What Happens In Life Is Not Personal
The world is not that small. Never taking anything personally again.
There was a time in my life when everything was personal to me. I was teased relentlessly every day at school. I was the last person to be picked for the team at recess. I didn’t date the girls in high school like my friends were dating. I didn’t get the recognition that my peers got. I was never a student of the month, an employee of the month, and hardly ever got any awards. I was often passed over for promotion. I didn’t get the girl of my dreams. I didn’t get what I wanted for a long, long time. And I took all of that personally.
Time had its way with me. I spent a lot of time living alone, reading, writing, going to meetings and social gatherings, but never really making much of a connection. I was a loner for a long time. I tried school. I tried Mensa. I tried chess clubs. I tried the bars. I tried support groups. I learned something in all of them. But things didn’t really pick up until I got serious about finding peace in my head.
I’m a WIMP. A weakly interacting missing person. I can go through days at work without interacting much with anyone. I spent days alone in my apartment outside of work. This is probably because, in some way, I’m still carrying memories of very difficult interactions with other people when I was a kid. I’m hearing and sight-impaired, and the kids in school saw that. Whatever cruelty they learned from their parents, they gifted to me. So I tend to use a very light touch when interacting with other people.
I spent much of my young life thinking that I did something to deserve all that. My mother told me that I had strong opinions. My dad told me to fight the kids who teased me. The school principal told me to act like a refrigerator when the other kids teased me. Sure, if you have the skills of Shields and Yarnell, you can do that. But kids don’t have that kind of skill. Kids have to learn the skill of self-control.
Doing the work of self-discovery in therapy, 12-step programs, and a daily habit of introspection helped me to find the tools of mental independence. I began to learn that much of my suffering was self-imposed and that it was up to me to deal with it.
With help from other people along the way, I began to change my assumptions about my relationship with everyone. I learned that if I find people irritating, that says something about me. I learned…