On Being Human

Ups and downs, good days and bad are all part of living life. It won’t always be easy sailing. This doesn’t even take into account that catastrophe’s do happen in people’s lives. I’m simply talking about getting up and going about the same business you usually do, and just thinking and feeling, “Wow, this is a crappy day!” And you know what? It’s okay.

We aren’t always on top of our game. Take a look at any sports team and watch them, or the athletes, go through streaks and spells regularly. What I’ve noticed in the town I live is how hard the fans are on the team when they perform poorly, let alone for any length of time. With all that negative energy, I wonder how much more difficult it is to pull out of the slide?

Let’s face it; when having an off-day, recall the feeling brought on when criticism is aimed your way. Having the off-day, I’m already being tough on myself. That is a thinking problem getting in the way and exposing the wound even more – just waiting for someone to come along and stick a finger in. And when someone says something, the very words I’ve caught myself saying are reinforced and generate more negativity.

The days I’m more consciously together, I weather the bad day better. I ride the waves, my thoughts aren’t running wild, and I don’t let criticism have anything other than a positive effect – should I choose to entertain the criticism in the first place. That’s not running away from anything either, it’s simply recognizing where I’m at and creating the boundaries that respect that. Doing so also offers better opportunities in the future.

Believe me when I tell you, there is nothing worse than yammering at someone when your thoughts and feelings are getting the better of you. What disturbed me this week though, was something I heard from a seniors facility director: “As we get older we lose impulse control.” I didn’t quite know what she meant by that and asked for clarification.

When she interviews candidates wanting to work with seniors they are always asked, “What do you think of old people?” As soon as an answer, “They’re wonderful!” the interview is over. I was surprised to hear this and inquired further to learn that losing impulse control is about the tongue. Working with old people is very demanding and they can be surprisingly mean, with no curbing of the tongue, and no speed bumps to delivery. You have to know this going in, be prepared for it, and to understand where it comes from.

Impulse control… it may be clinically factual with the elderly, and yet something suggests it is equally evident among the general population and is also triggered by prolong periods of high-level stress. I have no fact, nor done any research to support this theory I’ve just stated. I call it a hunch, and looking at my runaway-mouth at times, I wonder. I smile as I say this, because a large part of what I’ve become is about authenticity.

I won’t say I always get it right, and even in that, I’m acknowledging this striving for authenticity. There are going to be days. Right? Being authentic and having intimate relationships are what I hear more people asking and demanding, while feeling an inability to be real. Talking with these like-minded people, it always links to a lot of belief systems that define what has become of our society, business ethic, political and world affairs.

There has been so much progress and striving for improvement, education, advancement, social status, wealth, and so on for generations. With so much focus on the winning, climbing, and achieving, I wonder if it is simply what I hear in the hints people suggest. “There isn’t enough time. I’m always exhausted. I hate my job. People are cold, or unavailable, or too busy.” The list goes on, I’m sure you’ve heard others. Doesn’t it all speak to a simple need to “relate” to one-another, to build intimate relationships, to experience community, and to know and be known?

The other day, I was reading the Meaning of Life wikipedia and found myself also eventually exploring The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy wikipedia page for Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. This is where the most advanced super-computer churns and churns to come up with the answer. When the answer “42” is delivered, it leaves more questions than answers. This brings the supercomputer to suggest that they now need to discover the Ultimate Question.

As I read God’s Will and The Meaning of Life a day or so ago, the message again resonated deeply. It is about Love, it is about Joy, and like the people feeling the longing, it is affirmed in their want for intimacy, for authenticity, and in the desire to relate to other human beings. It has me wondering if we’re now at a time, along the journey of mankind, where we can make adjustments for the continued advancement of humankind, society, and see what else good comes from healthy choices.

I’m wondering if isn’t time for us to learn more about being human, beginning with ourselves, and then with others, and adjust culture to embrace our fullness. I found it weird this word fullness forced its’ way in here, and had to reflect on it. The a-ha came almost immediately, recognizing that humanity – you and I – and how we relate will be different. We will create our fullness through these empowering experiences.


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