I don’t know about you guys, but I spend so much time having the same problems. I worry about the same stuff over and over. No matter how much money I have, I worry if it is enough. I worry about whether or not I’m being a good enough parent whether we are playing in the park or I am irritably refusing to listen to one more monologue about the mages of Skyrim because my head feels like exploding. (Yes, I speak video game). Mostly I worry about breaking my child. I worry about whether or not I’m doing the right stuff for my business a whole bunch. I had a car that was falling apart and I worried about getting stranded on the side of the road so much that I traded it in, and now I have a lovely car with a fantastic warranty! So I worry now about all the new debt.
Circumstances change, but what stays the same is that I will worry about it. You bet I will.
So I said at the beginning of this post that I didn’t know if you did this sort of thing, but I lied.
I know you do it. I know for a fact that you worry unneccesarily and incessantly.
I know it, not because I’m peeking in your windows, but because it’s just what we human freakshows do. Every last one of us.
Have you ever heard of Sydney Smith? Yeah, I hadn’t either. He is an old cleric from the early 1800’s and he wrote some smart things down. And I only know who he is because of Wikipedia, because I looked him up to make sure I wasn’t accidentally quoting a serial killer or Tea Party member or something, so phew, he is a British guy from a long time ago who said this:
Human beings cling to their delicious tyrannies and to their exquisite nonsense, till death stares them in the face.
I know, right?
Think about it.
We walk around assuming we don’t like or want our problems, but we actually LOVE them. They are our best fucking friends. They are the bad relationship we can’t leave because it’s what we know. They are the comfort zone of our discomfort. We don’t let our tyranny out of our sight because we think it is delicious.
But I don’t love my problems, Meg, you weirdo!
Yeah, I know you are saying that because I’m totally peeking in your window right now.
Can you see me? I’m tapping on the glass and mouthing the words, “Stop arguing. You do too like your problems.” Because whatever you are complaining about right now, whatever you wish you could change? You actually know what to do to change it, and you are not doing it. Or you aren’t doing it for long enough, or consistently and you quit at the brink of success so you have to start all over. There is some way that you are sabbotaging or stagnating or the thing would be a done deal. You know you can’t argue with that. Because there you are. Still wanting.
You have become the person who has always wanted to be healthier, change your job or relationship, stop being reactive when your kid does that one thing that you have vowed to be patient about again and again, stop worrying so much about what people think, whatever your thing is. Rather than the person who is.
That it is your delicious tyranny. Your comfort zone. The evil that you know. It’s habits. It’s human.
So let me ask you this.
Who would you be if you were not the person always trying to do the thing that never happens?
What would happen if you actually got the thing you originally set out to wanting?
Who would you be if you were not habitually in self improvement?
Who would you be if you just did what you needed to do to get where you want to be?
Or you decided that you were already okay? Because you really don’t have to change at all, you know. You could just stop wanting to.
That’s a lot of questions and I’m running out of air.
The obvious answer is, that you would still be you. Because I’m not trying to feed you some kind of flowery version of future perfection. Like if you just stop it already you will FINALLY be free of any problems at all and just be extremely cool and sexy all the time.
You will never be David Hasselhoff. Deal with it.
But the extremely great news is that if you take a leap of faith into the untamed and unwritten unknown, if you choose to take a different track and persist through and past your old habits, if you do whatever it takes…you will be a freer version of you.
And freedom is kind of like the whole point, you know, being able to actually have a say in your behaviors and the outcomes once in a while. Being able to take responsibility for your bullshit. Being free to know what the hell you are doing and why is a big deal, you guys.
Being self aware actually does make you way cooler and sexier, by the way.
Also, deciding to overthrow the inner dictator and stop the tyranny will solve some of your problems and you will get some things you want.
Of course, full disclosure – once you solve your current problems, you will then get some new problems.
But, let’s be honest, having the same problems forever, circling the same wheel, is so boring.
So at the very least you get new problems! Not boring!
And you will get more sexy, sexy self awareness. And maybe you will, you know, grow.
Asking questions opens doors. So the next time you find yourself worrying about the same old thing, doing the same drama and boring yourself (and all of us) to tears with it, you might ask yourself, who would you be without that suffering?
Who would you be if you didn’t have your precious pain? Your delicious tyrannies?
Neon Art piece by t Bruce Nauman