“I bought you a gift. It’s something I’ve always wanted, but I’m not quite sure you’ll like it. So if you don’t want it just tell me and I’ll be happy to keep it. After all, I’m only interested in making you happy. ”
Perhaps the most empowering question I ask myself in the morning is: what do I REALLY want to do today. It’s a question that thwarts projection (projection can be thought of as a defense mechanism that allows us to place our feelings and emotions onto someone or something else – blame is a wonderful example). We need to learn to consistently place our focus where it should be: the pursuit of personal happiness in it’s broadest definition. Projections can take us on unnecessary detours in which we sacrifice our soul (and our happiness) with unquestioned loyalty to flag, country, oaths and thoughtless allegiances to institutions, causes, heroes and possibly celebrities. It isn’t always easy to decide and determine how my day will unfold; the answer often starts out with fuzziness and confusion (what do I really want to do vs. what should I do). Options and choices slowly seep into my consciousness; some are immediately discounted while others might become part of the daily plan. Concurrently recent victories are savored with fondness. Remembered victories are important in the planning process. Hopefully what worked before will work again. Seeing choices beyond the obvious is good for the spirit. Sometimes moral obligations (the ultimate shoulds of life) pop into the brain. I think it’s good policy to challenge these thoughts. Anything that doesn’t feel good or worse yet feels joylessness needs to be scrutinized and understood. Of course temporary sacrifice might be warranted in support of a long-term goals. The needless dead-end sacrifices that lead nowhere are the obligations that really need to be examined. Are they merely bad habits that are unpleasant to confront and difficult to change? Routinely spending holidays/special occasions with unpleasant relatives because your family raised you to be a “good” person (rather than a happy person) comes to mind. When you really don’t want to do something I have question the value of the activity. That seems to be a good guideline or policy for a well lived life. I know that sounds selfish but I do think that selfishness is healthy behavior that most people need to be practice more. Some experiences might have been initially enjoyable but at some point in time the magic ceased. I have a friend that attends a weekly breakfast function that nobody really enjoys or gains benefit from. Some obligations are difficult to discontinue and I don’t have any easy answers but I do know that it’s healthy for one to question the continuance of dubious, boring activities. Sometimes a quick phone call, email is all that’s needed rather than a get-together nobody can really get excited about.
Kathy and I are also fine-tuning what we want from our travels. I am a big believer that travel has real potential for personal growth as well as enjoyment. But as with all good plans the details have to be scrutinized and justified. So much of life is lived on automatic pilot.
So my most pressing question is what do I really want to do today and the answer is watch the U.S. Open Golf Tournament and root for Tiger Woods. After all it is Father’s Day and I do get to live vicariously and indulge the fantasy of being a world class athlete. Have a happy Father’s Day.