Woke up filled with clarity this morning. And the first thing I did was turn on Roman Mars and listen to the story behind flea markets (dollar stores, or commonly known in the Philippines: Tiyange or in Baguio City the Ukay Ukay). The second thing I did was opened Robert Greene and read Law 10 of the 48 Laws of Power.
INFECTION: AVOID THE UNHAPPY & UNLUCKY
Judgement: You can die from someone else’s misery – emotional states are as infectious as diseases. You may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are only precipitating your own disaster. The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you. Associate with the happy and fortunate instead.
With recent events getting to be more overwhelming, I revisit the relationships I have and the history of those relationships. And as I continue to pursue an effective life according Covey, and a life built on my terms as defined by Greene, both founded on the premises of Ikigai; I realize that a major obstacle is something way to intimate to get rid of.
Socrates said that “The Unexamined Life is not Worth Living” (r. Plato’s Apology), thus I have been evaluating and re-evaluating my life in recent years and acted upon them as needed. With these reflections I believe I became a better person.
I believe I became more tolerant, more patient, and essentially happier. I have made it a tenant of my paradigm, to take things that matter and discard those that do not.
A few years ago, I got into an argument with my girlfriend over a game. I was irrationally angry, and I almost destroyed the best relationship of my life. Over a game! Now, I only want to enjoy every moment with her, and I live Depeche Mode’s Somebody by heart.
The way of looking at life through the lenses of effectiveness and mastery has given me so much insight, about the value of rationality (to acknowledge the reality of what is observed and can be tested) and appreciate the Character Ethic is the foundation of true effective living.
But despite all that I have learned from Ancient and Modern Masters, I still fail in one very important facet of life and that is my relationships.
It was 2 years into my teaching career when I decided to cut off connections from toxic people.
Toxicity – The primary trait of individuals with poor emotional health. Toxic people generally exhibit behavior leaning towards the creation of drama in their lives that are not needed, are manipulative and controlling to the point of using other people for their own needs and radiate a negative energy around the people they are with. [Rephrasing of Jodie Gale’s Definition of Toxic Individuals]
When I was simply overwhelmed by how much people complained about the mundane, always playing the victim and blaming their faults on the inability of others to conform to their way of seeing things. I was surrounded by walking contradictions, and I just had to cut myself off. I disabled my social network, replaced my communications and maintained contact only with people who I believe to be true friends. That’s why when I created a new facebook account, I only have 20 friends, because I saw the Facebook news feed as nothing more than a cesspool of intolerance or narcissism that I am no longer capable of.
But when I decided to keep old connections, it was due to a sense of loyalty. And if there is something that I can be proud of, it’s the fact that I am extremely loyal to the people I associate with. I may not be the perfect friend, but I sure as hell can be counted on.
Though as I continue to reflect on the past few months of my life, I feel that my loyalty is misguided. Knowing a person for a long time is not the requirement for friendship, but the time spent knowing that person is.
For example, I have a friend in the low land who I could exchange text messages with for hours talking about random things, and a friend overseas who I could count on to have my back; while with the people around me I have to force down discomfort because of how awkward the atmosphere is when talking with them, or because I have to try and listen through bullshit about how their way of seeing things is the absolute explanation to why their life isn’t going the way they want it to be.
But I try to make myself available. God knows, how much of my time I am willing to give up just to show that I am someone they can count on.
I was there when one was isolated. I was there when one needed some money for medications. I was there for a lost loved one. I was there when new life was brought into the world. I was there to greet them after being gone for so long.
And what makes those moments special, is that there was no one else but me. I’m not asking for much, I just want a friend who will actually be happy to see me when I visit, and not hide in his room and expecting other people to greet me. I want a friend who doesn’t try to manipulate me or force his ideas on to me and respect the differences in opinion. I want a friend who counts every favor given or every payment ever made.
Because I refuse to be anything less than a friend.
And that is what today represents: my refusal to accept the state of my relationships. Today is the day that I FULLY recognize and uphold the 10th Law. Today I stay away from people who make me feel unwanted, or disrespected, or unqualified for a deeper relationship. Today I cut ties to anchors to my capacity to live a full effective life.
I am no longer accepting things the way they are, because I have given enough.
Today I will no longer be drowned in the toxicity of people out of shear loyalty. If one of my best traits are to be broken, so be it. But I am not willing to be anything less than a friend worth treating right.