Why don’t I have? That’s a question that violently bubbles to the surface when I allow myself to compare, be jealous of, or feel entitled to something I don’t have. I swiftly slip into victim mode and that question is a formal invitation to a one man pity party.
Life isn’t fair. This isn’t fair. Boo Hoo. Woe is me.
“Self-pity is the most destructive of all narcotics.”
I would guess you suffer from some version of this ailment. I can’t be the only human on planet earth with this self-inflicted malady.
What I’m learning, teaching, training or forcing myself to do is center myself in this idea.
I don’t have time anymore, to think, or care about, the things I don’t have.
Historically and in this very moment I could create an extensive list of things I don’t have. In the past I’ve wasted an extraordinary amount of energy and time thinking about, complaining about, obsessing, stressing and worrying about the things I didn’t have.
It’s quite easy to be a victim. Feeling sorry for myself sounds a lot like this.
It’s not my fault. The world is out to get me. He’s out to get me. She is out to get me.
They are out to get me. They don’t get or understand me. I love the “they”. Who is they? This unnamable group of people who have it in for me. The “THEY” people.
I can’t have this because (drop in endless excuses). I have shit luck. I never get a break. The game is rigged.
Here is a list of some egocentric low hanging fruit I picked at. Why don’t I have that top job? A bigger paycheck? A perfect life? Why don’t I have a bigger house? A second house? A beach house?
Why don’t I have more money in my IRA, bank account, checking account, wallet?
Why don’t I get a break in life? Why don’t I have what they have? Why don’t I get to take exotic trips to far away places? Why don’t I have more vacation weeks? Why don’t I have my own business? so I can take exotic trips to far away places.
Why don’t I have enough patience? Why don’t I have more good days? The ability to deal with bad days?
Why don’t I have more money? More success? More whatever? Just more. Why don’t I have straighter teeth, higher intelligence, large screen TV’s in every room? Why don’t I have the relationships with people I should have relationships with? What’s wrong with me?
The list changed every year, every day, every hour, sometimes every minute.
Why don’t I have their charmed life? That awesome parking spot? Their wit? Humor? Beauty? Why don’t I have their confidence? Why don’t I have the ability to parent like them, speak like them, be kind like them?
WHY DON’T I HAVE, is an endless, downward spiraling, unsatisfying soul sucking black pit.
Why don’t I have their luck? Their love? Their respect? Why don’t I have the winning lottery ticket? That title? More awards? Trophies? Medals? Opportunity? Praise?
Why don’t I have their talent. More friends? New car?
Why don’t I have the ability NOT be jealous, insecure and petty?
You can literally “why don’t I have” yourself to death.
Then I woke up. Not from a sleep but from a society induced coma. I realized I was a 50-year-old man with the mindset and behavior of a petulant child.
It’s when I realized the most important I don’t have, is time. The mega don’t have. The grand Poo-bah of don’t haves. The only “don’t have” that truly matters. I just don’t have that much time left to be screwing around with time.
“People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.”
So I repeat. I DO NOT have time to think, or care about, the things I don’t have.
Buddhism, Stoicism and Taoism helped clear out all the life clogging elements in my head like consumerism, egotism, and the joyless playbook of getting ahead in society. Money, power, success, perfection and German engineered motor vehicles. They opened up new pathways to ancient time-tested wisdom. This old dog is trying to learn new tricks.
Or more appropriately old tricks.
Learning to accept what is.
Trying to be grateful for the things I do have.
Learning to let go.
Accepting that my ego is my worst enemy.
Okay, so what do I have? Every single day it starts the same way.
I have today.
I woke up. I became aware again. I am me. I am breathing and I am alive. Miracle.
I am learning, teaching, training or forcing myself to be grateful.
Gratitude forces me to only celebrate what I do have or what I have been given. I find it nearly impossible to be grateful for what I have, and think about what I don’t have at the same time.
Gratitude forces me to spend my time and energy appreciating what I have and what I have been given without comparison.
Just celebrate my gifts. More peace.
More happiness. More joy. More love.
More vulnerability. More truth. More life.
More spirituality. More center. More strength.
More optimism. More possible. More presence.
Here is another big “I have,” I have found.
I have found more patience and compassion for myself when I fail miserably and let a “I don’t have” into my head or out of my mouth.
I’m perfectly flawed, which is an extremely positive way of saying I’m not perfect.
Never was, never will be.
I’m a growing, evolving work in progress. I’ve accepted that.
“Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.”