This is my suicide letter. As I write this, I wonder will the me I am now,
after all the pain I have had to grow through, disappear? If I tell you what I know,
will it change you enough to destroy my current self? Is that what I truly want?
Perhaps I should let you make all the mistakes, lose everything
you had to lose to finally realize your worth. Maybe I should let
the relationships fail, the loved ones die unexpectedly, the horrors of your
own despair carve your character from the sleeping
death wood of your coffin.
Dear Former Self, here are ten things I wish someone would have told me about sooner.
Number One: The Return Phase
Every classic protagonist has to leave home and
complete a journey in which she grows, but it’s the
return phase that makes her a hero. Yes, she leaves home,
the familiar world, all she has ever known. Yes, it is the values and beliefs
of her family and culture that she carries with her, that guides her through
the road of trials and helps her atone with her debilitating fears.
Yes, the hero does what ordinary people can’t, but it is the return
home afterward that makes her a hero. It’s bringing back the wisdom,
experience, and strength she gained from her journey to her village,
her community, her family that helps to raise the quality of life for all,
that grant’s everyone the freedom to live.
It is by giving to others, and in being of service to the
younger and weaker that she becomes a hero.
Number Two: Emotional Reasoning vs. Logical Reasoning
In every moment I have a choice of how to respond.
Depending on whether or not I give myself a moment
before I respond, the results of my reaction can be
beneficial or self-destructive. Typically, when I react to stimuli immediately,
my response is based on Emotional Reasoning, trying to remedy
or enhance a feeling. Emotional Reasoning is inherently selfish
and usually blinded because my first reaction is to serve what I want.
But if I give myself a moment to recognize my emotions,
take a deep breath, consider differing perspectives, and contemplate
potential outcomes, I am using Logical Reasoning. Nine times out of ten,
Logical Reasoning helps me to make better decisions. Logical Reasoning does not
exclude my emotions; it helps me look at other factors beyond what I immediately feel.
Number Three: You Are Your Dominant Thought Patterns
The thoughts you hold in your mind are reflected
in the world around you. This is why mindfulness is so important.
Consciously directing your thoughts towards your goals
and dreams will increase the likelihood of them becoming a reality.
Be careful, because the opposite is also true.
Worry, negativity, jealousy, envy will consume you,
and by giving negativity an open door in your mind, you invite it into your life,
to wither your ambition and potential each time you entertain them.
By simply learning to notice when your thoughts have strayed
or become negative, then willfully changing them back to your goals,
or reframing the negatives into inspiration for action, you generate positive change.
Number Four: Don’t Be Afraid of Your Emotions
Emotions tell us how we relate to the world around us; our relationships,
our environments, our choices, ourselves. We should welcome each feeling
in its due time, and know that we don’t have to react immediately.
We don’t have to run away from them nor give chase. We can listen to them
and appreciate how they inspire us as members of the human race,
for they are the bittersweet evidence that we are alive.
From them, we discover our deepest desires,
and we can share them with those we trust. Read The Guest House by Rumi.
Read lots of Rumi.
Number Five: Scarcity is an Illusion
Scarcity implies that there is not enough of something
for everyone to have. It divides people, putting us in competition with one another
rather than working together. It promotes a fear that says “I have to get mine
before everyone else takes it from me.” Be aware that societal systems
can create scarcity intentionally. It keeps people dependent on the system to provide
instead of looking to ourselves and one another. Don’t envy or pity
your neighbor’s lot in life. The only time you should consider what they have
is to make sure that they have enough. Scarcity only applies to the material world.
Look inwards, to the spirit; there is only abundance
and endless self- discovery to be found.
Number 6: Energy is the Greatest Gift
Energy is the greatest gift you can give and receive.
It comes in many forms: love, inspiration, music, art, feelings, thoughts, ideas…
Energy causes growth, creates change, perpetuates existence.
Energy is the vitality that sustains all life.
When you recognize the potential of those around you,
help energize their efforts to create. When others are hopeless,
share your strength. Revitalize. When you are exhausted,
look for sources of inspiration to replenish you.
Number Seven: Labels Limit
Avoid labels. People love to categorize and classify.
It makes us feel safe when we have a place for every
unfamiliar unknown to belong. Remember the outliers.
Question the labels put upon you. The ones you chose
and the ones others chose for you. Perfect fits are rare.
The entire range of human experience, thought, and feelings
are vast and conflicting. As soon as you take on a label,
you divide yourself from the rest of society. People are more complex
and ambiguous then societal labels. There will always be more reasons
to stand together rather than war over our differences. Look for them.
Number Eight: Objective vs. Subjective Truth
What is true versus the nature of truth can be tricky things.
Objective truth can be found through deductive reasoning.
By testing the verifiability of a claim and ruling out
all other possibilities until the remaining factor can finally be called “true.”
Subjective truths are innumerable. For this kind of truth, there are as many possibilities
as there are perspectives to experience a moment.
In both forms, the nature of truth must be observed from multiple angles.
Number Nine: Change You, And In Doing So Change the World.
You cannot change other people; you can only change yourself.
Many people have fixed ideas about what they believe
and what they want from life. No amount of pleading or arguing
is going to change another person’s perspective. It’s about living your truth
rather than telling others about how great it is. People are more impacted
by how another person conducts themselves versus what they say.
If you want others to agree with your opinions, model what you believe
in your lifestyle, those who like what you do will imitate it and make it their own.
This is far more effective than knocking door to door
and sharing your beliefs with others.
Number Ten: Practice Humility in Everything You Do
You will go on to do great things.
You will be fortunate enough to rise in wealth, status, and even power.
When you find yourself moving towards the top, always remember
what it was like when you started. Remember when you didn’t have as much,
and you relied on the help of family, friends, community, government.
When you rise in status, fame, and power, think of how you can use your prestige
to help the less fortunate rather than cementing your own personal gain.
That is the true nature of a leader. Life is hard, full of challenges, and suffering.
Life is also unpredictable. We are all susceptible to twists of fate; nothing is guaranteed.
Practice humility and gratitude.
Because you should always try to go above and beyond what is asked of you, here is
Number Eleven: Be Present
The moment is all there is. The past can be alluring.
Nostalgia fills us full of memories of fonder, simpler times,
sometimes tinged with sadness, regret, and loss. Regardless the past is unreachable,
unchangeable; it only serves as a reference point to continue growing from.
The future is unwritten, unknown, and comes with no guarantee
that it will include everyone, including you. The future is something we hope to see; we hope to meet with the best of ourselves that we can offer, but we should be careful
with our apprehension towards it, and with our full embrace of it.
The future should be taken on faith with a grain of realism.
The moment is all there truly is. It is at each exact moment when everything
has happened, and anything that could happen happens.
The mind transcends momentary existence, but in reality
all that is possible is bound to the steady reappearance of opportunity.
I hope this finds you well, even though I know you are not.
That’s the purpose of this letter.
Your self-obsession will eventually lead to spiritual growth.
The worst part is yet to be revealed.
The Resignation of Your Future Self