Guilty Pleasures

We must stop punishing ourself for every perceived transgression while assuming pain is the necessary payment. To say “this” is a natural consequence of “that” is a horrible sentence we impose upon ourself. Counter examples exist of others not receiving the same results for similar efforts. So is it luck? Well if random chance rules, then all hope is lost anyway as any accident may befall us — no precaution can keep us safe from everything. We’ll stew in anxiety as we wait for an eventual disaster to mark our doom. We must therefore assume that consequences are not written in stone, unwavering in their dissemination.

It may very well be that we invariably receive the exact outcomes we expect. Our primary discomforts in life might just stem from self-immolation. I did wrong, so I must be punished. I ate like a little piggy, so I must start resembling one. I consumed sugary treats, so my body must experience dental decay. I exposed my fair skin to the burning sun, now delicate flesh must burn. I’ve treated this person without due consideration, now I am cursed by karma. I embarrassed myself, so now I must suffer endless ridicule. My efforts were weak, so I deserve nothingness.

O ye of little faith. Why should we engage in constant persecution of ourself? What a wicked way to spend our day. It’s as if we sickly derive pleasure from regularly accusing ourself of wrongdoing while savoring the punishment we mete out against this hapless victim — a self-sadomasochism of sorts. No, find a new hobby, a new outlet. We’ve no right to be judge, jury, and executioner over even ourself. Forgiveness is not a charity we arbitrarily grant, but the law itself. We are to freely forgive because all that we receive is freely given to us — no earth-bound effort can pay for the life we’re granted.

Is it not better to accept this gift we’ve been given without complaint? How rude it is to pick out every flaw of something we’ve received. Truly, in this way we create our own calamity. About the sweater from Santa, we should not scoff and lament the bike we lack. But by seeking to appreciate every aspect of the life we’re living, we receive the fruit of gratitude. Existence is a force far beyond our power to comprehend so we must simply accept this world and look kindly toward the character we temporarily play. And so in this way we may apologize:

Dear fellow, I am sorry for the many harsh judgements I’ve rendered against you — please feel free to live the life most likely to facilitate your happiness. I will endeavor to refrain from constant criticism and no longer seek out cruel sentences for perceived abuses. It is impolite of me to imagine the worst outcomes possible and impose them upon you. We are of course connected but I am not your master as I had inconsiderately assumed. Let me cheer you on as you travel your path. I, your faithful fan.

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