1. Truth: I used to believe that I could keep bad things from happening. This isn’t a joke, not an exaggeration. I really thought that if I were diligent — if I paid attention, prepared, did my research, was smart and good — I could stop bad things from happening, or at least from being so bad when they did happen. This belief was toxic, robbed my life of joy, and as an adult even led to a period of post traumatic stress disorder that lasted for years.
2. Truth: This belief lingers like an echo. I catch myself when there’s an issue, a problem, a threat, or even the hint of something not quite right, shifting into “I have to fix this” mode. I can usually interrupt the habitual response pretty quickly, talk myself down from the ledge, but sometimes even still I’m pretty deep into it before I realize I’m doing it again, and at that point it can be hard to let go.
3. Truth: I can’t control everything, or anything. I can’t stop bad things from happening, and it’s also not entirely my fault if they do. It’s great to check in with myself, consider if anything I did contributed, or if I’m doing anything to generate excess suffering, but I don’t have to walk around all the time feeling responsible for all the things. My power lies in how I respond to what happens. And if I relax, trust in my own inherent goodness, that response comes from a place of wisdom and compassion.
One wish: May we relax, trust in our fundamental goodness, and know deep in our bones that even if the worst happens we will find a way.