#34 Sometimes You Need to Know You’re an Asshole

“Self love is good thing, but self-awareness is way more important.’” – Louis CK

My mother called me earlier this week. Our conversations usually revolve around the same spiel.

When are you going to get married?
What are doing with your life?
I’m worried about you

I don’t know if it was the drunk and loaded couple on the 38R bus that were trying to convince me they were Steven and Liv Tyler, or the fact that the elastic on my boxer briefs were loose — but I was upset and didn’t know why.

My mothers intentions are always rooted in love but on this particular day, I lost it.

By the way, Steven and Liv are father and daughter. Gross!

With marriage…

I brought up all the divorces within our family, including hers. I brought up real marriage statistics (gasp), and said about 50% of all marriages end in divorce. I then borrowed a line from Bill Burr and asked my mother, if she went skydiving and there was a 50% chance of the parachute not opening, would she still jump? I told her about older married people I’ve encountered throughout my life and how at best, most tolerate each other. If that’s supposed to be love, I’ll pass.

As bitter as I sound, I don’t really feel this way.

Building the bond of love with another is an amazing thing. I just wanted her to get off my back for a minute.

I was an asshole, yet I continued to deliver an onslaught of bullshit.

With work…

I think I may cause my mother grief with my life choices. She wants me to have a stable job with a steady paycheck and “great” benefits.

She doesn’t want me to lead the life of a struggling artist, but I simply don’t care.

I lashed out again.

I told her that I’d rather jump from the Eiffel Tower and hope my left eyelid lands on a nail than work for anyone ever again! I told her how most people will waste their lives in a cubicle doing remedial jobs that a well trained bonobo monkey could do with its eyes closed and hands tied behind its back!! I told her I don’t want to be in my 50’s and look back at my life and say, ““That was a fucking waste of time!’” I told her, I’d rather be poor doing what I love than being rich and living some one else’s fantasy.

I was an asshole, but persisted yet again.

She worries…

I told my mom that her worrying is selfish. She wants “security” for me so she can feel secure.

She worries that my little sister won’t return her calls. It makes her sad and I don’t know how else to comfort her.

I told her bluntly that it’s because she has other priorities in her life right now and as sad as it may seem, you’re not one of them— so stop worrying.

I was being a major asshole.

I respect my mother and although I cant recall the last time I was upset, I know full and well I was out of line.

I immediately felt like shit after I hung up the phone.

Out loud to myself I yelled, “You’re a fucking Asshole!!”

After I gathered my thoughts, I wrote her this text message.

Mothers are quick to forgive and even quicker to approve of their children’s dreams — no matter how far-fetched they sound. She’s still my #1 fan and all I had to do was be her son. I’m lucky to have her in my life. I’m lucky to have great friends and family.

I’m not perfect.
I’ll never be.
I was wrong.

All I can do at this point is be aware of my mistakes and do better next time.

I will do better next time.

Self-love vs self-awareness

Self-love is a great thing. More people should practice it.

I for one, practice loving myself daily.

I exercise, eat healthy, use coconut oil for almost everything, I mean everything, and use a blowdryer, and comb my hair when I go somewhere fancy.

I’ve read more books than I can count on the subjects of spirituality, philosophy, psychology, and personal development so I have a fairly good grasp on the concepts that make a good person. Practicing those concepts is difficult at times.

I’ve spent 10 days meditating for 13–15 hours a day, in the desolate jungles near the Napa Valley region. I volunteer, pick up trash when I see it, and treat my guests like royalty. I’d say I’m a B- human being most days. I like who I am as a person and hope that I am well perceived by others.

Ok, now that’s self love.

Self-awareness is a different thing entirely

Self-awareness is being completely honest about who you are as a person.

It’s admitting when you’re wrong even in the most delicate of situations. It’s having the patience to be completely engaged in listening to another without giving advice. It’s pushing through tough times despite having fear because inside your soul, you know it’s in moments of hardship that growth takes place. It’s understanding your strengths and weaknesses and capitalizing on the strengths. It’s knowing that limitations are temporary. We were limited to crawling until we walked. We were limited to walking until we could run. Limitations are meant to be exceeded.

It’s having patience because Rome wasn’t built in a day and your passions when worked consistently, will take time to achieve. It’s enjoying the journey despite the many roadblocks you will come across. They are temporary my friends. It’s knowing that everyone you will ever meet will FUCKING DIE! So be kind to the kind, be kind to the unkind, and make kindness your nature.

It means knowing that people are inherently good, but they may be going through bad times. You can be there for others, but it’s not your obligation to fix anyone. You can’t so stop trying. It’s having humility by talking less and letting your actions speak. It’s knowing that you can always learn from another. Intelligence is learned, but wisdom comes when you’re honest about who you are as a person.

It’s listening to the elderly. They probably can’t use Instagram if their life depended on it, but they have more wisdom then you will ever know. They’ve been on the planet longer than you, had real experiences, and can teach you something. It’s knowing that you’ll never have all the answers and it’s ok to keep searching. We are all works in progress until our final dirt nap. It’s being vulnerable and asking for help when you need it. It’s being okay and letting your guard down because I’ve found that people are kind and want to help when your cries are genuine.

Last week I walked into my neighborhood grocery store and was greeted by Immanuel, a Mexican man with kind eyes and a pony tail. He’s always in a good mood so I asked him why.

He said, ““Life is full of happiness. I’m happy at work, at home with my girlfriend, or with friends and family. When you come from where I did, you learn to appreciate everything you have, and every moment is happy. I’m happy when I’m sad too!’”

So with that being said, self-awareness is never forgetting what you have and focusing less on what you don’t. No one likes a person with a limiting view of the world. Live in abundance.

It’s not feeling guilty for saying “no” because you know you would be doing yourself and others a disservice if you said “yes.”

And lastly, its knowing when you’re an asshole and having the courage to admit it and make a conscious effort to not be one the next time around.

With Love,

Anand Swamy

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