It’s not about you

I know I have mentioned this before, but I get frustrated at people very easily.  It’s a huge flaw, a giant flaw, a flaw that I really try to work on.  As I try and work through this flaw of mine I have come to realize that I get frustrated at the selfishness of other people.  I just want to yell at people, “it’s not about you”.  The world isn’t about us.  I know its easiest to put ourselves first in this world, but when you think about it we are a blip, each and every person is just a tiny blip in the history of the world.  We should be striving to make the world better instead of trying to make the world serve us.

Don’t get me wrong, i am no saint, i am far far from being  saint.  I am not perfect.  I will never claim to be perfect.  I made a realization a long time ago that I could never be happy if I continued to think I was the center of the world.  I searched a lot for the peace that I felt I needed to be happy and in that search I found the teaching of Buddhism.  I am now a Christian, I have been for about three years, but I still cling to many of the Buddhist philosophies that are actually the philosophies of many religions that have been forgotten or passed over.  The thing that really struck me was that in order to be at peace you need to put others first.  I learned to ask several very important questions, like how are my actions effecting those around me?  Will my actions hurt those around me or hurt myself? is what i want congruent with what is best for the world?  Will I be hurting the Earth? Questions like that.  My answers always came in the form of this; if my actions are hurting myself or my environment then i need to change them, if they are hurting myself then i need to find an alternative that does not hurt others, or perform those actions and take the suffering myself.   It is not in my power to decide that someone else should suffer for my own well being.  I apologize when i have wronged others despite my own pride, and that hurts.  Going against your own pride is very painful.  It’s also cathartic.  The one that I have not been able to get past though is not expecting things from others, or not being upset when others disappoint me,  I think this is where my frustration towards others comes in.  I think I expect everyone to ask themselves these same questions and come up with these same answers.

How has my life changed because of this? I try to be very careful about the things I say about other people.  Do i succumb to mindless gossip?  Oh heck ya.  There are people who annoy the crap out of me and I would love nothing more than to tell everyone about why I don’t like those people, but I know better than that.  I also know that if i did I would have to apologize to them at some point, so I keep those thoughts to myself because I am not ready for that.

I also have dietary restrictions.  They aren’t life threatening, I don’ have an allergy, i will not end up in the hospital, so when I am with other people and they are offering their hospitality in the form of food I forgo my dietary restrictions for their own comfort.  I get upset when I spend time and energy on meals for other people only to have them not eat it for various reasons, I know how much it hurts me and I would never wish that on another person.  I follow my dietary restrictions when i am home but I will never force them on another person.  When people come to my house though they can be sure that 99% of what they are eating is preservative free.

I have very strong beliefs on how the world should work, and how other people should treat each other.  I believe that you should care about yourself and what you put on or in your body.  I do not believe that your own personal beliefs should cause harm to those around you.  A fellow business person caused me to lose quite a few of my clients over a personal belief that she had which she chose to share publicly, not even considering how it would effect my business.  Due to her actions I chose not to purchase from her business.  Do i tell others not to?  No i would never do that.  I know this hurt, I know how it feels for people to take away business and I would never do that to another person, no matter how much I want to.  I also know that someday I will purchase from her again, because I know that it’s what is right, but not while the wound is still fresh.  I don’t need an apology from her, i need to forgo my own hurt pride.

When C started working at his other job, the one that screwed him over, one of the first things he did was get raises for the workers under him because he felt they needed it and deserved it more than him.  They had been there longer and were getting barely over minimum wage.  He could have taken the raise himself, he could have done what other managers have done and take the hours himself and cut his coworkers hours when it got slow, but he didn’t because he knew what was right, and I know that God works things out. if we follow his will and put others first we wont forgo suffering, but He will cover us somehow, and He always has.

Lastly I try to make sure that my own personal beliefs do not damage the environment.  I recycle as much as I can or purchase things in reusable or recyclable containers.  Our family of 4.5 (one is a part time child) produces 1 bag of trash (kitchen bag, not 33 gallon bag) every 2 weeks.  I started looking at our trash and what we were throwing away and realized that I was throwing away a lot of things that could be reusable.  We use cloth diapers for our children.  It takes more energy for me to clean them, but I am not adding to the diaper waste in landfills.  It also only adds an extra $5 of water a month to our bill.  I also don’t wash them in bleach.  I wash everything in a washing soda, borax, and dawn mixture.  It is amazing.  My clothes have never been so clean.  I also clean the house with hot water, white vinegar, and dawn.  We haven’t bought paper towels in over 2 years.  I have a stack of small washcloths I use to clean with.  I also have a stack of softer washcloths i use for baby wipes that i wash with the diapers.  Our milk comes in glass jars, i typically don’t put vegetables in the plastic bags at the grocery store unless they are small and i have to.  We buy very little packaged food and what we do buy the packages are recyclable.  We compost everything that we can, including our Christmas tree once we take it down.

This is where my annoyance for others come in.  I know it’s wrong, I know it’s actually selfish of me to feel this way, but it gets me so aggravated.  I have my personal beliefs, and they are my personal beliefs.  I frustrates me when I watch other people say they share in those beliefs but they do it in a selfish way.  They force others to compensate for those beliefs, they make others feel inferior for not sharing those beliefs, or they only follow the beliefs that directly pertain to themselves and their own well being.  I want to tell them that they missed the point.  it’s not about you.  it’s never about you.  It’s about doing what’s best for the world around you.  You can’t say you love others and in the same conversation put them down or make them feel inferior. it’s a half-assed attempt to do what you know is right.  Have faith that if you do what is right things will still work out in the end.  It will at least bring you peace.

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