This article is somewhat of an expansion upon my earlier article How do I Forgive the Unforgivable?, as well as dovetailing with my recently updated article Forgiving Gets Easier With Practice, so readers may wish to review those earlier articles first, before delving into this one. But it’s not necessary, they all stand on their own.
And though I still believe those previous articles are accurate and helpful, today I believe I’ve developed an even deeper framework in which to contemplate conflict and forgiveness, which I hope better enables people who are grappling with particularly tough cases of wrongdoing from the past to approach forgiveness, as it did me—if not for the wrongdoer’s sake, then at least for our own.
I ask that you bear with me here; the overarching concept of this lengthy article entails a conglomeration of separate and somewhat complex thoughts, each of which I hope to adequately elucidate, then present in at least a fairly logical sequence, and successfully tie together by the end of the article.
As I’ve traveled along the journey of personal development and self-mastery for so many years, I’ve gradually learned to increasingly turn my focus—or the “spotlight” if you will— away from others, or the external, and onto myself, or the internal.
And this is how I characterize the term “enlightenment”: to turn the light onto yourself.
Or, in the words of Japanese Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk Kanzan Egen:
“Enlightenment does not come from the outside, but is realized when we turn our light inward and illuminate the mind’s source.”
We’re The Only One We Can Control
I’ve come to the realization that I’m the only person in the whole world over which I have any control. I can’t control others, and I can’t control most circumstances or situations.
I’ve oft stated that everything in our lives—our jobs, our relationships, our homes, our possessions, our location, our education, our vocations, hobbies, pets, all of it—is a result of our thoughts & beliefs, our decisions & choices, and our behavior & actions. That being the case, our external life can be thought of as merely a projection of ourselves.
And if we want effect change in our lives, we cannot simply change the projection, which is external, we must change the projector, which is internal. Simply put, in order to change our life, we must change ourself. There is no other way.
That means we must direct our attention, our focus, our repair, our changes, our improvements, etc. (i.e., shine the “light”) onto ourself, and not those around us. This also means we must stop placing blame for our problems or unhappiness on others, and even stop having expectations of others. Instead, we must take full responsibility for our life, and have expectations only of ourself.
And though we may not want to blame ourselves for every conflict we have with others, we can always ask ourselves: what can I do to help resolve this conflict? We need to put the onus on ourselves to do what needs to be done, and don’t expect others to change their behavior, or belief, or attitude, or whatever, for us.
Remember: you’re the only person you can control. So work on self-mastery, and making the changes in yourself which will manifest the changes you seek in your life.
The Human Brain is Incapable of Perceiving Objective Reality
We interpret everything we perceive through myriad filters: our belief systems, our upbringing, our culture, our life experiences, our education, our biases and prejudices, our past emotional pain, etc.,—even the propaganda and marketing & advertising with which we are incessantly inundated in today’s digital world.
As a result, our subjective perception—the story we tell ourselves—is far from the objective reality we actually experience through our sensory systems. Put 100 people in a room, and show them a scene in a movie—or act out a scene like a play, or simply present a situation of some sort, tell a story—and in the end you’ll get 100 different interpretations.
So, when we have a conflict with someone, the truth is that ours isn’t the only side of the story. In fact, ours may not even be the correct interpretation! The other person will also have their own interpretation of the situation, and may also believe that they are in the right, and you are in the wrong.
So how can we be so sure—especially regarding a conflict from our deep past, with someone we’ve not communicated with for years since, that is now only a distant memory—that we were, in fact, in the right at the time? How do we know that our interpretation of what happened is actually accurate, let alone comprehensive?
Well, truth is, we don’t.
A 2017 article in Psychology Today entitled Reality Lies Beyond What We Can Percieve states this concept thusly:
“What we see, smell, hear, taste, and feel are merely the gatekeepers to the mind’s reconstruction of reality. How we interpret them contributes another layer of meaning. Blue eyes may be not just blue but also attractive to you, while I might prefer green ones. A ripe pear might make my stomach growl, while you turn your nose up at it. To a synesthete the presence of either might trigger sounds that only she can hear. Perception is subjective.”
