What if every time you came to visit Simple Humble I told you this? What if you signed up for a subscription and I took the opportunity to send you this message again and again? Would you keep visiting?
How low would your self esteem have to be to just keep listening?…Or even agreeing?!
I suddenly realized as I ‘watched’ an advert that told women that ‘even though you don’t feel beautiful when you have your period…‘ – Huh??! When did beauty come into exercising a normal bodily function like a period? Do men have to feel handsome when, (excuse me vicar!) having a w*nk??!
In fact, let me count the increasing ways women are apparently the ugliest monstrosity God ever spat out:
They must feel ugly when they have perfectly natural cellulite, they must feel suicidal if they do not have perfect under arms – that’s a new one! – It is not enough to have it merely shaven now, it must be moisturized and peachy, (isn’t it naturally moisturized anyway??!!) and free of under arm 5 o’clock shadow to a practically legislated standard! They must be held accountable for offensive cankles, (newish), wrinkly knees (new), being old (above 30), a ‘saggy’ bottom, too flat a bottom (new), saggy breasts, the ‘wrong’ shaped vagina, a missing hymen, thin lips, having skin above the eyelids that has not been deemed tight enough and if their hair doesn’t shine like the unnaturally manipulated ones in the ads…they risk a public stoning. I am patiently waiting for the new advert that asks a woman ‘are you really satisfied with the arch of your back?‘
update: The newest nonsense is thigh gap – ladies you must have a gap between your thighs (other meaning: be very slim), or please kill yourself.
And I say ‘watched’ an advert in commas because I am not watching these things per se. I tend not to watch a lot of TV, but sometimes when I’m doing something that does not require a full brain I have it on in the background – but that is actually just as bad. Your sub conscious is allowing this nonsense to soak up undeterred… with no protective fire walls!
I know why I dance to my own drum and why on the whole, although I have my moments, I do not feel too fat, too skinny, too old, too young, too black, too white, too short, too tall, unclean, broke, unsuccessful, insufficient, in need of permanent fixing…(most of the time).
It is because I don’t allow this stuff to filter through. It is not allowed in my home. If it falls lazily from the lips of a ‘friend’ or family member toasted lightly with spite, they’re OUT! If it comes from a ‘newsreader’ dressed as news the TV is OFF! If it’s in a magazine cloaked as a helpful self improvement article it is simply ignored, (there is self improvement and there is self delusion). Even if you make the decision to eliminate these falsehoods from your life you still have to watch out for the sneaky disguised stuff and they should be met with the derision they deserve.
A new ad that appeared while I was in London featured a fifty something woman who had an aversion to mirrors. She would be watering her potted plants and ooops…there was a mirror…quick, look away old lady. She would walk past her reflection in a shop…quick, look away you ghastly old creature. Then by the apparent power of a cream, a studio light came on and lit up her whole face and she pushed away all the ornaments covering the hallway mirror, finally looked at her reflection and smiled.
What an horrific message to women.
Nothing wrong with buying what makes you happy, but is it making you happy or creating a bottomless desperation and a void that has to be filled with anything…even a cream that clearly doesn’t do anything that a pot of Vaseline couldn’t do.
Imagine if I spent one year telling you that you are the rather unsavoury description above. Imagine. Constantly hearing how awful and wrong you are daily, minute by minute from all directions. Is it any wonder it is nigh impossible to find a woman (or a man these days) who thinks that they are just fine as they are?
The simple message is, if you would feel insulted, angry and defensive if a nobody like me told you you are sh*t, then feel insulted, angry and defensive when any other nobody tells you the same…however subtly the message is delivered.
Millions of people ask this question every day and I often wonder if they ever find their solution, or if this remains one of those rhetorical questions we ask expecting no real answer and therefore make little effort to really find one.
The things is, to find peace of mind, happiness of heart and satisfaction of the soul, because that is an extension of what we all really mean on the whole, you don’t ‘find‘ it. You REVEAL it.
Same as folks who go off to ‘Eat Pray Love’ and ‘find’ themselves. They were already there! They were just enabled to see things from a different perspective.
Peace is within you. We just continuously make choices that obscure it then waste precious, ticking, life hours trying to ‘find‘ it again.
We’re human…we love drama!
