“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” ~ Sam Keen
I am at my breaking point. I want to scream “You’re driving me crazy!” as yet another argument heats up between us.
I want to blame and yell. I start to. I stop. Instead I say “I’m angry!”
I practice being a stand up, reliable, responsible, selfless and kind person. Compassion, love, kindness and tolerance is my code.
Yet, here I am yet again finding myself severely lacking in these things when it comes to my partner. Here I am flying off the handle because his need for a hug is out of my comfort zone at the moment.
Oh right, because my selfish ego deems that necessary. “How dare you ask me to hug you, don’t you know I am angry?! I need space. I, I, I, me, me, me.” This is me living in ego and anger.
I have given the one I love most the power to drive me crazy.
I handed over that power without even realizing I was doing it.
I firmly believe that we are the custodians of our behaviors and emotions, and that no one else has the power to make us act a certain way. Though society and my ego have told me otherwise, I no longer choose that as my reality. Taking ownership allows me to change.
I also believe that love is a choice. Every day that I stay in love is a choice. It is a choice by my soul to live in a place of love and acceptance of those around me. That means compassion and kindness, not ego and intolerance—even when I have allowed myself to become angry, yet again.
It is not always an easy choice, as my ego tells me I would rather be alone. That I don’t need anyone. That I don’t need the drama. It tells me that I don’t need this person who I love so dearly because I am angry with him and anger is a burden to me. I allow anger to consume me and it overwhelms me. I feel stuck. I want to lash out. I don’t enjoy anger, so I would rather avoid it.
Anger is where my ego gets loud. “Run, go, who needs this?”
Problem is, I am tired of running. I am tired of ego. I am tired of me.
My soul cries out for love and vulnerability.
Sometimes I am selfish and I want to do what I want to do (that’s my ego). Some days, love and kindness flow like water (that’s my soul). Other days, it is a challenge to love and be kind, and I find myself being critical of my dearest ones. I expect everyone around me to cater to my wants and needs, to leave me be when I want to be left alone, to kiss me when I want to be kissed, to listen to me when I want to talk but go away when I don’t (more ego). Still other days, understanding, tolerance, empathy and compassion ooze out freely (there’s my soul again).
In this moment, I find myself asking how I can be so compassionate to a stranger’s suffering, yet so intolerant of my dearest love’s suffering? How can I be so disciplined in my practices yet stumble so hard where it matters most to me?
Oh. Right. Because that stranger’s sufferings doesn’t inconvenience me.
I am selfish and it kills me. I am kind and loving and I adore that. I am dark and I am light. I am ego and I am soul. I know someone out there can relate to yin and yang. We struggle with anger the most when we allow it to overpower our soul. The need for balance screams.
Just when I thought I was making progress on my spiritual path, I am smacked in the face with the reality that the selfish ego brat is still alive and well, and has just been staying quiet for a while. The darkness lingers, just beyond the light.
My inner perfectionist is cringing at this realization that I am still human.
Today, though, I am okay with that, because I can accept my humanness and I can smile with compassion at my limited belief that I was eradicating my darkness and ego. I can laugh at my folly of thinking I was getting somewhere on my spiritual path.
Because there is nowhere to get to on this path. It is all about the moment.
We are only what we are in any given moment, and what we are can change. I can go from acting like a four-year-old brat to displaying the wisdom of a 112-year old Zen master, and everything in between, in just a few hours. So, in other words, we need to stop striving and just be the best version of whatever we are in any given moment.
Yes, be angry if that’s what you feel. But to be the best and most loving version of anger that I can be instead of an angry, bratty, sullen five-year-old is the path. I can practice treating my dearest with compassion and communicate lovingly even when I have allowed myself to get annoyed by his needs. Because I choose to love him, imperfections and all. I choose to see an imperfect person perfectly.
Love means tolerance, patience and understanding. My yelling, short temper and blaming does not display love. This is ego. And my ego wants me alone where I can be selfish and safe.
Too bad, ego—my soul wins today.
I thank my anger and ego for stopping by to let me know they are alive and well, but I no longer invite them to stay like I once did. I love myself too much, and I love my dearest one too much.
At any given moment, love is the answer.
Author: Lindsay Carricarte
Apprentice Editor: Lois Person/Editor: Emily Bartran