How I learned to stop keeping score and let go

I don’t keep score anymore. I’ve tried and it really doesn’t work. I don’t worry about getting back at people who have done me wrong. I keep my side of the street clean. I err on the side of peace to the greatest extent possible. I let problems solve themselves.

I’ve tried revenge maybe 2 or 3 times in my life and it was not sweet. I was sad. I was not made whole again. I was left alone. I spent a long time figuring out what went wrong, how to do it better. And after all was said and done, I learned that there was a better way.

I keep my side of the street clean as best as I can. I make mistakes and I make amends for them. I hold my tongue when others are excited with anger or rage, and let them carry on. Just because someone is angry, doesn’t mean I have to be angry. I can choose to be angry or not. I am responsible for how I think and feel, and how to act based on those feelings.

I have often found that anger is energy intensive, physically taxing. Anger makes me feel tired. Yes, I do feel anger from time to time. And when I do, I take a moment to consider the possible outcomes of anything that I might do when I’m angry. Every possible outcome is the same: I cannot hurt you without hurting myself. Impunity is a myth. When we hurt the people we love, either words or by hand, we hurt ourselves.

So I err on the side of peace. This really works. I can’t explain exactly how it works, but it works. If I have a strong feeling, I let it go. I wait for the feeling to pass before I make any decisions about what to do next. Often, I do nothing, for I cannot change other people. So I just observe others. I find ways to be proactive to prevent such situations from happening again.

But there is something else. Problems tend to solve themselves with time. This isn’t to say that I don’t play a part in solving those problems, it is to say that there are awesome powers at work that are bigger than me, and that power solves problems. To some, they may say, best to leave well enough alone.

This is a question of my will, and the will of the universe, God’s will, higher power, or whatever you want to call it. I have often found that I get into the most trouble when I insert my will in places where it doesn’t belong. I can’t fix people, I can only offer a hug. I can’t repair things that are beyond repair. Everything costs money. I can become Debbie Downer in a hurry by going over all the things that I have no power over.

Yes, there are many problems that seem insurmountable, and a lot of them are created by humans, inserting their will in places where it doesn’t belong. But there is so much that is positive going on, too. It’s really a matter of focus. If I focus on the negative, sure enough, the universe will serve up more negative experiences for me.

If I focus on the positive, I begin to notice all of the cool stuff that is happening right now, that I didn’t have to raise a finger to make happen. Everything that I am touching right now was made by someone else. The air I breathe is courtesy of the plants. The sun will rise as it always does. I have clothes, I have a rather nice place to live, I have no personal adversaries from erring on the side of peace for so long, and I have a family that I love and that loves me. They just don’t always remember that, but they’re still here.

That is why I stopped keeping score. I can’t recall exactly when I stopped keeping score, too. Everything I need is already here. Problems solve themselves. I know this because the incredible traffic jams I saw on the way to work a few weeks ago mysteriously disappeared. I was worried that I went to work on the wrong day, or didn’t know for sure that there was a holiday in progress. But that problem, like so many others, cleared up, almost of it’s own will. I think that once I accepted it, the problem went away.

There are 7 billion people on this planet. We have a lot of work to do, and much of the work we choose to do is positive. But it really is a matter of focus. Life is too complicated to keep score of all of that. Anyone who wants to be negative and to do harm to others, will have to reconcile that when they go to sleep at night, if they can.

I know what I want more than anything else: peace. That is the target. Peace is the goal. So I measure my words twice. I check my assumptions. I consider possible outcomes. I remind myself that we’re all connected in some way, somehow. I remember that every bit of kindness comes back to me. And it does.

Write on.

Originally published at on October 18, 2018.

Husband, father, worker, philosopher, and observer. Plumbing the depths of consciousness to find the spring of happiness. Write on.