Imagine being given the most beautiful painting in the world and then placing it gingerly into a house that looked like it was owned by Steptoe (Sanford) and Son – a horrid mess of useless clutter and rubbish.
Unsurprisingly after about a day, by continuously adding to the chaos and the clutter, you would probably begin to lose sight of the beautiful painting until you could not enjoy it anymore.
Sure, you could say you need to find it again…but it was always still there.
You just needed to chuck out the garbage to see it.
“Peace be with you,’ as gentle, spiritual folk might tend to say. Peace is is always with you but most folks kick it into touch daily, by their behaviours and decisions.
Peace is a choice.
How do I find peace? If you really want it, here are 12 things you can do today to choose it.
1. Stop being judgemental.
People do stupid things. Unsurprisingly so do you. When you acknowledge that you are not perfect, you find that you judge others less. Have you noticed how unfaithful cheaters have nothing much to say about other unfaithful cheaters? Or thieves don’t tend to condemn other thieves? So rather than hush up in areas that you know you are guilty of also …extend that biased generosity to all aspects. When you judge less you become kinder and judgement then becomes ‘how can I help?’
Kind folk have more peace. Gossipers, stirrers and bullies ultimately harm themselves more than their subjects.
2. Stop being inflexible.
Nature made most things flexible for a reason. It is the way organic things survive. Think of a tree in a hurricane. The more it can bend, the longer it survives. When your views or beliefs become rigid, any deviation from them in your eyes brings self conflict and erodes peace. For proof, just take a peek at the world news or strident, unflinching supporters of religion, politics or any type of dogma for a minute.
3. Don’t go to a brothel looking for a virgin. Or stop watching so much (trashy) TV.
You want peace? Don’t bring other people’s negativity, mindlessness or conflict into your home for you and your family to devour daily. Take a look at any TV listing and see how little of it is positive, peaceful or inspiring. Today’s programming has a nervous, cross, desperate, spiteful energy. Become choosy about the company you keep.
4. Don’t ever see yourself as a victim.
A victim has no control over their circumstance. How can a slave have peace? Whatever happens…you are not a victim. You will handle it.
5. Let go.
Accept that there are things that you simply can’t control. Let go. It will be like letting go of a wild bucking horse and finding yourself thrown to the ground with the pressure and tension to control that horse suddenly off your shoulders and arms. You are at once free and left with a big grin of realization on your face saying, ‘Hey! Why didn’t I just do this before?’
6. Don’t buy anything for a whole day.
Just try it. That’s all I’ll say.
7. Ask yourself what is making you feel unpeaceful.
And this time answer the question. Next ask yourself why you are allowing this to be the case.
8. Control your debt.
Are you in debt? Then pay it back. (Easy to say huh?) If you cannot, then you must do what is required of you by ‘the system’ and move on. This time next year you will not be in the same position. Fact.
If you have to opt for bankruptcy think of it this way, by the time the next Olympics come round you will nearly be completely finished with the whole procedure and ready to begin again with more experience and intelligence. You only really lose big time if you learn nothing. Look at it as six years of learning about real finance – (not a bank employees version of ‘good’ finance, try instead a wealthy, self made person’s version of good finance), investment, savings, independence and self determination from learning useful new skill sets that you genuinely love doing and that society will need tomorrow. Think of it as learning for the rest of a life that this time you will control. It will not control you. One thing I know from experience is that debt is not the end of the world. That fallacy is just a mindset. Some of the most successful people today have been bankrupt or had it knocking at their door.
The formula above is easy. The execution may be hard. You will handle it if you choose to.
9. Try The Misfortune Exercise.
Have you ever heard of Aron Ralston? He was a guy who was hiking all by himself in Blue John Canyon, Utah, when a boulder dislodged and pinned his arm to the wall, 65 feet below the surface in a slot canyon. He had no mobile phone and had not told anyone that he was going hiking, so he knew that it was unlikely he would ever be found in the quiet, desolate area he had chosen to go walking in. He was stuck there for 5 days.
Now I want you to clear your mind and go with me on his journey…
Imagine if you will, the first few minutes of realization that you are both unbelievably isolated and solidly stuck, which turns to panic whilst forcefully struggling trying to free the arm.
