People get so wrapped up in the processes of life that they forget the fundamental reasons for living. Often times in the last couple weeks I’ve heard that living for the self is wrong or evil. Certainly if you’re living in a destructive selfish manner, that gives no regard to the consequences that might be suffered by others, then you’re doing something drastically and fundamentally wrong. But, in my humble opinion, to live for the self in a manner that generates symbiosis throughout your and the lives of people directly associated with you cannot be wrong OR evil.
First and foremost a person must live for the self. If you don’t practice this fundamental truth within your own mind then you will live in contradiction and ultimately find yourself battling a self imposed war within yourself against your self.
To be clearer, the self is what leads forth into the world and presents itself through action. But to do this requires carefully formatted values. In order to attain a healthy set of values one must take personal inventory on a daily, if not momentary basis. In doing this it’s important to remember that taking inventory alone is not enough, as an inventory is simply a list of what is. The way to successfully evaluate the legitimacy of your values, you have to analyze the relevance of every action and concentrate on being fully aware of the effects of those actions as well as the basis of the thoughts that led to the decisions which enabled you to act in these moments.
Once you’ve learned to be self-aware in this fashion you begin to realize ways in which you can co-exist with other personalities in your daily physical realities. As such, and because life moves at it’s own rapid pace which we have no control over, living then becomes a dance of sorts. You learn to weave your way through the crowd toward your own preconceived destinations. However, this is another topic in and of itself; conceiving your destination.
If you don’t have a clear, or at best, basic idea of where you’d like to be, you’re going to find yourself careening off of most personalities in the crowd with the exception of those who share your own lack of clarity; after all, misery loves company. But there is an unbelievably simple place to start in order to give yourself a base to move forward from when it comes to understanding your destination.
In today’s world it is quite easy for people who’ve not begun their life in the fast paced technological world to become overwhelmed. The solution is in the inventory. You can’t let the world live you, you have to learn to live within your own personal world, demanding within yourself the patience to go back to square one, if you will. This is the simple place to start I was speaking of. Find for yourself one basic thing that you can stop, take a breath and remind yourself is the most important idea of your life. For me it’s freedom. When my moments start to swell and roll like the waves of the ocean I remember that I’m free, and with this notion I can float. And if I get slammed into the silt because of the turbulence of that wave, I have no control over that. And I have to remind myself that I can’t despise it because it is what it is. All I can do is hold my breath and ride it out. And I’ve ridden this wave enough times that I know that I CAN and WILL ultimately ride it out.
Perhaps that’s a drastic analogy for some because when a person imagines being rocked by such a wave they loose hope and forget to give themselves credit for being able to ride it out and persevere. Think of it this way, though; how many waves have you ridden where you thought, “God, how am I going to make it through this one and why can’t you just dip your hand into the water, lift me up and drop me on the sandy beach so I can catch my breath.” And here’s the kicker, you forgot to look back once you were on the beach and realize, “fuck, I made it! I’m going to be okay.” You have to remember to remember these moments. Don’t shut them out. Go back in your mind to the times in your life when you thought for sure there was just no way out and remember, here you are, and you made it out. You woke to find another day had dawned, and you’re alive and okay. And you’re free!
So what values can give you the tools to achieve this square one mentality? The value of the self! It’s not selfish to consider your own happiness first and above all others. It’s unhealthy to not consider what actions in this pursuit might be detrimental to the health and well being of the people around you, whether you love them or hate them. But considering your own self-worth and happiness above all else is quite healthy. And you cannot live without considering the self. That being said, your starting point is deciding that regardless of who might seem to be attempting to take away your self-worth and your individual right to life, love, freedom and happiness, you inevitably have to realize that you DO have this right, and you ARE worth pursuing it.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in your life that might have had adverse consequences, you have to learn to accept that what was done in the past is over and you’re living for yourself and you’re doing that living right now, today. Learn that if you forgive yourself and live life in a righteous fashion, with your own personal joy, success and contentedness as your foremost goals, then the forgiveness for anything you might have done previous, if you harbor such guilt’s, will come naturally from anyone you might need to commit reparations with. And if it seems they can’t forgive you need to realize it is because they have their own indiscretions they’ve not forgiven themselves of. It’s important to remember this fact so that you can remember to, most importantly, forgive yourself. When you do this you establish the value or righteousness in its purest form.
At this point you now can realize that you have established two values: 1) the value of personal happiness and 2) the value of living righteously. Once you’ve established these two fundamental values you now have the tools to decide to live every moment for them. And fear not stepping out onto that path. Anyone and anything worth knowing and having will gravitate to you when you walk in these values.
And now back to the most important and basic step; inventory. Once you’ve established an inventory and prescribed your acceptance and deserving of your fundamental values you cannot forget to continue inventorying. Keep a journal, take moments throughout the day to take a break, step back and evaluate if you’re living every moment to the most positively best fashion, analyze whether, even if you’re day is going swell, there are things that perhaps you could have noticed or maybe done differently that would have had a greater impact on you and the people around you. Remembering that your freedom and happiness flow forth from your own decisions, and that your decisions affect the surroundings of not only yourself, but the rest of the people in those surroundings, will help you take these inventories in a fully functional and honest fashion. And the more you practice these inventories on a daily, at the least, and momentary basis, the more fluid your life will become. And with fluidity comes prosperity. And with prosperity comes self-worth. And with self-worth comes happiness.
Taking these inventories should, by natural effect, help you to acknowledge when a situation has become stagnant and therefore unproductive. These are the moments when you have to go back to your basic values and realize that you’re worth more than this ugly situation and it’s time to accept that you have the right and the ability to move beyond an ugly situation. Don’t allow yourself to fall into that pit of stagnation because you fear what unknown’s might be elsewhere to be sought or because you fear that you might fail if you step out to seek them. Remember, you’ve ridden this wave umpteen times and somehow made it out. Maybe it’s because God had his hand dipped in the water to not let you sink deeper than your breath could stand, or perhaps it’s because you’d not learned to credit yourself with being able to ride whatever wave the tides of life might push at you. Either way, here you are, and you’ve made it through before.
So if you decide to step out and be worth finding what life has to offer, beyond the fear of the unknown, remember you’ve weathered anything up till now and can do more beyond that. And though we don’t always pay attention, there are ALWAYS people ready and willing to help lift us up, if only we’d accept that it’s okay to reach out for their hand so long as we’re striving for the next best and righteous thing for ourselves. Also, so long as we’re aware of the need to surround ourselves by such people in order to combat stagnation and that misery that everyone’s always reminding us who loves company. Don’t be afraid. Be an example, you’re worth it!
Scott David James.