July 4
Keeping score of old scores
and scars, getting even
and one-upping, always
make you less than you are.

Malcolm Forbes


Today's Meditation:

One of my biggest fears in life always has been that people would see me as less than I am--that they would judge me unfairly and harshly and I wouldn't have a chance to defend myself.  It's been a fear since I was small.  And in some ways, I think that fear has led me to hold on to things that I shouldn't hold on to, to have a long memory about hurts and pains and betrayals.  Fortunately, I haven't fallen into the trap of always trying to get even, but I do know that holding on has caused me my share of pain that was completely avoidable.

Something that has passed, has passed.  As many, many wise teachers have noted, it's impossible to live in the here and now, to get the most out of the present moment, if we're focused on something that's over and done with.  It's especially difficult to enjoy the now if the feelings associated with the past are negative and bring us down.

I had a friend once who constantly talked about bad things that people had done to her years earlier.  Her day seemed to be incomplete if she wasn't able to tell someone about just how unfair life had been to her, and just how her current negative situation had been caused by the actions of others.  She knew every scar that was on her spirit, and she could tell you about every hurt she had ever suffered.  Not surprisingly, I don't remember ever seeing her happy.  I often tried to redirect our conversations to what was going on in the present, but it was usually to no avail.  Was she making herself less than she was?  Absolutely--because she was always tied to things in her past, she was never able to reach any of her potential in the present. 

Getting even is another story entirely, and something that will bring us down so fast that it's frightening.  And in my experience, the actual act of getting even never is anything what we imagine it to be when we're formulating our revenge in our minds.  The actual acts reveal us to be petty, scheming, spiteful people.

When something's over, let it be over.  You don't have to become friends with someone who hurt you, and you don't have to trust someone who has betrayed your trust.  But move on--for your sake, so that you can continue to grow and expand instead of shrink to the size of your vengeful desires.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people feel the need to "get even" when someone has done something to them that they don't  like?

How might we help ourselves to get over our hurts and move on to more in life?

What kind of positive effects might "keeping score" have on us in our lives?

For further thought:

Let go. Why do you cling to pain? There is nothing
you can do about the wrongs of yesterday. It is
not yours to judge. Why hold on to the very thing
which keeps you from hope and love?

Leo Buscaglia


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