I miss my friend
Let me tell you about my friend
Wow! So self-expressive. My friend would start dancing just any time of day. They didn't care who was around. You could always tell what they were feeling from their face and the energy in their voice and body.
When my friend would spend time with me, I always knew they loved to be with me. If I said goodbye too soon and they were unhappy, it was only a short time and they would happily forget about me until the next time we got together.
So spontaneous. They would do this, do that. Have fun with everything. They had no trouble asking me for what they wanted and saying "no" to me if they didn't want something. Sometimes, when I would say "no" to my friend, they might ask twice and then forget about it.
And what curiosity and creativity! They would come up with the craziest things to try or do. And sometimes they worked!
My friend would make friends with others almost instantly. They seemed to just assume others would like them too. It was as if they believed they were the most important and delightful person in the world and why would anyone not want to have fun with them?!
Sometimes my friend would get angry with me. It was just like a storm cloud that came and went quickly in a few minutes. Then we were the best of friends again.
And such energy! Where did it all come from? Let's do this. Let's do that. From morning to bedtime. My friend was my idol and continuously inspired me.
But my friend left
No, my friend is still my friend. We still see each other. We like each other. But the friend I used to have is gone, or so it seems.
It didn't happen overnight. It was step by step. Then one day I woke up and thought, "What happened to that friend I used to know and was such an inspiration to me?"
I think it began when my friend started paying attention to others when they said, "Calm down, don't be so noisy."
When someone said, "Don't be such a showoff with your dancing."
When others said, "Stop asking for things all the time...it tires people out."
I think my friend began to believe it when others said, "You can't just do what you feel like doing now...you've got to think about your future."
When someone warned my friend about saying "no" to others because then others wouldn't think my friend was generous and kind.
And, oh yes, I heard many say to my friend things like, "Don't just think about yourself. You need to consider others first. What they need and want should come first."
And "If you keep acting like that, people will think you're strange. They'll stop inviting you to be with them."
I miss my friend. So curious. So adventurous. So playful and expressive. So friendly. So genuine and open and free. So in awe of the future. Where did my friend go?
Do you want me to introduce you to my friend?
My friend is you.
You used to be that way...when you were two or three years old. You used to love life, loved your life. But I think you forgot. You forgot who you were. You forgot what life was. You forgot and disowned that curious, adventurous, playful, energetic, self-loving you. Where did you go?
I know...we all did it
We wanted to grow up. We wanted to be powerful like it seemed our parents were. We thought that others must know something that we didn't.
As we grew, we did naturally develop some interest in influencing our life further into the future. So when our parents and others insisted that we must learn to sacrifice what we wanted now for the future, we believed them. We began to believe the story that the future must be more important than now.
When we naturally began to have more interest in the happiness of others and how we occurred for them, others told us that we must be willing to sacrifice our own self-expression and desires in favor of theirs. We began to believe the story that others must be more important than we were.
And, most critically, we found out that if we didn't find some way to disown and suppress that "immature" part of us that we used to be, others would disapprove of us and even shun us. We learned to give up our childish ways.
We joined others to live together in the House of Good and Bad. We learned to think that "shoulds" and "should nots" trump reality. And now we suffer.
We were taught that peace is impossible
The civil war inside that we have been left with is considered by almost all "wise" people to be a necessary condition of a civilized and prosperous society, an essential part of every decent human being. Our Next must maintain dominance over our indulgent Now. Our Others must keep reign over our selfish, inconsiderate Oneself. And if Now and Oneself rebel, then a civil war we must have. That's just how life is.
We can have integrity and cooperation between our Now, Next, Oneself, and Others. AskDwightHow is your go-to resource for creating and maintaining that integrity.