notes to self

I don’t quite know how to preface this post without going into an elaborate personal story that will take all night for me to explain, so let’s suffice to say that a friend and I have had some misunderstandings. But, don’t worry, we’re working our way through it all, and, as part of the process, I wrote up some “reminders” to myself.

Last week, I published a post about this concept of “returning to yourself” in times of distress, which is something I got from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. My list of reminders sort of stems from this concept, and basically helps define what parts of my “self” I want/need to return to.

I actually wrote this list back on April 28th, and initially framed it as a list of resolutions, but now I prefer to call them reminders. Calling them reminders almost seems more gentle, like it allows for the fact that I’m only human, and will lapse from time to time. Anyway, here they are:

To be patient and understanding
To not be selfish
To avoid assumptions and expectations
To be caring and supportive
To want less and give more
To stay present
To love regardless

A few notes:

To not be selfish: It was rather good timing (for me) that CampariGirl shared this Martin Scorsese quote a day or two after I’d written this list.

To avoid assumptions and expectations: This one comes courtesy of A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I’m sure we all know, to some extent, that assumptions and expectations can be terrible things, but I just thought Naoko (one of the protagonists) put it so well: “Assumptions and expectations will ruin any relationship, so let’s you and me not go there, ok?” (or something like that – I still don’t have my own copy! It is on order, though…)

To want less: From the Buddhist concept that wanting causes suffering. I used to only think of this as it applied to material things; I reckon it’s only this year that I really reflected on all the intangible things I want too.

To stay present: Surprisingly hard to do (or not surprising, considering my propensity for worst-case-scenario thinking, and constant speculation about outcomes of various actions, words, etc). Thank-you to Eckhart Tolle and Marcus Aurelius for trying to drill this home.

To love regardless: From a previous post I wrote last year.

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9 thoughts on “notes to self

  1. All simple statements on paper, but to live by them… that is another story. But I’m glad you’re allowing yourself the chance to be human in this. It’s probably a fairly important part of the learning process, actually. Personally, I still have a lot of trouble being present sometimes.

  2. Assumption is the mother of misunderstanding – I try to remind myself of that when I tend to go there….All excellent reminders and I love the idea of reminders vs resolutions (that imply burdens).

    • My mind sometimes just likes to automatically fill in all the blanks, so avoiding assumptions can be hard. I think I’m getting better at identifying my assumptions though…

    • Expectations can be such a downer! Gotta remember not to be so hard on yourself (and others)
      I hope the list helps you as much as it’s helped me 🙂

  3. When I read this I gathered you thought you were at fault in the problem with your friend. The reminders you listed seem not so much about returning to self as focusing on other people’s needs and being unselfish (my interpretation anyway). I wonder if it’s possible to have good relationships without expectations. For me, having expectations and/or holding other people to standards (assumptions?) is a good thing, a reflection of placing value on myself, my time, etcetera. Just thinking here.

    • That’s actually why I was at fault – I had become too focused on myself, and felt I needed to return to the sort of friend I used to be.

      It’s interesting, and very valid what you say about expectations. I hadn’t thought of it that way (I suppose I was thinking of unfair expectations, or ones that cause disproportionate disappointment). You’ve given me something to think/reflect on…

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