Idealism, Life, Philosophy

How May I Help You?

I enjoy making people happy. There is literally no better feeling in the world than doing something for someone and looking at them sincerely expressing gratitude. I don’t feel like I’m unique. I feel as if most people in the world have good intentions. We don’t typically do things for the sole purpose of upsetting others. I don’t even think that comes from an especially thoughtful place; (even though I DO feel like people are more thoughtful than we give them credit for) rather, it comes from the fact that people tend to use their energy making themselves feel good, rather than actively trying to make you feel bad. But, really think about that the next time someone does something that grinds your gears. Especially if the person is a loved one.

Harold! THIS IS THE LAST TIME I TELL YOU, "THE BEANS GO IN THE LEFT CABINET AND THE SPICES GO IN THE RIGHT!"

Harold! This is the last time I say something, “THE BEANS GO IN THE LEFT CABINET AND THE SPICES GO IN THE RIGHT!”

Before you go punch the lights out of the person who did something that you personally found inconvenient; realize, that it’s highly unlikely they did that just to spite you. We get upset about things because we feel personally wronged. But nine times out of ten, that is not the intention of the other person. And, in fact, if the person knew they could’ve avoided a (in the context of the universe) meaningless argument, they probably just would have done whatever you wanted. Yes, some people are less mindful than others. But, I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt.

This makes me think of something C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity that I think rings true whether you’re a Christian or not.

“But in reality we have no experience of anyone liking badness just because it is bad. The nearest we can get to it is in cruelty. But in real life people are cruel for one of two reasons – either because they are sadists, that is, because they have a sexual perversion which makes cruelty a cause of sensual pleasure to them, or else for the sake of something they are going to get out of it – money, or power, or safety. But pleasure, money, power and safety are all, as far as they go, good things. The badness consists in pursuing them by the wrong method, or in the wrong way, or too much. I do not mean, of course, that the people who do this are not desperately wicked. I do mean that wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way. You can be good for the mere sake of goodness : you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness.”

Ya Dig?

Ya Dig?

I’m writing this because I felt wronged the other day and truly upset. I fail more often than not, but when I’m upset with someone I try to ask myself why I feel so frustrated. Typically, it’s because they did something that made life SLIGHTLY more difficult. My day was a little less convenient because of whatever thing they did. Now I’m upset. But my annoyance is MY problem not theirs. I’m trying very hard to always keep in mind that nobody can make me feel any certain way. I’m also trying to keep in mind that the things that annoy me on a day to day basis are typically not a big deal.

mountain-or-molehill-350x280

Let’s say someone leaves a piece of paper on my desk at work. I could see an improper response building up. These types of things happen all of the time. We’ve all heard things like, “What? Do you think this is YOUR desk?” or “Oh? So, you’re the only one who needs to use the toaster?” or “Why didn’t you invite me out to lunch or AT LEAST ask me what I wanted?” or “How many times do I have to tell you?” etc. But typically the answers are, “No, I’m sorry I just forgot…” “No, but it’s just taking me a minute. I’m sorry…” “Sorry, I was just hungry and left…” “I don’t know, just please help remind me…” People aren’t out to get you. Yes, some of the things people do happen because they forget that the universe doesn’t revolve around them. At the same time, sometimes we get upset because we feel like WE’RE the center of the universe.

Most of the time... Sorry should cut it.

Most of the time… Sorry should cut it.

Anyway, back to making people happy. I HATE when I do the things that upset people. I am guilty of staying too long in the bathroom, or spilling water on someone’s desk, or leaving my computer cord lying around. But, my desire is just to make people happy.

At the same time, maybe my need to make others happy makes them unhappy. If you’re like me, you try desperately to make everyone feel good, but you can’t. You fail them in some way shape or form and somehow you’ve made everyone upset rather than joyful.Which, in turn, makes you unhappy. And, I guess I’m just not sure what that balance is yet.

How do I go about it? I can’t clone myself (yet), so sometimes I am going to have to sleep or drop obligations, but deciding who has to wait is hard. One of my goals in life is to reduce the amount of suffering people have to feel. I wish to reduce my own suffering of course, but I also want to make YOU joyful as well. When I try too hard to make everyone happy, I end up hurting everyone. I haven’t figured out how to be ok with just not pleasing people sometimes.

Hm… I haven’t quite figured all of this out yet. But, I hope you’re happy today. And if not, maybe this puppy can make you smile.

No Pasa Nada...

