This is the first of a two-part Birthday series of posts. Yes, it's my birthday today, so I'm out and won't be able to respond to your comments for a few days. This is a scheduled post, so I aplogize for the delay in my replies.
Let's just get this out of the way. Yes, you read that correctly. It's my birthday today :D I'm not very fond of announcing it to the world, but I think it's relevant for this topic. With regard to Steemit, this is also the one year anniversary of my introduction post. It's a weird anniversary to celebrate, especially since I celebrated my one-year anniversary on Steemit last month. But, it's relevant to me because it was previously my last post on Steemit.
A lot can happen in one year
For the purpose of not being redundant, I won't repeat the lessons I've learned in my anniversary post. If you're interested in reading about it, you can click the earlier link to have a look see. Since I've already taken a look back, it's time to push forward. This time around, I hope to experience Steemit during the early Ber months.
I'm glad you asked! By acknowledging your past and learning from them, of course! A year ago, right before I started to publish my fiction on Steemit, the posts I made centered around life lessons or self-help tips that were brought upon by my past experiences. Suffice to say, that positively bombed. In the weeks that followed, I asked myself why it was the case. I felt resentful especially when I saw other people's posts were doing significantly better even though I felt my output was far more superior. I was wrong, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
I'm relatively young, so I hadn't experienced as much as other people. Who was I to impart lessons? I was no expert, but I can definitely speak from experience. Sure, I was under the premise that I want people to not suffer through what I went through by giving them a sort of heads up. It was simple, and it had a clear purpose. But, it wasn't received well, or at least, not how I expected it to be received.
I don't care about rank or fame. For me, as long as you actively interact and vote on my posts, I will return the favor and be supportive of you whether you're a minnow, a dolphin or a whale. I assumed that it was what others felt, and therein lies where my argument breaks down. I get that now, a year and @lukestokes' constant reminders have taught me that. Why would anyone even listen to my ramblings? No one should be obligated to do that. I could blame a lot of my sense of entitlement on a number of different factors, but instead I'll just blame the one thing that I can do something about—me.
We are the captains of our souls
You might be wondering, after the realization that lessons I impart don't get read as much, why am I choosing to write something similar to celebrate my birthday and the anniversary of my (previously) last article on Steemit? Isn't it ironic that I haven't learned my lesson about writing life lesson posts? Haha!
Don't get me wrong, I'm in a good place right now. Please don't mistake the tone of this post as a reflection of my current state. I've been posting my catharseries during Thursdays, so this might be a spill over from that. I guess my current mood can be depicted by one of my favorite poems of all time.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
~ Invictus by William Ernest Henley
As I stated earlier, the purpose of this post is to help me (and hopefully others) propel myself (or ouselves) forward. You could consider it a lightening of the load, an unstrapping of the ballasts or an unchaining of an anchor. One post isn't enough to discuss everything, but I want this to be a step in the right direction. Since life lessons from my experience don't truly make a dent, might as well relay the ones that experts have already written about.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with turning on the ignition
Laozi had it right about taking a single step, and even though it's still widely applicable today, there have been centuries worth of lessons that we can use as stepping stones so that we don't have to reinvent the wheel or start from scratch, or any square one cliche quotes. I mean, there is no shame in standing in the shoulders of giants after all. I've tackled @lukestokes' lesson about adjusting expectations in my Steem anniversary post, and even though I want to continually exalt him with praises, I feel like a next topic is warranted.
As I said earlier, even though I feel happy for others' success, I can't help but feel saddened about the lack of it on my end. I once wrote posts about the love being shared around, and while I still hope for it to be true, I'm now leaning towards the realization that it might never be achieved. While there are efforts to uplift others, there are still a portion of the community that remains ignored—myself included. But, this is not a plea, or even a post to make others feel sorry about users like me.
Resentment still kicks in from time to time, and after reading The Headwinds/Tailwinds Asymmetry by Gilovich and Davidai I've learned that there is a simple way to limit resentment and fuel gratitude.
Invisible force, visible results
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
~ traditional Gaelic blessing
Gratitude is one of those things that's easy to say but hard to truly feel, isn't it? That's not to demean anyone who has ever been grateful about anything. It's just really hard to remain grateful, and that's not anyone's fault. That phenomena is called the hedonic treadmill which is the tendency of humans to a relatively stable level of happiness. With regard to Steemit, if a person routinely receives hundreds of votes and tons of earnings, expectations and desires rise in tandem. So, don't ever fault yourself for feeling negative. The best thing that you could do is to acknowledge it and conquer it.
I don't think chastising others for their negativity is the way to go. As someone who often feels that life is out to get me, I don't ever appreciate being called out for doing something "wrong." Instead, what we can do to help is to remind others of the good things going for them. Life is hard, and it's often easy to think that others have it easier. This is where the headwinds/tailwinds asymmetry comes into play.
Since this isn't my original work, I don't want to copy and paste their work and earn from it. Instead, I'm going to provide a cliff notes/TLDR version based on my understanding of it. Basically, the names were derived from the concept in running and cycling of "running/cycling into the wind" and "running/cycling with the wind at your back."
As it stands, we're aware of our headwinds, those things that retard our progress but we can't do anything much about. The only thing we can do is to mitigate their effects and hope that the course of the winds change to favor us. When the course eventually changes, and we have the wind on our back, that's what is called the tailwinds, which is something we're grateful for. Although, as evidenced in their studies, humans often feel grateful for them for only a short amount of time before we fail to notice that very same wind that carries us along. In a way, I guess this is where the hashtag First World Problem stems from. People often complain about stuff that others already consider a luxury.
