My friend Alicia and I used to meet for yoga a few times a week. We loved the strenuous workout, the relaxation… okay, mostly the strenuous workout. We were actresses in our forties and needed to stay fit. We were competitive, too, with the mindsets of our younger, more limber selves — a competition you can never win in yoga, by the way. It didn’t matter how often the teacher said, “Every body is different; don’t compare yourselves to others,” I’d still end up envying some chick who was doing a hand stand while the rest of us were in child’s pose.
My friend Ben, who is an accomplished photographer, told me a long time ago he got rid of the takers in his life. I’ve done the same, and it’s improved my life and relationships for the better. This is a harsh thing to talk about, because most of us think we are supposed to love and be accessible to everybody. But here’s the truth, if you were accessible to everybody, all the time, you’d be spent.
Our culture habitually judges people by the skewed subjective standard of personal experience. This means that we generally show compassion when it makes sense to us, is convenient, or makes us feel better about ourselves. However, our personal perception does not define reality for other people.
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