The Road Less travelled by Scott Peck is a book I have not read in a long time. One of the chapters covers delaying gratification; specifically many people’s inability to do so!
“Play now, pay later is their motto….These adolescents are resentful of any attempt to intervene in their life style of impulsiveness, and even when this resentment can be overcome by warmth and friendliness and a nonjudgmental attitude ….. their impulsiveness is often so severe that it precludes their participation in the process of psychotherapy in any meaningful way. They miss their appointments. They avoid all important and painful issues. So usually the attempt at intervention fails, and these children drop out of school, only to continue….”
What happens to these teenagers? Do they age without maturing? Do they become the ‘mangers, spouses or business owners’ who discharge their neurosis and need for “NOW RESULTS” onto others? Do they lash out when frustrated? If told “NO” do they punish us; at home or at work? Do they withhold attention? Do they become score keepers? Do they turn down the screws in absurd and disrespectful ways? Do they simply have a temper tantrum, and then when they feel better, expect you to forget all about their childish outburst!? Well don’t forget!
“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time!” Maya Angelou.
If we marry them or continue to work for them anyway, do they have incessant demands about how we are supposed to be? Do they stomp around like big bullies and go for our weak spots to make a point? Do they sulk like infants when when they don’t get their way?
If any of this sounds familiar, and immediately someone comes to mind; I turn around and look in the mirror! I ask myself these questions. Do I do this? Is this a part of my personality? Do I owe an amends to someone? What one thing am I willing to be aware of and make an effort to change this week? How can I be more aware of my own ‘reactions’? Do I bully back, become a victim or engage in some other low vibration retaliation?
Of course it’s easy to see how “others” behave this way and make our life miserable, but it’s much more interesting and rewarding to look into our own behavior!
If we behave this way, and we are parents, we are going to leave scars. The same scars we have, that has resulted in us being the way we are. No matter how much I say “my kids have it better than I did” it does not take away that gnawing feeling “do I work on my own issues enough to give my children a living example of how to grow, how to change, how to overcome negative patterns and how to meet life’s challenges head on with acceptance, courage and joy?”
One of the most powerful tools is to be nice, no matter how someone else is behaving! I’ve taken a PhD level course in this lesson over the past few years. I have an entire tool box of hateful things I could deploy that would strike back and annihilate the ‘enemy’. My ego does fantasize at times. My need to be right relishes in rubbing their faces in it. For me, the realization these are the immature fantasies of a wounded child have become all too clear. Sometimes I still forget, and the pit viper strikes back without thought. Brittany Spears pops into my head; “oops I did it again!” So I laugh at my folly and get back to living in a joyful state as quickly as possible. I am quick to forgive others, just as I am quick to forgive myself. I am only a student after all.
I am reminded of Schlinder’s List; both the horrific destructive aspect of human nature as well as those who practiced unbelievable kindness at the risk of their own life. A Nazi could just pick off human life for sport, but was reminded that true power was knowing that you could and choosing not to.
I do not practice these principles from a place of obligation. That would make me an unhappy and bitter woman. A martyr.
I do not practice these principles from a place of spiritual superiority. That would make me a fake.
I practice these principles from a place of learning; simply because i can. Like training for a marathon and running 26 miles because I can!
It is so wondrous to stretch past social norms, beyond perceived limitations and to do things simply because I can! I pass this idea along to you….to share….simply that it is possible.