Now that we know that we're taking things for granted, how does this relate to increasing our gratitude? It's simple really, once we tally all of the little things we should be grateful for, we would feel much better about our lot in life, and not think that we're getting the shorter end of the stick.
Just to sidetrack for a bit, since we're on the part about comparing our lives to others. Why do we do that? I mean, there are tons of psychological studies that tackles it, but I'm asking those of you who are guilty of it. Why? Are we unhappy about what we have? Does comparing our lives to others make us feel any better? I'm not washing my hands clean of this, because I, too, compare my life to others from time to time.
Greed and envy only contribute to fueling resentment, which is one of the main opponents of gratitude. We don't need to compare ourselves to others, because we're all fighting our own battles. Once we're aware of this fact, we should take it upon ourselves to battle our own pathological tendencies and rise above that. It's easier said than done, but this is one step in our thousand-mile journey.
The wind beneath my wings
Increased well-being, a calmer mind, a more generous orientation toward others, greater overall satisfaction—these are but some of the benefits of being grateful. Knowing all of this, it's hard to figure out why we would ever choose the opposite. But, it's ingrained in us, that's why we have to go, well, against the grain and fight our negative tendencies. Just by taking note of all your tailwinds (all your advantages, the ways your life had been made easier), you're already heading in the right direction. It could be as simple as you're still living and breathing, or you have internet that you're able to communicate with others across the globe.
Since it's my birthday allow me to list some of my tailwinds here on Steemit. Now, I'll inevitably miss some tailwinds, but this is just a starter list, and I'm just listing things from the top of my head.
It goes without saying that I'm thankful for the constant companionship of my fiancée @randomli, and even though she doesn't spend much time on Steemit, she is truly my rock in the real world. The wedding preps have hit a rather unlucky rough patch because of some suppliers, but we're working through it together. She has been a sponge that absorbs most of my anxiety, and I know it must be hard, that's why I'm thankful for her every day.
I'm grateful for @lukestokes and his co-founder Brett Florio for taking a chance on a young(ish) Filipino kid to man their support. Even though the contract was brief, I'm still thankful for everything I have learned and experienced. I haven't fully realized it yet, but I know it had opened a lot of doors for me.
@dreemit for being the ever-inclusive older sister I never had, you constantly push me to become better here on this platform and you always make it a point to make me feel remembered.
@ezzy my brother from another mother, your tireless words of encouragement uplift me to no end, even though you've already reached new heights you still take the time to visit me in the shallows.
@meesterboom my comrade from a different continent, our interaction in the comments is a highlight of my day and one which I believe is the stuff of legend. You're an example to be followed, and even if you didn't mean to be, you have become quite a mentor for me.
@naquoya you have one of the most inquisitive minds I have ever known, and while your writing is above and beyond my level, I appreciate how you place my writing side by side with yours. I completely feel humbled by it, and I'll forever feel undeserving.
@ryivhnn your post-long comments are always so entertaining and engaging, it's always a treat getting the chance to interact with you. Always so insightful and full of energy.
@therealpaul I know we haven't had that much interactions yet, but I know we'll make up for lost time. I've always admired your work, be it art or fiction, or others, and I truly wish that I could emulate it even to some extent.
@finleyexp I'm glad you came back when you did. While you had your personal reasons for taking a break, I'm sure you'll be able to make up for the time you have lost in no time.
I'm thankful for my screwy internet, even if it peaks at 2 mbps on a 5 mbps plan, and it gets disconnected every few minutes. Other people don't even have access to the internet, so I'm grateful for what I have.
I'm thankful for services like @randowhale who gives everyone an equal opportunity to earn.
I'm thankful for everyone who reads my post, even if they don't leave a comment. I'm even more thankful for those who take the time to leave a comment after reading at least half of my posts. I'm not thankful for people who comment Nice post, but I don't have that many of those because I am but a humble veteran minnow.
I'm thankful for Steemit for giving us the opportunity to express ourselves and communicate like this. While I'm not always its biggest fan, I appreciate its existence and I thank the people who work hard to keep it running. Thank you to @ned and @dan (to Dan also for giving me my highest earning post ever during my infancy on Steemit).
I'm thankful for the electricity that powers my computer and phone. Not many people have the luxury to have it, so I'm grateful that it's able to provide light and other comforts.
I'm thankful for clean-ish air, and that it doesn't force me to wear a mask every time I go out. I want to thank the sun for shining, even though it took a break for a few seconds the other day (even if I didn't get to see it).
I'm thankful for my parents and my family for all of the help they have given me. I'm most especially thankful for the education I was afforded. While I didn't live up to my full potential, knowing that I was able to reach the heights I did is truly a blessing.
Most especially, I want to thank you for reaching the end of this post. Whew! Just by writing all of those, I feel better already! Try it out for yourself :D You can create a post of your own and link it in the comments section below (along with some thoughts regarding this post, of course), or you can list what you are thankful for as a comment below. I promise to vote 100% as thanks :D
If you want, you can take it a step further and create a gratitude journal. Don't think of this post as something similar to my life lesson posts, because I never meant it to be. As I mentioned, I often fall prey to negativity. Do you have some hacks to increase positivity? Let's help each other out by letting me know in the comments section.
I should've really spent my time talking about how great it is to be a year older, but there's just too many things to be grateful about :D