This turns into hours of jerking the shoulder and using your feet against the wall to leverage your arm free, taking some rest and then more disbelieving, forceful jerks trying to dislodge the boulder…
When this is not working it becomes a more creative thinking process about how to get free…
This turns into the first unexpected night stuck there wondering how it all went wrong…
This turns into the food running out, the water running out…options running out, hope running out, wishing to turn back time…
Then Ralston makes the unenviable decision to chop off his own arm with a dull tool…
I often think about these kind of awful accidents one gets to hear of and wonder how long it takes for each person to start really appreciating what they had some 24 hours earlier. Ralston recalled an unfulfilling relationship with his girlfriend and the ensuing arguments and shouting matches they had. He recalled neglecting to pick up the phone to his mother who was checking in on him on the day he left. But how much would he have given to go right back there and know that viewed in the big picture of life, whatever problems he was experiencing with his girlfriend, it really was not such a big deal? How much would he have given to go back in time, nullify the answering machine, grab that phone, appreciate that his mother had even bothered to call and tell her what he was up to that day?
For me, I always opt to to get to that epiphany point without the near fatal misfortune! Without the near plane crash or the boat sinking slowly… Without the mugging in a lonely alleyway or the doctor taking my breath away with the worst case scenario result. Without the life shattering phone call or the kidnap in a war-torn foreign territory! When I find myself complaining under my breath about some clearly ridiculous, non life threatening, unimportant, oh-get-a-life-Pea! issue, I run the Misfortune Exercise in my head to get to back to a point of intelligent perspective and the petty human nonsense falls freely from my shoulders. Peace knocks at my door and I invite her in for tea and crumpets.
10. Don’t pretend to be content with what you’ve got.
You don’t have to put on the pretense of outward peace from not having material things. Don’t fool yourself. Just be more appreciative of what you already have. When I hear an over ardent defense of anti-materialism it tends to smack of defeatism rather than a genuine premeditated choice to live minimally. Material goods are lifeless. Their meaning and value are given to them by people and people merely project their own shortcomings onto them when they blame money or things for the world’s ills. Have things. Don’t have things. That’s not important. Want what you want. In any measure you wish, the key is to continuously find more joy in the amazingness already surrounding you.
11. Stop seeking approval of others.
When you allow yourself to make mistakes, learn from them and make even more, a funny thing happens. Your judgement skills sharpen, you grow in confidence and you learn accountability. People who are allowed this freedom learn to trust their own judgement and tend not to constantly seek the permission and approval of others.
Peace comes from knowing that whether you are right or wrong, in the end you did things on your own terms, based on your own moral code. A strong soul knows that what you learn from any experience far outweighs being perceived as right. Frankly who cares? That’s just asinine human ego at work, (see the next point). Do more things that will make you proud of yourself so that self approval will grow into self worth. Then, rather than seek external approval you will make yourself worthy of impressing yourself.
12. Drop your ego.
You don’t need to be right.
Feed your mind, feed your heart, starve your ego.
Most arguments are caused by people who have to be right. It’s the way they prove their worth.
If you know you are right, why argue with a fool about it?
Someone who really knows themselves are content to smile and walk away. When is the last time you saw the Dalai Lama in a drunken argument outside a pub?
And talking of Buddhist monks, why are they (mostly) so chilled and peaceful? Could it be that by surrendering all pretense, avarice and ego, (look at their dress code) they become impenetrable to the forces that makes everyone else so eternally confused and dissatisfied? What do you sell to someone who has dropped all ego and self? Diamond jewelry? Hair weave? Plastic surgery? A top of the range overpriced car?
How do you sell a fatally engineered, inappropriate mortgage or a high interest, trendy but barely useful product to a quietly mindful thinker? How do you gather enough steam for an argument with someone who pleasantly refuses to engage?
What would happen if ‘a friend’ came to tell you yet again that your partner was a bad choice and you simply said ‘thank you’ and left it at that? What if you got into a road accident and it wasn’t your fault, but your beautiful car was damaged, what would happen if you quashed the rising bile and anger and your first words to the ‘idiot’ in the other car were, ‘are you alright?’ What would happen if instead of listing all the things you don’t have that makes you sad you gave some things away? How would that make you feel? Happy or sad? Peaceful or dissatisfied?
(Whisper this next bit – shhhh! Not too loud – it might catch on!) What would happen if the Israelis said to the Palestinians, (or vice versa before I ruffle some egos!), ‘None of us are blameless. What can we do for you today to resolve this?’ And actually meant it?