To make things even more difficult, our brains convert all sensory perceptions into language, stories which we then tell ourselves. “This is an apple.” But there are also three different predominant language patterns used by different individuals: visual (sight), auditory (sound), and kinesthetic (touch). When relating experiences linguistically, people will tend to use predominantly one of those three language patterns. An example of visual language patterns would be “I see what you’re saying,” or “I envisioned a different outcome.” Those who use an auditory language pattern might say “I’m hearing you,” or “Sounds like a bad idea.” Whereas those who use a kinesthetic language pattern might say “I feel you,” or “That’s a heavy thought,” or “That’s hard to grasp.”
Notice the difference?
The point is, first we each perceive, or construct, reality differently (subjectively) as unique individuals, then when we convert our filtered (constructed) perceptions into language to tell ourselves the story, then we each use differing language patterns to convey those perceptions to each other.
So how right, or accurate, can any of us truly be?
So when dealing with conflict, it’s very helpful to understand that the subjective perception of your adversary will be different—and possibly just as legitimate—as yours, and even the language they attempt to communicate their perception to you may be different—and again, just as legitimate—from yours.
And if that’s the case, then who’s right (accurate) and who’s wrong (inaccurate)?
Well, probably both and neither, simultaneously. Such is the reality of reality.
For some fascinating examples of how our brains “construct” reality, watch this TED talk by cognitive scientist Dr. Donald Hoffman, who has spent his career trying to answer the question Do we experience the world as it really is, or as we need it to be?:
Examples Of Our Subjective Perceptions of Reality
I thought I’d share some examples of our individual, subjective perceptions, of both others and the incidents we experience (my emphasis in bold/comments in brackets):
In his book Awareness, writes:
“Do you think you help people because you are in love with them? Well, I’ve got news for you. You are never in love with anyone. You’re only in love with your prejudiced and hopeful idea [subjective perception] of that person. Take a minute to think about that: You are never in love with anyone, you’re in love with your prejudiced idea [subjective perception] of that person. Isn’t that how you fall out of love? Your idea [subjective perception] changes, doesn’t it?
“How could you let me down when I trusted you so much?” you say to someone. Did you really trust them? You never trusted anyone. Come off it! That’s part of society’s brainwashing. You never trust anyone. You only trust your judgment [subjective perception] about that person. So what are you complaining about? The fact is that you don’t like to say, “My judgment [subjective perception] was lousy.” That’s not very flattering to you, is it? So you prefer to say, “How could you have let me down?”
In his famous commencement address at Kenyon College (2005) entitled This Is Water, David Foster Wallace elucidates how our reality is constructed from our perceptions, and that we can change our perceptions. Here are some excerpts to consider, and I’ve included the full address (audio file) below the following text. And again, my comments are in brackets:
“Here’s another didactic little story. There are these two guys sitting together in a bar in the remote Alaskan wilderness. One of the guys is religious, the other is an atheist, and the two are arguing about the existence of God with that special intensity that comes after about the fourth beer. And the atheist says: “Look, it’s not like I don’t have actual reasons for not believing in God. It’s not like I haven’t ever experimented with the whole God and prayer thing. Just last month I got caught away from the camp in that terrible blizzard, and I was totally lost and I couldn’t see a thing, and it was 50 below, and so I tried it: I fell to my knees in the snow and cried out ‘Oh, God, if there is a God, I’m lost in this blizzard, and I’m gonna die if you don’t help me.’” And now, in the bar, the religious guy looks at the atheist all puzzled. “Well then you must believe now,” he says, “After all, here you are, alive.” The atheist just rolls his eyes. “No, man, all that was was a couple Eskimos happened to come wandering by and showed me the way back to camp.”
It’s easy to run this story through kind of a standard liberal arts analysis: the exact same experience can mean two totally different things to two different people, given those people’s two different belief templates and two different ways of constructing meaning from experience.”
He goes on to explain how we can change our subjective perceptions:
“I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning [subjective perceptions] from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about “the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.”