No Pasa Nada…

Much Love,

– Brandon Holly –

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Idealism, Life, Philosophy

Give Thanks

So, this week has been Thanksgiving. I should be writing about all of the things that I’m thankful for. The fact that I have a roof over my head, a health plan, food in my stomach, shoes on my feet. I have plenty for which to be thankful. I should be singing praises to G-d and the universe for putting me where it has. I’m a very fortunate man.

My thinking reasonable mind knows that I have nothing to complain about. However, my feelings are different. I’m not saying that my circumstances are the worst by any means. However, I do know that everything is relative. And, comparing everything that has happened this year in relation to the past two and a half years. I’ve come to the realization that- my life blows…

Just replace the books with like… life and you got it.

But no, seriously. This year has had a LOT of satisfying moments and I really am truly thankful for them. But, that does not change the fact that this has also been a particularly difficult year. I am a positive person. I am highly optimistic and we will get to that later. But, I’m about to list off why my life has been absolutely LAME this year.

Top 10 lame things that happened to me this year! In no particular order:

1.) Feeling of loneliness and emptiness due to leaving the Peace Corps and not having a defined “purpose” any more.
2.) Crippling debt
3.) Literally almost dying.
4.) MORE crippling debt. (Go medical bills!)
5.) Crappy cubicle job that felt soul-sucking (but at least it paid well enough)
6.) Losing crappy cubicle job the WEEK I decide to move out on my own.
7.) Nearly going bankrupt and living EXACTLY paycheck to paycheck. (Plasma Centers are great)
8.) Friends going through personal issues.
9.) My family dog whom I loved dearly died.
10.) Learning of some heartbreaking family news.

and 1 to grow on!

11.) Most recently… I’ve been dealing with the death of a good friend’s girlfriend. She was also a friend of mine. Admittedly, not extremely close, but still a friend and still just another dark thing that has happened this year.

And as the resident happy-go-lucky, ever-resilient, optimistic guy… I feel like this most of the time.

Well, ok not quite as emo.

But strangely enough… sometimes I feel like the opposite. B-because I AM optimistic!

Life is fun!

And people want to know how you’re feeling. They want to be supportive. And they WANT to be a shoulder to cry on, but, I’m not crying. Now, I DO have moments of sadness and anger and crippling depression just like each and every one of you.

However, they just don’t tend to last very long. I’ve said the following to friends many times. The way you process pain is no better or worse than the way anyone else does. It’s what you DO about it that really matters. If you’re being destructive or counterproductive to your recovery, that’s different. However, if you naturally just need some alone time, that’s fine. If you naturally need your friends, get ’em! For me, I naturally go to a very dark and sad place for a period of time. (some longer than others) and then… I’m ready! I’m good! I’m happy!

There is just too much good in the world to let things get the best of you. As I’ve said before, you only lose when you give up! And these tough times only make me want to fight harder.

So even though life has been doing this to me…

Life smarts

I know I will make it, that things will get better and eventually after all the beat downs and training, when I’m ready…

I’ll get up again, fight, and WIN!

Life is hard, but… good friends, words of wisdom, and a lot of thanksgiving food fortifies a man and enables him to go on. And THAT ladies and gentlemen is what I’m thankful for this year.

Much Love,

– Brandon Holly –

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Idealism, Life, Philosophy

Attention

To what do you pay attention? I pay attention to my physiological urges (eat, sleep, sex, breathe, poop, etc), my loved ones, political news, tech news, music, exercising trends, and the list could go on and on.

But, the thing I pay attention to most of all, is what I’m doing to make the world a better place. As it turns out, my blog is aptly named. The thing is, I pay attention to it so much that I don’t understand how it seems that others do not. Not that I feel like I’m more aware or enlightened by any means, I just have this overinflated sense of empathy and it just makes life much more stressful.

For instance, earlier today, I saw a terrible car accident. Four cars were involved in a pile up and it didn’t look horrifying…

It wasn’t THIS bad.

But, it was still pretty bad. Paramedics were rushing to the scene. I later expressed to my lady companion (girlfriend just sounds too immature) that stuff like that can really ruin my day. She informed me that what I had witnessed was indeed terrible, but it shouldn’t ruin my entire day.

Which is true. It shouldn’t.

I could just send a prayer or positive thoughts their way and be thankful that I’m still safe. However, I don’t. I do those things, but then I still can’t help but feel every emotion I’d feel in that situation. The thoughts make my stomach turn and I get stressed and feel bad for quite a long time.

Having an overinflated sense of empathy means you’re probably a people pleaser as well  (something I mentioned I’m working on in an earlier post) and it kills you inside to have someone feel disappointed in you.