It is clear that whilst you don’t have to shave your head and wear robes or become a monk, the choice to kill the external forces that leave you empty inside or unsettled and at war with yourself and others is still just that…a choice.
It is not about position, money, looks or any other fallacy we choose to believe – you can attain these things, if you wish, as an entirely separate issue, but ultimately, it is about you and your choice to look for, uncover, reveal and manifest the peace already in you, just as it is your choice to manifest bitterness, jealousy, anger, bitchiness, ignorance, envy, dissatisfaction, greed. You should be the ruler of you, not external conditions.
You really want to find peace?
The truth is…peace is never a destination. It is always there, quietly waiting for your genuine interest.
It was December 25, 1914, 5 months into World War I. The German, British, and French soldiers, having become sick and tired of the senseless killing, took the opportunity to disobey their superiors and began fraternizing with ‘the enemy’ along two-thirds of the Western Front, (a crime punishable by death in times of war). German troops held Christmas trees up out of the trenches with signs saying, ‘Merry Christmas’ and the other troops responded in kind,
‘You no shoot, we no shoot.’
Thousands of troops streamed across a no-man’s land strewn with months of rotting corpses. They sang Christmas carols, exchanged photographs of loved ones back home, shared rations and played football. The soldiers embraced men they had been trying to kill a few short hours before. They agreed that if the top brass caught on and forced them to fire their weapons they would aim uselessly high.
The top brass did catch on and generals on both sides declared this spontaneous peacemaking to be treasonous and subject to court martial. By March 1915 the fraternization movement had been eradicated and the killing machine put back in full operation. By the time of the armistice in 1918, fifteen million(!) would be slaughtered.
This story is very current on many levels. You have people all over the world realizing that they have been taken advantage of by ‘top brass’ protesting about it. You have the Christmas theme and you have the idea that actually we were given the brains and intelligence to think for ourselves and it behooves us to thank God, (or Whomever), at Christmas time by using those brain cells rather than be led to a grisly end or led unchallenged into great difficulty by the greed or poor judgement of others:
If you really want peace. Stop killing.
If you want the bigwigs to stop disadvantaging you financially, then decide to get to grips with understanding and controlling your own financial future. Things won’t change overnight – but they will change. They did for me and I hope to share that with you next year.
If you want a peaceful, non warring, non stressful, family Christmas, then like the soldiers, create one by your own actions.
Merry Christmas dear Readers.
A while ago, I got into a Twitter ‘argument’ with a chap over the killing of Troy Davis.
I don’t know whether he was guilty or not. I wasn’t there. And it seems judging by most of the witnesses recanting their stories and jury members changing their minds, that neither did America. I felt that a country that keeps Charles Manson alive who is proud and open about his previous work, should not be sending anyone to the gallows if there is an iota of doubt or foul play suspected in a case, at the time of sentencing or subsequently. A life simply should not be taken unless guilt is proven beyond every drop of doubt.
Rightly or wrongly this was my stand point. Which I stuck to as he stuck to his.
My Twitter pal felt that all the evidence needed was there already. The courts said so and as we know courts and humans never get things wrong and policemen have never in history set up a fall guy in order to close a case quickly, as the witnesses had been saying.
Anyone who knows me well knows that it is nigh on impossible to get into a mindless heated argument with me.
My rules are simple. I do not need to be right. But I’d like the truth…if it’s available.
If my conversation or altercation does not make me any wiser, more attractive, plentifully richer, much happier or rigorously healthier then why am I wasting my own time? I think Troy Davis and the policeman who also died in the fuzzy history of it all, will agree that life is just way too short.
Arguments over a neighbours extra 2 inches of garden fence? Wouldn’t happen.
Who keeps eating my ice cream in the fridge? Wouldn’t happen.
Why are you spending more time at work than with me? Wouldn’t happen. (Plus there’s probably a good reason!)
So my ‘altercation’ lasted about 2 rounds online which is probably longer than it would last in real life. Plus in this case, added to the questions that I would normally cross-check off when someone is weedling me into a pointless verbal tussle, was this more specific one:
‘Will arguing with a random man in the UK, who may not even have bothered to read the full story bring Troy Davis in the US back to life?’
End of ‘argument’.