“By way of example, let’s say it’s an average adult day, and you get up in the morning, go to your challenging, white-collar, college-graduate job, and you work hard for eight or ten hours, and at the end of the day you’re tired and somewhat stressed and all you want is to go home and have a good supper and maybe unwind for an hour, and then hit the sack early because, of course, you have to get up the next day and do it all again. But then you remember there’s no food at home. You haven’t had time to shop this week because of your challenging job, and so now after work you have to get in your car and drive to the supermarket. It’s the end of the work day and the traffic is apt to be: very bad. So getting to the store takes way longer than it should, and when you finally get there, the supermarket is very crowded, because of course it’s the time of day when all the other people with jobs also try to squeeze in some grocery shopping. And the store is hideously lit and infused with soul-killing muzak or corporate pop and it’s pretty much the last place you want to be but you can’t just get in and quickly out; you have to wander all over the huge, over-lit store’s confusing aisles to find the stuff you want and you have to manoeuvre your junky cart through all these other tired, hurried people with carts (et cetera, et cetera, cutting stuff out because this is a long ceremony) and eventually you get all your supper supplies, except now it turns out there aren’t enough check-out lanes open even though it’s the end-of-the-day rush. So the checkout line is incredibly long, which is stupid and infuriating. But you can’t take your frustration out on the frantic lady working the register, who is overworked at a job whose daily tedium and meaninglessness surpasses the imagination of any of us here at a prestigious college.
But anyway, you finally get to the checkout line’s front, and you pay for your food, and you get told to “Have a nice day” in a voice that is the absolute voice of death. Then you have to take your creepy, flimsy, plastic bags of groceries in your cart with the one crazy wheel that pulls maddeningly to the left, all the way out through the crowded, bumpy, littery parking lot, and then you have to drive all the way home through slow, heavy, SUV-intensive, rush-hour traffic, et cetera et cetera.
Everyone here has done this, of course. But it hasn’t yet been part of you graduates’ actual life routine, day after week after month after year.
But it will be. And many more dreary, annoying, seemingly meaningless routines besides. But that is not the point. The point is that petty, frustrating crap like this is exactly where the work of choosing is gonna come in. Because the traffic jams and crowded aisles and long checkout lines give me time to think, and if I don’t make a conscious decision about how to think and what to pay attention to, I’m gonna be pissed and miserable every time I have to shop. Because my natural default setting is the certainty that situations like this are really all about me. About MY hungriness and MY fatigue and MY desire to just get home, and it’s going to seem for all the world like everybody else is just in my way. And who are all these people in my way? And look at how repulsive most of them are, and how stupid and cow-like and dead-eyed and nonhuman they seem in the checkout line, or at how annoying and rude it is that people are talking loudly on cell phones in the middle of the line. And look at how deeply and personally unfair this is.
Or, of course, if I’m in a more socially conscious liberal arts form of my default setting, I can spend time in the end-of-the-day traffic being disgusted about all the huge, stupid, lane-blocking SUV’s and Hummers and V-12 pickup trucks, burning their wasteful, selfish, 40-gallon tanks of gas, and I can dwell on the fact that the patriotic or religious bumper-stickers always seem to be on the biggest, most disgustingly selfish vehicles, driven by the ugliest [responding here to loud applause] — this is an example of how NOT to think, though — most disgustingly selfish vehicles, driven by the ugliest, most inconsiderate and aggressive drivers. And I can think about how our children’s children will despise us for wasting all the future’s fuel, and probably screwing up the climate, and how spoiled and stupid and selfish and disgusting we all are, and how modern consumer society just sucks, and so forth and so on.
You get the idea.
If I choose to think this way in a store and on the freeway, fine. Lots of us do. Except thinking this way tends to be so easy and automatic that it doesn’t have to be a choice. It is my natural default setting. It’s the automatic way that I experience the boring, frustrating, crowded parts of adult life when I’m operating on the automatic, unconscious belief that I am the centre of the world, and that my immediate needs and feelings are what should determine the world’s priorities.
