First we will catch up on the surrounding. It has been a little busy. I unfortunately took care of my first gunshot wound while I was here. The really unfortunate part is that it was an accidental discharge from his buddy's gun. I think it hurts two people. Obviously the individual shot and then the emotional guilt of the other soldier's gun. He was should right in the shoulder and fractured his upper arm pretty bad. This place is for stabilization only when it comes to injuries like that. He luckily missed his artery to his arm and is currently in Germany getting treated. The weather is somewhere in the middle now. Building a little bit more with the heat. The other major thing is that the group we have been working with over the last 2 and half months is getting ready to leave next week. The new group is here. They are the 911th FST from Wisconsin. I am happy for the 915th crew b/c I know it has been a long haul and for their sake, excited to see them go. It will be somewhat of a new experience with the new crew and they will have some energy to them being here and new for the 2 weeks we have left working at Camp Basrah.
I hope the last day's discussion was interesting to you. I am reading through this for the second time and I think a lot of it is common sense. Self help books can be a little off the wall at times but I think this one has basic things to challenge yourself daily. I think with each of these four blogs I will remind you of my imperfections. This blog is not a statement of my perfection but of my imperfections. A goal to be better for myself and everyone in my life. I don't want to sound preachy or self-righteous. I want to challenge you to be a better person also.
The second agreement is Don't Take Anything Personally. The other way to describe that phrase is personal importance. He defines it as the maximum expression of selfishness b/c we make the assumption that everything is about "me." We believe we are responsible for everything. I think that makes a ton of sense. I often think that when things go bad it always b/c of me. Our actions can lead to that, but it doesn't always have to be our responsibility. The fact is nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.
I think the key here is to separate who you are from everybody around you. His point is this. If someone insults you, try not to take it personally. The truth is that this person is dealing with his or her own feelings, beliefs, and opinions. You can't take that poison but if your not strong in your mind you will and it eats you up. It's their garbage and if listen to it, it will become your garbage.
What do you do when someone attacks you. You fight back. You are offended and your reaction is to defend your beliefs. That causes a conflict. The thing someone says maybe minuscule or very harmless but if you are taking everything personally you make something big our of something so stupid. If you are not following this agreement you have the need be right and everybody else wrong. Sounds like a perfectionist doesn't it. I think it is an easy trap to fall into.
Here is a good point that you should think of every time someone is getting mad at you or insulting you. Whatever they feel, I know is their problem and not my problem. That can be dangerous though b/c it leads to you thinking your better then that person. The point though is you need to take the good and bad from what people say. You should listen but if your beliefs and your being impeccable to your word then the insult may be more about how their feeling about themselves then what your doing. The opposite is true with compliments. Appreciate them but take the good and bad from what people say the same way. That occurs with that same self reliance on who you are. If you are doing the right things then you don't need that as much. You are trying to do the best that you can. You are trying to be a good person. You are not that great or not that bad. Makes sense doesn't it?
Anger, fear, and hatred are all emotions that dwell within us. If we can get rid of them then we will start to love life. If we don't feel any of those bad emotions then you will feel good. You become content in your life and see things better. You start to have peace and make more positive agreements in your life.
Let's talk about human suffering now. If you take things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing. He says we are addicted to suffering. Those addictions have different levels or degrees. The fact is we help each other suffer. If you have the need to be abused, you will find it easy to be abused by others. If you are with people who need to suffer, you may abuse them. They are addicted to the bad feeling and you could help them. Remember Dean's saying "hurt people, hurt people." It is so true when you think about it.
His last point is this. Stay with me now. When we really see other people as they are without taking it personally, we can never be hurt by what they say or do. Even if they lie to you. They lie because they are afraid. They are afraid they you will discover you are not perfect. That you are a failure. You then have to be truthful with yourself and save yourself some emotional pain.. It will hurt a lot but your heart will eventually heal. You will learn to trust yourself more then the feelings of others. The gossip will not hurt you. You will learn not to not to put all your eggs in someone else's basket.
What do we have to do? You have to make the second agreement a HABIT. A habit not take anything personally. It will provide you freedom and that freedom from the anger, jealousy, and envy will lead to happiness. You will realize that you are never responsible for the actions of others, you are only responsible for you. When you finally get it then you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others.
One thing I have learned in life was how to study. I made a rule when going through college and then medical school. If i could memorize something by really going over it 3 times I could do really well. Going through this again has helped and then writing about it helps even more.
I want all of you to look at your actions and words. I know I am. I can be really angry, upset, and intolerant at times. I have tried not to put that on to the people closest to me but I haven't done a good job. My way to handle those feelings is to turn them inward. To not talk about my feelings and to resent others for what they have done to me. To shut up and block people out. To be angry and feel sorry for myself. You can see what i have said can effect every one of your interactions in your life. How many of you have not loved your kids b/c of what is going on in your own life? Taken it out on them. How many of you in relationships with your spouse or family have hurt them b/c of your own problems? Taken it out on them. Remember though it isn't all about you or me. I think I have taken a lot of things and made it about me and that has hurt myself and others. I have made simple problems, big ones. I have made big problems even worse. Why, because I didn't believe in myself and know how to make it better. I, you, we have to stop and believe in ourselves. Take responsibility for our own lives. Not rely on the words and actions of others. That will only lead to failure. I think once we do that we can start a good process and add one more ingredient. Pray. Pray for forgiveness and understanding. patience and kindness, and hopefully peace will come our way.
Thanks for listening. I don't know if any of this makes sense. All I know it feels impossible to understand sometimes but at the same time impossible to not want to try to understand. Wow, I don't even know if that sentence makes sense. I can't give up on this though. This trip has been a journey as we have talked about it. A journey to become a better person. It has to become a part of what I want to be. If we stop learning then we stop living.