As part of my business life, I provide web services for dozens of clients regularly. With some minor exceptions, it’s been smooth sailing for years. During those years, I’ve worked on my ego (my ideas about my identity) as I explored spirituality and cultivated happiness. I feel that I’ve minimized it through meditation and mindfulness.
I discovered through one of my most recent projects that I’ve also just avoided specific types of people.
I’ve maintained relationships that enforced my definitions of success, collaboration, and leadership. Those concepts were all wrapped up in my ideas about myself and how reasonable people interact. Those unnecessary moral evaluations left me open to disturbance, and it took a good bit of time to wholly regain my center.
Here’s what I’ve recently had to re-discover.
Success and failure are unrelated to your essential self.
If you define yourself as being essentially successful or unsuccessful, you’ve blocked out immediate experience with that shield of ego. You are no more successful than you are an owner of things or the occupation in which you work. These are just self-concepts that will cause you to struggle needlessly when the weather changes.
That’s what success and failure are: weather. Perhaps today is sunny or perhaps it’s raining. Like the seasons, success and failure are simply states through which we pass. They melt into the ether of time like all dreams bound up in time. Positive self-talk is awesome, but there’s an important difference between learning to enjoy the rain versus trying to lock in perpetual sunshine with affirmations.
Whatever the weather, you are always in the light and warmth of grace.
Collaboration and hard work can both be done in a harmful way.
Some people will always try to make themselves the focus of every conversation, and they want to be the expert and master of every situation. If they’re not dominant, alpha males, they’re possibly going to be hurt. That kind of obsession with control comes out of past pain.
When you collaborate with people in this condition, it’s wrong to offer well-meaning suggestions or ask questions. As difficult as it is to see, when you do that you’re challenging the authority of the person. They’ll become reactive because you’re acting the same way they are, an expert and master of the situation.
When you work with people in this condition, it’s also wrong to try to be subservient to them by buckling down and getting the job done. If you do that, you’re doing both them and yourself harm by agreeing with their dream-world interpretation. That agreement will encourage them to hide from their pain and compromise your efforts.
Success, leadership, and servitude must come out of your own definitions.
The trouble with all of these different little arenas of human relationship is that it’s easy to buy into other peoples’ dreams. We can become infected with their mental stories and paradigms, through which they attempt to control the world around them out of fear. It’s an infection of interpretation and ego, which takes us out of mindfulness and peacefulness.
You must maintain and enforce your own valuations of things like success, leadership, and servitude. If you can do that, then it doesn’t matter whether it’s sunny or raining today. If you can do that, you can’t harm people by working with them in their dreamworld.
Here are my new definitions coming out of faith in providence.
Just do the best you can and don’t give up, and you’re a success.
Sometimes people will intentionally block you and sometimes it’s just not meant to be. Move around those times as the river around a rock.
You’re a leader if you do what you think is best regardless of what other people say.
You’re not a leader if people listen to you or if you can guide projects or groups to success. Those are only circumstances.
You’re a servant if you give people what they need, not what they say they want.
People in pain ask for things that will hurt them further by reinforcing their interpretations of the world, and you’ll absorb some of those reinterpretations by delivering them.
You can’t always avoid negative or lower vibrations. In those valleys of dissonance, songs are sung that you shouldn’t listen to. If you’re journeying there now, the time has come to stop listening and sing your heart out. It doesn’t matter if anyone listens… you’ve got to sing for yourself.
Blessings, and I hope your weekend is wonderful,