The thing is that, of course, there are totally different ways to think about these kinds of situations. In this traffic, all these vehicles stopped and idling in my way, it’s not impossible that some of these people in SUV’s have been in horrible auto accidents in the past, and now find driving so terrifying that their therapist has all but ordered them to get a huge, heavy SUV so they can feel safe enough to drive. Or that the Hummer that just cut me off is maybe being driven by a father whose little child is hurt or sick in the seat next to him, and he’s trying to get this kid to the hospital, and he’s in a bigger, more legitimate hurry than I am: it is actually I who am in HIS way.
Or I can choose to force myself to consider the likelihood that everyone else in the supermarket’s checkout line is just as bored and frustrated as I am, and that some of these people probably have harder, more tedious and painful lives than I do.“
“But most days, if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she’s not usually like this. Maybe she’s been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible. It just depends what you want to consider. If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.
Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it.“
You can listen to the entire speech here:
It’s Probably You, Probably
In a recent Freedomain podcast (below video), Dr. Jordan Peterson discussed something along these lines with host Stefan Molyneux. (In the interest of saving your time, the relevant portion of the discussion begins at mark 40:54).
First, regarding forgiveness, Dr. Peterson said there are two reasons to forgive someone: 1) to help redeem them, 2) and so you don’t have to carry the weight of hatred and resentment. He then elaborated:
“So there’s a certain amount of psychological utility in having a forgiving attitude just so you don’t carry around any more slings and arrows than you have to.” (43:20 mark)
In other words, as I discussed in my article How do I Forgive the Unforgivable?, we don’t necessarily forgive others because they deserve to be forgiven, but because we deserve peace of mind.
But also in that conversation, Dr. Peterson said something that really struck me, and is one of the ideas that I’m trying to convey in this article:
“You can also fall prey to the delusion that that next person that you find is somehow going to be less problematic than the person that you’ve already traded in, and the problem with that is that it’s not the person you traded in that’s the problem, probably, it’s probably you, and you’re going to bring yourself to the next relationship.” (48:15 mark) (emphasis mine)
But what echoed in my mind when he said that was a simpler, boiled-down version: “It’s probably you, probably.” And that has become a maxim for me, when struggling with conflicts with others.
So now, whenever I’m having unnecessary conflict with someone in my life, I think, it’s probably me, probably, and I then began working out what I can do to resolve the conflict, rather than what I think they should do.
It’s Not About You
The lives and actions of others aren’t about us. Everyone is wrapped up in their own lives, their own problems, pursuing their own success and happiness. They have no intention of changing what they’re doing to make US happy, or make OUR life easier. They have theirs, we have ours, and if we’re not happy with ours, then WE need to change what WE are doing, we cannot expect them to change what they’re doing.
And if we can’t resolve the conflict through our own changes in our approach and manner of communication—or at least reduce it to a level we’re willing to tolerate—then our only choice is to eliminate the conflict, by vastly reducing our interaction with them, “downgrading” the relationship to a more appropriate level given their lack of reciprocation, or even ending the relationship altogether.
A helpful mindset in this is to realize that most of what others say and do isn’t about us. It likely has nothing to do with us. So we need to forget our paranoia, our suspicions, our defensiveness, our assumption that we’re being disrespected. Other people are living their own lives, doing their own thing, and they’re probably not even—or rarely, if at all—thinking about us as they do so. So when we believe they’re causing conflict in our life by NOT doing what we think they should be doing regarding us and our situation, or that they WOULD do this or that if they really cared about us, realize that it most likely isn’t really true. They’re just living their life, and their actions or behavior in the process has nothing to do with us.
It’s easy for us to believe that other people’s worlds should revolve around us, just as our world revolves around us, and if they don’t act as if it does, then we feel rejected or disrespected or hurt. But truth is, it doesn’t, nor should it. Their world revolves around them, as it should.
So its best for us to stop taking it personally, because it’s not about us. Any perception otherwise is probably all in our head.
And adopting this mindset is beneficial for many reasons, not just that of better enabling forgiveness.
