It was about three years ago, when I turned 35, that I taught myself one of the most life-changing lessons (and secrets) about the human experience:
That 100% of the time, no matter what anyone else says to me or about me, I always get to decide whether or not I will allow that person to hurt my feelings, insult me, or disrespect me. Similarly, it’s always a choice as to whether I will forgive another person, regardless of what they have done.
Imagine the freedom that I have been able to appreciate these past few years knowing this unspoken nugget of wisdom: That I alone control how I feel in relation to other people… unless I allow them to control me.
That bit of information is one of the greatest gifts I have received in my life so far. If only I could have known this all along!
Contrast that to the illusion that most people live in: Most people, by default, believe this about themselves:
“I’m a good person. Well, I may not be a saint, but at least I’m not an ax murderer.”
This mindset is generically based on the ideologies of Buddhism and Hinduism. Ultimately, people rely on the flaky concept of karma to determine what good things they do deserve in life and what bad things they don’t deserve in life.
Here’s the problem: Karma, in this understanding, doesn’t actually exist.
Children have terminal cancer. Meanwhile, white collar criminals go unpunished their entire lives because they have the luxury of being called politicians.
Most people make themselves constant easy targets to be offended or disrespected because they believe they are moral people who “deserve better”, while they ironically deny the fact that only they alone decide whether another person offends or disrespects them.
Here’s where I’m at in life:
I don’t see myself as a good person or a bad person. I am a person.
I make good decisions and I make bad decisions.
I don’t deserve good and I don’t deserve to escape bad. I ultimately can’t control those things as much as I would like to.
Instead, I can control my own emotions; especially in regards to how I react to other people.
As goofy as it sounds, being a YouTuber and a blogger for the past several years has taught me this:
People in the comments section are constantly hoping to label me as one of the following:
Wrong, ignorant, and/or immoral.
I feel that in the real world, it’s the same way. People are insecure within themselves and haven’t fully figured out their own identity, so they look for people who will get offended, insulted, or allow their feelings to be hurt when it is applied they are wrong, ignorant, and/or immoral.
So imagine the power you have when you are instantly ready to agree with a person like that:
“You’re right: I’m wrong. I’m ignorant. I’m immoral.”
Man, I wish somebody would have taught me this stuff about 30 years ago!