sometimes I compare myself to others

sometimes someone else does something, I compare myself unfavorably to them, and, typically have felt incredible guilt and shame (moving past that now.)

I still have thoughts though such as
“wow, I must be not a very ambitious person, then.”

or why else would I have

1. not done what they did (I didn’t want it?)
2. not done something comparably that I DO want…

though I HAVE, done things I want… they just….

never lay well with conventional notions of success or professionalism, (other people’s often seem to, other people except for my coolest craziest friends.)

the things I have done…
I wouldn’t call them successful or professional (many would argue that they are)
I guess I WOULD call them

special, unruly, unique, something most other people would NEVER do the way “I” went about them, things no one else WOULD ever do, and maybe genius, who knows.

but definitely not conventionally successful or professional.

what do you think friends,

you think I’m ever successful, professional?

this has been a presentation of the new and improved but still a ways to go

“less self-critical and less guilty and less shameful me” in response to other people I know doing things that seem real professional and successful, while I feel like I am sitting around having fun, getting older.

p.s. perhaps “fun” is all I really ever cared about.
as long as I can support myself as well, (not necessarily via the same “fun” things,)
might not be a bad thing in any sense.

it might even be the most important, more important than success or professionalism.

p.p.s you know, I have long despised the term professionalism, as if people who “are” it are fake and are stiffs? ok, enough, what do you think?

One thought on “sometimes I compare myself to others”

  1. Here are my thoughts on this. If you feel guilt and shame–I do too, and I think most people do, amongst whom you and I are just critically aware of it as we spend time actually looking at the self whether through meditation or through psychotherapy–then we can’t rightfully be too judgemental about professionalism, because many people have given into the concept and embodied it simply because they’re driven to do so by society’s dominating message that they must, in order to eat and survive. To say “everyone who likes professionalism is bad” would be a bold mis-statement, because being judgemental and punitive towards others (i.e. most) human beings is not good, simply stated.

    In my “most practiced religion” (and I know you think religion is a dirty word too, but if some can have freedom of speech then I think I and others are entitled to being progressively religious also, both accepted forms of intellectual sacrilege in some dimensions, perhaps ironically in the latter or each case but I think you know what I mean intellectually, Sartre stated it as “all men are doomed to be free” btw), I do my best therein to see the “fundamentally good nature” in all human beings.

    The structure and form of religion provides me a path and a “well-lit instruction guide” by which to focus my efforts on doing that. The Buddha referred to this intrinsic self which everyone has as Buddha nature, or the “true self”, and in my “religious” opinion, it flows deeper than professionalism, deeper than being a specialty, deeper even than being an artist, even though as a westerner I can also see some way in which the Buddha and his senior disciples were in some sense the *ultimate* artist(s), anthropologically. The same goes for other prophets and scientific geniuses alike, but none seem to have emphasised more seriously, and to a greater degree of potential for replication IMHO, the level of vision and understanding when it comes to what a human being deeply is made up of, inside the workings of the self. If you look past the obsession with professionalism in our society, or its obsession with rebelling against professionalism as another side of the same coin, this ranging amongst a large number of people, no matter the case you will find this basically True self underneath each person. I take it as part of my religious life to do that and to correct myself wherever I’ve failed. It’s not like I have rules which, if I violate, I’m going to punish myself for. I have guidelines for living which help me live better, not rules which demand punishment/shame/guilt/judgement.

    Personally also, I will say as the year closes out, that I greatly love living somewhere where the people around me nourish and feed my practice in being in this flow of practice, and always help me so kindly, with compassion and understanding, in being on the path to do this whereby we “have the instructions” and that’s OK. The environment supports, rather than condemns, my religion here, and I like that. I not only appreciate it, but I also appreciate that the environment around me inspires me to actually practice it, vs. just blabbering about some shit left and right, which all of us are inclined to do from time to time and which social media causes us all to do in a constant frenzy. And, it’s fun to say that sitting on my ass isn’t a bad or lazy thing in my *practiced* religion, because the interesting thing about being a Buddhist? Meditation is generally done guess how? Sitting on one’s ass. Of course, the motivation is clear: to build focus and clarity, bringing that focus and clarity to life into actions, and not just to be lazy, unmotivated, and unfocused in life. That’s a dualism that I accept, on the path to embracing/embodying non-dualism. It’s not judgement or shaming, that’s entirely different, so the two should not be confused. In Eastern thought, self-hatred is a strange and unknown concept, as I recall the Dalai Lama often telling us. In the west we have a lot of guilt and shame, but this is strange and unnatural as we’re told. We should be able to tell ourselves “just do it” and then if we don’t do it, what’s the point in being guilty and shameful? There was “just do it” and that’s it. We do it or we don’t. Most important is: do it. Forget about the guilt and shame.

    In fact, if we look at it critically and deeply, we can see that you and I have done this thing to some degree also, when it comes to professionalism. There are aspects of professionalism to which we are conforming from a need to survive, to eat, and to keep a temperature-controlled/sanity-insulating environment over and around our heads called “shelter.” Some individuals do that more, some do it less, and we do it also. So then, are we bad for doing that? It’s the same question as asking: are others bad for doing that? No, we and others do this. It’s called being a human being, and each of us has Buddha nature, IMHO.

    If “fun” is all you really care about, then I say congratulations, it seems to me you’re on the path to enlightenment! For things to be “fun,” and not terribly boring, seems to be a correctly translated part of the spiritual path. The religious life should be fun and interesting, not boring and judgemental. All the saints throughout the ages have decided not only to care about “fun” some of the time, but actually to care about it totally 100% all of the time, as far as I can interpret through my western English-speaking lens (btw, ever see Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master yet? I think he totally got this).

    I think we can see this pretty clearly if we ask the question: is nirvana fun? I think it’s pretty clear nirvana would be the most possible fun a living being could possibly have! It’s definitely not hell, that’s pretty distinguishable, right? Again, not judgement-worthy, but distinguishable. Two different things, discernment and judgement. And it requires discernment to be able to discern the difference, imagine that!

    So then, deeper insights I think may be needed, not based on what you want to be able to judge yourself for, but based on: what do you want to DO? For instance, do you want to sell stuff on this website? If so great, then you’re going to need to turn your focus away from other things with disciplined motivation and cultivated clarity in order to facilitate that happening, with higher priority on eCommerce than other things, and without casting judgement every time you don’t (or every time you do). That’s a different question than professionalism, imho, entirely. As for whether it’s professional or not, if I may kindly say so: who cares? If you cast judgement on what you’re doing for it being “too professional”, “fake”, “stiff” etc., then that would take away from the energy needed to actually DO IT. There’s no judgement here, no guilt and no shame, just my thoughts, given freely since requested.

    For me, meditation on the breath coming into and out of the body is a great way to raise focus and clarity, and when I do this–seeing the psychic roots of my tendency to judge and shame myself for shit, which also are the same roots of judging and shaming others for shit–I’m able to judge less, because I do less thinking with my mind emptier. In fact, I’m going to ring my little bell and do that right now. Thanks for the reminder!

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