Or, in David Foster Wallace’s words, again borrowed from his aforementioned commencement speech This Is Water:
“Here is just one example of the total wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute centre of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely think about this sort of natural, basic self-centredness because it’s so socially repulsive. But it’s pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute centre of. The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU or behind YOU, to the left or right of YOU, on YOUR TV or YOUR monitor. And so on. Other people’s thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real.“
Our Vast Ignorance
It is said that there are three types of knowledge: 1) what we know, 2) what we don’t know, and 3) what we don’t know we don’t know.
I’ve seen the following graphic illustrating this concept floating around the internet lately:
But I say there are actually five types of knowledge: 1) what we know, 2) what we don’t know, 3) what we don’t know we don’t know, plus 4) what we’ll never know, and 5) what we’ll never know we’ll never know.
So I reworked the graphic a bit:
A few years ago, I experienced this profound moment of astounded awe myself. I spent spent years educating myself daily, in many areas of thought and subject matter. As I progressed, increasing my knowledge day by day, I slowly started to realize, in the grand scheme of things, how very little I knew, and how vastly ignorant I was.
Then a paradox emerged: suddenly it seemed that the more I learned, the more ignorant I became!
Then, the big one hit me, as illustrated in the graphic above: the vastness of what I don’t know, what I don’t know I don’t know, what I will never know, and what I’ll never know I’ll never know, came down on me like a ton of bricks.
It was the most humbling experience of my life.
And the result: First and foremost, I shut the fuck up.
Suddenly realizing how vastly ignorant I truly am completely silenced me when it comes to opining about others and their lives. What do I know? Nothing, really—and I certainly not what’s best for others or their lives. Hell, I can barely discern what’s best for me—and I spent decades royally screwing up my own life as proof of this.
(The caveat being that what IS best for each individual is self-determination, which requires personal liberty and property rights (which includes self-ownership), short of aggressing against others or their property…i.e., the universal value is to allow individuals to decide for themselves what their own values are, and to pursue them).
So I decided from then on that if someone approaches me for my advice or input on something, then sure, I’ll share my thoughts, my knowledge, my philosophy, etc., whatever I can do to help. But otherwise, I shut the fuck up and keep my opinions to myself. Out in the digital world, if people are interested in my thoughts, they can read my social media posts, or come read my blog, of their own volition. But I don’t generally spew my personal opinions about others on social media, and certainly not in the comments section under their posts. I mean, what the fuck do I know about them and their lives, their values, needs, goals, dreams, beliefs, etc.? Nothing, that’s what.
So like I said, I sat down and shut up.
The reason I bring this up is because once one educates oneself to the point of suddenly grasping how vastly ignorant one truly is, then that understanding lends itself to the act of forgiveness.
How? For me, it was by asking myself:
Do I really know the intent of others? Their motivation? Their values? Do I know if they even know that they’ve hurt or offended me in some way? Do I know every single detail that led up to the confrontation or incident?
Well, the reality is, no, I don’t know all of these details. None of us do. We can’t. It’s not even possible to know it all, going back to the inability of our brains to perceive objective reality.
So, since I’ve recognized the vast extent of my ignorance, and understand that my brain is incapable of perceiving objective reality, and as an individualist have concluded that I can’t possibly know what’s best for others, then it only stands to reason that my version of the conflictual situation, incident, relationship, interaction, whatever it is I’m struggling with, is most likely inaccurate. Or at a minimum, incomplete.
And due to this ignorance, I have no way of properly or accurately directing blame, I can only assume that I am probably at least 50% at fault, and maybe—or even likely—more (it’s probably me, probably).
In summary, to borrow once again from David Foster Wallace’s aforementioned commencement address This Is Water:
“The point here is that I think this is one part of what teaching me how to think is really supposed to mean. To be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about myself and my certainties. Because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded.”
Diffusing The Blame
As I mentioned earlier in this article, I consider “enlightenment” to be the process of turning the light from the external to the internal, or from others to oneself. This includes responsibility, expectations, validation, encouragement—and yes, even blame.
