My friend Buddha Mama has been preaching the gospel of “right speak” recently in her blog. I have been thinking about right speak’s cousin “acceptance” a great deal of late. This is mostly because I find myself trapped in a world of whiners who battle to come up with the best whine of the day.
“I’m so busy.” And then they proceed to prove to you how busy they are and stew about it.
“The kids are slobs.” And then they proceed to stew over cleaning up after them.
“I never get any time for myself” And then they proceed to stew over the lack of me time.
We are a culture that emphasizes stewing. Of being unhappy with where we are because everyone else is someplace better.
“I hate my job.” “I hate my house.” “I hate my neighbors”. We all have something that we don’t like. “I hate my weight.” “I hate my school.”
We throw the word “hate” around like nobody’s business. Which is where the right speak thing comes into play. And even if you aren’t feeling it, there is the theory that right speaking will help you pretend until it becomes habit. The old, fake it, ‘til you make it theory.
But the thing that I face every time I read something along the right speaking path is that I off-load. I deflect. I think to myself… my god… if only so and so would read this and start thinking that way. Now, I believe that I am fairly self aware and I am certainly aware of my flaws. But it is a natural tendency to deflect. To see the specks in the eyes around you while missing the log in your own eye.
But the disease that lies beneath our way of speaking or stewing is bred from a world where we deserve more. We are angry with our lot in life because we were meant for great things. Not this absurd life of fighting for promotions, or fighting to raise our kids the right way, or fighting to keep the house from falling down around us. It is all so banal. So common. And we were meant for greater things. And thus the root of all mid-life crises.
I have… of late… been trying to combat this in my own life by doing everything that I need to do, but with a more positive attitude. An internal version of “right-speak” if you will. I try not to hate my kids as I drive them from place to place. I try not to judge my neighbor when they do their best to annoy me. I try not to hate my job because I travel constantly. I try not to think of the what-ifs and stay focused on the what is.
The danger of acceptance is always in settling for something without striving for more. This can lead to awful problems. The difference in what I am advocating is striving to do more and be better every day, but not stewing over how things are now. For there will always be things to strive for. More things than there are days. And happiness can only be found if we make peace with a road that does not end, and enjoy the view on the walk without worry about the destination.