It’s this trait that makes me feel bipolar at times.

Driving on the highway an impatient selfish PRICK will cut me off and I’ll be upset for one moment and the very next moment I feel bad and think thoughts like..

“What if his wife’s having a baby?”
“What if her husband’s sick?”
“What if that person just had a really bad day?”

And I sympathize and stop being upset in the very same instance.

But…

What if they’re just a jerk?

Well.. what if they ARE just a jerk? I say, “so what?”

You see having a lot of empathy means your attention tends to be externally focused. How can I make the world a better place? How can I help people? How can I help the environment? How does one stay happy while simultaneously making the world happy.

The problem with this is, you can’t figure out why others’ attentions aren’t similarly focused. Thus, when you’re taken advantage of it hurts… A LOT. I suppose it hurts regardless of who you are, but when you’re always thinking of others it just feels unjust.

And here it is, the problem with being empathetic all of the time and spending your attentions trying to make things better is…

You ALSO end up with an overinflated sense of…  entitlement.

This is NOT how the wild rumpus starts!!!

You see, when YOUR attention is outward most of the time and you realize someone else’s attention isn’t. It hurts when you’re overlooked. Because YOU’D never overlook anyone. It hurts when someone is inconsiderate. Because YOU’RE not that inconsiderate.

The problem is, it FEELS like people are being inordinately rude towards you. When in reality, they’re just treating you like they treat everyone else.

I guess I’d just like to find my balance. How can I be idealistic and realistic at the same time? And is it any use being an idealist in a world that’s…

not.

Hmm…

Much Love,

– Brandon Holly –

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Life, peace corps

Yo, Lizard!

HEY!

Geckoooo!!!!

LISTEN UP, JERK!

YEAH YOU, YOU FREAKING %^%$$@!!! SACK OF #$@#$% AND %#%^@$# WHY??

Why do you keep doing this? Dude, we really have a pretty good relationship other than this. I mean, I let you and your buddies walk all over my house and walls. I let you make that stupid cackling call, and I don’t even care about that one time you got drunk and fell on me at 1 in the morning. I get it, it happens to the best of us. You scared me, but I forgave you for that.

I feel like I am a reasonable man. You don’t bug me, you eat my bugs, we’re both happy. My house provides you with meals and protection. You provide me with a service. It’s great and I love you for it!

You aren’t quite skilled enough to get rid of the mosquitos and cockroaches, but you get those crickets like a champ. My floors would probably look something like this, if it wasn’t for you.

Crickets

A lizard's favorite snack.

And hey, I get it. You eat, and then certain biological functions take over. I understand, and one or two poops on the floor would be reasonable. I would merely sweep them away. But no. You need to poop on my stuff!

Now listen, I see you walking around here like your ish don’t stink, and honestly, it doesn’t. Nonetheless, this is disgusting.

Pooop!!!

Gross!

I try to pick it up off of my clothes and it smears. Your CRAP smeared all over my clean white shirt! Can I wear that to work now? No. You freaking little jerk! And you don’t stop there, do you?

poop

More Freaking Poop!

No. You don’t. What’s this in my bed?

Lizzie

Are you listening to me?

Oh, try to play dumb and cute if you’d like, but you saw those pictures. Yeah, those pictures looked a lot like what you keep leaving in my bed. Guess how I found those pictures. I want you to just take a wild guess.

Oh? You haven’t a clue?

LIZARD FECES! That’s how, you disgusting freak! Now, others may think I am overreacting. A little poop on the clothes is fine, it washes out easily. A few poops on the bed are easily disposed of with a few pops of the sheets. But this was taking it too far, you cocky little worm!

I thought we were cool until you did this.

What were you thinking, man?

….

YOU POOPED ON MY FACE!

Poop Face

You. Will. Pay!!!

I was laying down, minding my own business, playing a rousing game of Plants vs. Zombies, and listening to music; then, out of nowhere, I feel something hard and cold on my face. I brush it off only to find that it’s a little mushy. It rolls off and I look at what just hit me. It looked like this:

poop

More Freaking Poop!

I can’t believe you, man! I thought we were friends! Come on, dude. That is so not cool! The sad thing is, I am mad. However, more than that, I’m hurt.

How Could You?

You pooped on the money maker, dawg!

I thought you and I were bros.

Dude, I was going to invite you to Mario Party Night and Everything when I got back home to The States!

I just-, I thought we had a connection.

Listen, I still love you.*

Much Love,

– Brandon Holly –

*Codependent

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