When we do this, by honestly considering all the aforementioned factors and variables, then we begin to diffuse the concentrated beam of blame that has prevented us from forgiving our perceived wrongdoer: some is attributed to each of our differing perceptions of the reality of the situation; some is attributed to miscommunication between us; some is attributed to our assumptions concerning their behavior and motivation; some is attributed to our own ignorance of all the details leading up to the conflict; some is, in retrospect, attributed to our own contribution to the conflict.
And as the concentrated beam of blame is diffused, likewise is the accompanying anger, resentment, offense, sadness, whatever negative emotion we’ve been clinging to since the incident.
And it all begins to lose its power over us.
Tying It All Together
In summary: once we realize and accept the concepts discussed here—that we all construct our own unique realities through our uniquely filtered perceptions, and that our brains are incapable of perceiving objective reality, and that we are vastly ignorant in the grand scheme of things, and that the lives, actions, and behavior of others are generally not about us, that it’s “probably us, probably,” that we could be at least half to blame for any unresolved conflict, and that we can only control ourselves, so that’s where our focus and expectations should be, and not on others—and then taking the responsibility for our own likely contribution to the conflict, as well as for implementing the changes (or simply the reframing) required to resolve conflicts, i.e., turning the light onto ourselves, and off of others, then again: the concentrated beam of blame begins to diffuse, and along with it the negative emotions that we’ve been harboring since the incident.
And suddenly, it becomes much easier to forgive our perceived wrongdoers, to let the incident go, and to move on—or perhaps even to pursue resolution and reconciliation with them, if it’s possible, if it’s not too late.
How This Understanding Has Helped Me Forgive
How all this has helped me specifically is that now, in hindsight, I realize that many of the conflicts in my past were likely the result of misperceptions, misunderstandings, miscommunication (or a total lack of communication). In other words, I am not only vastly ignorant, but am also incapable of perceiving objective reality…
I also realize now that I probably contributed just a much, if not more, to the conflict. And I’ve taken ownership of that. In other words, I turned the light onto myself...
I know now that I was a clueless fucking idiot back then. So today there is little doubt in my mind that much of the blame for those conflicts rests with me. And if I were to relive them today, (I’m still an idiot, though not quite so clueless) my perception of the incident would be entirely different. In fact, I’d probably realize that they were right, and I was wrong. In other words, it was probably me, probably…
So, knowing all of this now, how can I, in good conscious, continue to place all the blame on the others, and none of it on myself? How can I not simply forgive them for whatever part of the conflict was in fact their doing, let go of the incident, and move on with my, with the hope that at some point they were able to do the same for me? In other words, I diffused the blame, which diffused the negative emotions, which enabled forgiveness.
I will never know if they ever forgave me for the part I undoubtedly played in those conflicts, it’s too late for that now, for various reasons; but I’ve forgiven them in my heart, I’ve let go of those incidents and moved on—and that’s made a huge difference in my life.
And from now on, I’ll work to do the same whenever I encounter conflict—only much sooner, before it’s too late to resolve the conflict and/or repair the relationships.
(Side Note: Obviously, there will be cases in which someone just totally screwed you over, no doubt about it, no question or ambiguity, that’s what happened, end of story. In such cases, the thoughts and ideas I’ve presented here probably won’t apply or be substantially helpful. (I’ve addresses such difficult situations in my previous article How do I Forgive the Unforgivable?).
On the other hand, there simply is no universal solution. My intent here is to offer up the cognitive methods I’ve utilized to reframe my past conflicts with others in a way that has enabled me to forgive them—or at least let go of those painful experiences and move on—in the hope that they might help others do the same. I understand that these ideas won’t be applicable to any and all cases, as much as I wish they could be).
Before, and After—and After Is Better
Author Steven Pressfield opened his book Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work (which quickly became my writing “bible”, which I review every few months just to revive/reinforce the proper mindset) with this statement:
“I wrote in The War of Art that I could divide my life neatly into two parts: before turning pro, and after. After is better.”
Likewise, I can now say that I can divide my life neatly into two parts: before I turned the light off of others and onto myself—and after.
And after is definitely better.
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