“The desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain. Almost all of our thoughts inevitably revolve around this desire” -Robert Greene
I don’t believe that it is a coincidence that the first book I ever committed to came at a very low point. On the surface I had it all. High paying job, nice crib, nice car, beautiful family, and everywhere I went everybody loved me. Yet, I was still unhappy.
When I first picked up Robert Greene Laws of Human Nature I didn’t know what was to come. As a matter of fact, I don’t know why I picked it up. At that time I didn’t have the courage to go and ask for help because I was scared to be weak. But there was something inside of me (Thank God) that was pushing me towards change. I needed to change. Desperately.
I learned about irrationality, narcissism, short-sightedness, and many other aspects of human nature that were brand new. The more I read the more my jaw dropped. It was as if my deepest and darkest secrets were being exposed. I thought someone had stolen my diary. But that couldn’t have been true because I’d never written anything.
I learned how my household conditions led to my patterns of avoidance. I learned that my desire for attention and pleasure started as a high profile naive teenager. I learned how my emotions controlled me. All my beliefs, notions, and ideals about society were put under a microscope and analyzed. It was as if I was undergoing an exorcism. Every new piece of information was shocking. Indirectly, I was becoming more self aware.
I was humbled and ashamed. All this time I had no awareness of the damage I was doing to myself or to others. I felt guilty. People always talk about looking in the mirror but they never say how hard that shit actually is. However, through the wincing, there was a sliver of me that was relieved. Eventually I forgave myself because at the end of the day- I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And when you know better you do better. I’m not perfect and never will be. I’ve allowed myself to heal because I am aware and I can acknowledge my shortcomings. I have a vocabulary for it. I realized that part of my problem before the book was that I never thought it was important to express your emotions and I never had any techniques to do so. This sprang my career as a writer.
Parker Palmer, an American author says: “Wholeness is not perfection. It’s embracing your brokenness as an integral part of your life.”
I’ve said things I don’t mean, I’ve been weak, I’ve failed, I’ve lied, I’ve cheated, I’ve manipulated people. This is what I kept from the light and this is why the bad habits grew. This is not something I’m proud of, but this is who I am. I’m able to embrace all of myself fully. Without hiding. At the end of the day, all of us are just looking for somewhere we can be free. A place where we don’t have to put on a face. A place where we don’t have to compete. A place where we can just be. My wholeness has allowed me to be real with others. It’s transformed me into a better coach and mentor and one thing I’ve learned for certain is that I’m not alone. This birthed compassion. A radical compassion for the human condition. It’s crazy how it all started with a book.
“Get free-be who you’re supposed to be” -Lauryn Hill
Are there any books, verses, phrases, quotes, that have changed your life? Any special words that you hold onto? Drop them in the comment section below.