that is my only concern. I didn’t choose this kind of life so that I may tell others the proper way to live – I only see it as the proper way for ME to live.
Why all of this ME/I talk? Aren’t you a little self-congratulatory? No, I don’t believe I am. In fact, the reason I bring this up and the reason I must remind myself to abide by this line of thought is so I do not become wrapped up in my ways, believing them to be the answer for everyone’s personal dilemma. To understand this type of life is to understand the importance of resisting the temptation to tell others where I believe they are wrong. In my understanding, I have invested my energy into this type of life precisely because I do not have the right to tell anyone how they ought to behave, nor do I have the answer; I have suggestions. It may seem to some that I hide behind these suggestions when I am setting the guidance on how to live a fulfilling life. But I assure you, I am here not because I want you to be like me. Rather I want to share the things that enabled me to discover who I wanted to be, keeping in mind that all I offer is a jumping off point.
I do not want to design anything for anybody; I want to give you the inspiration to make your life what you wish it to be. Further, my idea of what is important is mine alone. I value humility, modesty, and gratitude over the competition, personal wealth, and status but all that means is I have found that practicing these values makes me more productive and happy. I do not know what makes another person happy, and I do not wish to try to find out. It is simply not my battle to fight. There came a moment where I felt the need to control others had left me; I call it a spiritual awakening but I suppose it could be called whatever you wish. Whatever it is called, I can say that what I experienced enabled me to take hold of a life that I had been seeking – it completely changed my personal philosophy and allowed me to dive into the stream of life without indecision. What specifically changed was that as long as I practiced the principles that I value I no longer had to fight the urges I had fought my entire life. No longer was I oblivious to my pretension, my judgmental nature, my anger, and jealousy. I am no longer obsessed over how the world would work just perfectly, ever so effortlessly, if others would just follow my lead. This didn’t happen because I stopped caring about how others behaved – Rather I found comfort in how I lived my life and realized that most of my judgment, my bickering, and complaining, was an effort to make myself feel better about my shortcomings. This approach is rooted in the belief that absolutely no progress is made by forcing my beliefs on others. Nothing positive comes from belittling those that do not agree with me. In this light, if I were to tell others how they ought to live I am behaving in exactly the same way as I once had – My arrogance, false pride, pretension, and judgment would all return at full strength.
If I want to be a presence in other people’s lives the best way for me to behave is to live a life that I see fit for myself. If someone is attracted to this lifestyle of mine I am all for lending my advice. In fact, that is what I am doing here! None of my essays are meant to be a blueprint for anything – They are meant to share my story and the lessons I have learned. My writing is meant to be something to read over and pick a few ideas off for yourself if you wish. This brings me to perhaps one of the most important lessons I have learned in recovery: patience with others. At times I become so excited about my life and the prospects that lie within it that I find myself overwhelmed with emotion. I can talk for hours about what I believe to be essential tools to help lead me to a better life. I can become so enveloped in myself that I forget to how self-centered I am being. I wish I could say no ego is involved in my writing but of course there is. I am proud of who I am and there is a part of me that wants to bring it here like this is show & tell at an elementary school. However, there is not a part of me that wants to change you or believes that if you abide by my rules you will be happy. Back to patience though; What has become evident to me is the fact that I have been afforded the time to focus squarely on my own personal defects – I have spent almost all of my time finding new ways to live because I needed to find a new way to live.
I must have patience with others who wish to understand me; this patience is not one that is set on the assumption that over time others will become like me. I am not waiting or wanting for others to turn to me and say “I get it. You have set me free.” One, I am not that delusional to think that I can set anyone free from anything and 2. I do not know what people are looking for. My purpose is to live the life I have chosen and hope to be an active presence in the lives of others. For all of my flaws I want to stay the person that others know they can trust and depend upon. My purpose is to bring light into the lives of others, not to force anything. I wish to exude a quiet confidence that shows that I am not concerned with outside actions, only my own. I wish to be humble and always seek advice. I hope to continually recognize the areas where I am lacking and build upon them with the lessons from others – In doing so I want to lift the spotlight off of others and place it squarely upon myself. I do not wait for others to change, for I do not know what they need. I do not pretend to understand how this world works, I only know what makes life a positive pursuit for myself. I wish to give everything of myself expecting nothing in return – perhaps my past has made it possible for me to part ways with being reimbursed. Maybe I owe the world the whole of myself – but what I gain from giving is a life without fear, worry, and isolation. What I get in return is a life that I no longer want to abandon. A life that sparks inspiration in my mind and makes the morning seem filled with potential. Perhaps what I get is something you already understand – I get my first love.