Crikey It’s Hard Trying to Be Good!

This just in: I struggle with the qualities of goodness and compassion in myself. In theory, I love them. Weaving flowers in my hair in fits of gratitude for flowers and hair, volunteering at a charity run against terrible diseases, fighting to save the habitat of some cute animal or another…Of course I believe in and want these things! Right?!

Reality can be slightly more complex than the abstract, though. For me, reality chases away the beauty of the roses and voluntarism that float in my mind, shaping them into the petty First World curses I shout inside my tiny car when drivers won’t let me into their lane, or into the seething rage I nurse thinking about the heinousness of Orange 45 and his stupid agenda. Reality tackles theory so that instead of taking a tin of freshly-baked vegan shortbread to my neighbours, I duck my head and pretend I don’t see them as I trudge from car to house with rolls of sale toilet paper in my arms. Theoretical me sighs that nobody has ever improved anything by being an impatient dick even as real me feels waves of infuriated fatigue squash me as someone defends the status quo. In the world of theoretical self and the self that is tired of writing its thesis and has low blood iron, the former possesses considerably more compassion.

In this new year, I attempt to channel theoretical me with intensity. I will focus on the goodness and compassion and gratitude that percolate through my brain during happy times and make them the pillars of real me so that I will ooze them – yes, I said “ooze” –  in less triumphant times. I will try hard to cultivate these qualities when the bags under my eyes darken my cheeks and when my cartilage-free joints prevent me from playing volleyball and when for any reason I need to see Kevin O’Leary’s beady eyes in the news. These are the times I must remember to be glad for everything I have, to be kind to people, and to try and understand the perpectives of those with whom I disagree. Po-tay-to/po-tah-to, I don’t care so much about – dude, get a life if those were the biggest concerns in your relationship – but I mean real disagreements.

This journey to be better will continue. Two notable things help me focus on this:

  1. I’ve blown the dust off my old gratitude journal, in which I record 5 things for which I’m grateful, every day. It can be the fact that I have a warm house when it’s -20 outside, the fact that I have access to tomatoes and oatmeal and other nutritious food, or having had a games night with my family. Honing in on the good of a day makes me dwell in the positive. Also, Oprah does it and don’t even argue with Oprah.
  2. I visit this website. I love it, and it roots me in the best qualities that people can cultivate.

There. Now you know what I’m doing. What are you up to? 🙂