In the past, I noticed a few things about others and then had a realization. These days one can’t help but notice how everyone’s “story” is more dramatic than the others’. It’s as if we’re in the “oneupmanship” Olympic Games. That, and it appears that “winning”, no matter what it is, is so important.
For example, have you ever noticed during a conversation everybody is trying to top another’s story? At times, while someone would be telling me their tale of woe, I noticed part of me listening to them, and part of me thinking about, not only how I would respond, but how I could “top” their story…. waiting to say the reply. I was like a runner at a race waiting for the gun to go off. Waiting for them to stop talking so I could hear myself reply. A long time ago watching others doing this while judging them, is when I realized I was doing the same thing! As people were doing the “oneupmanship” routine I flashed back to when I was a kid watching those Charlie Brown cartoons on T.V… Charlie, Lucy, Linus, and the gang are in school listening to the teacher lecture. You never heard the teacher actually say any actual words. Instead, you heard an annoying, “WA, WA. Wa wa, wa wa, WA WA!” One syllable, monotone, monotonous words. That’s the way I was hearing everybody tell their stories. I’m sure that’s the way I sounded to everyone else as well. Only from my point of view, my story was better than theirs…..”WA WA, wa wa, wa wa, WA WA.” In a sense, we’re trying to “win” over everyone’s approval.
Another example is expressing ourselves through driving. Think about it. For the most part, drivers behave in the same manner as conversations go. During the course of a 20-minute drive I witnessed the following:
(1) One van trying to get ahead of a car, but the car would speed up not letting the van get in front of him.
(2) A car waiting for a pedestrian to walk a crosswalk and when she no sooner passes in front of the car, the car takes off, not even waiting for the pedestrian to walk all the way across the walk.
(3) Vehicles cutting off one another.
(4) And the grand finale: I stop from taking a turn in a parking lot, letting an elderly man walk across in front of me. I’m giving him plenty of space to do so as the car behind me is honking his horn wondering why I’m waiting for the man to walk. Geesh!
Another life example:
Standing in line at the grocery store the person behind me is hedging her way closer and closer, hoping the line will keep moving when it’s at a standstill. People are in a hurry. Their remote control buttons are stuck on “hurry and win no matter what” mode.
Examples of oneupmanship….winning…..getting ahead, are everywhere.
What the hell happened?
I’ve come to the conclusion the deck of cards is stacked against them/us. Or I should say, we have let the deck be stacked against us. We’re all conditioned to get ahead, be first, don’t be a loser, don’t be left out…and in order to do all of those things you have to hurry, hurry, hurry. Don’t think of the other person. Don’t be patient. Be defensive. Through the media, the government, authorities in general, and collective society as a whole, it’s all based on DRIP FED FEAR. We’ve come from taking teenie tiny sips to, well, we’re guzzling the brew down. Self-doubt, fear, insecurity, anger, trying to control the future, are only A FEW of the symptoms.
“What to do next?”
“Where to go next?”
“How to get ‘there’ the fastest way?”
“How? How? How?”
“Give me. Give me. Give me.”
“I need. I need. I need.”
And to complete the package is the….”ssshhhhhh”…… silent killer: stress. Under the guise of achieving, we’re covering the face of stress. The little dutch boy/girl trying to fix the leaking dam by sticking a finger in the hole…until another leak happens…..then another finger plugs that leak….followed by another….. until eventually, you run out of fingers.
Turn the other way. Take a pill. Smoke another whatever. Have a drink. The same game continues with the same cycle repeating over and over again and enables the brain noise to continue it’s very dysfunctional ways.
How do we stop the insensitive habits towards others? How do we slow down? How do we stop the brain noise clouding our senses? How do we stop being on autopilot and try to “win” every situation we’re in?
Go to a guru? Read five thousand self-help books? Spend the money and go to empowerment workshops?
I suggest, from experience, the solution is so simple and we do it every day, every moment in our lives. Everybody does it but takes it for granted.
Just stop and be still. Take a moment for ourselves and take a nice, slow breath. Claim a moment of stillness and softness. While learning energy work I discovered something quite astounding. Did you know you can’t hold a thought as you exhale?
Inhale slooooowly…hold your breath for 5 seconds or so…then slooooowly let it out. Wait for another 5 seconds or so before inhaling again…then repeat the process. This equals as a “reboot/reset” to your system. It can give you a break from the brain noise which can fool us into thinking we need to be angry, judge one another, tell stories….you get the picture.
I found when I started doing this technique I didn’t need to hurry. I didn’t need to top others’ stories. Eventually I stayed present, in the NOW, and observed that the majority of collective society is really coming from fear. Trying to get ahead in line, trying to beat traffic, being impatient, always defensive, always angry……
The more I looked inward and acknowledged any fears I had the more I listened to, and observed others. Empathy and compassion were at the forefront.
Stuck in traffic? BREATHE.
A car cuts you off? BREATHE.
Someone is telling their story? BREATHE. I don’t have to say anything and “better” them with my story.
You’re in the back of the line? BREATHE. Become friends with patience.
The more you practice pausing and breathing the easier it gets.
Give yourself a gift. Give yourself a break.
Brain noise ceases.
Your mind is clear.
You’ll become more patient no matter the situation.
You’re not concerned about “winning”.
You’re in the NOW.
WON spelled backward is NOW.
It’s a simple process for a complicated world we try to live in.
But you have to do it.
Give yourself several “mini-vacations” each day.
Go ahead, I dare you.