"The full verse (2 Corinthians 11:19) reads, "ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise." - St. Paul
"You don't suffer for your art, you suffer for your relationships. So, you just live man, just live." - Bob Dylan
"The ones who love us best are the ones we'll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones who love us least are the ones we'll die to please
If it's any consolation, I don't begin to understand them" - Paul Westerberg, The Replacements
Neurosis, I believe, is thinking how the world should be, not how it really is. Too deep a thought for a Monday morning, perhaps, but when you want to figure out yourself that's not a bad start. How many times have you asked the question; "Why don't people just think the same way as I do?"
St. Paul, Bob Dylan, and Paul Westerberg were three wise men. They are much smarter than I. Yet they all asked the same question. When Paul started the Christian Church, God knew he would have rivals. Paul would make more people angry than happy. So telling him to smile and deal with "fools" rather than fight them was a way for him to handle the stress so that he could achieve a greater good, spreading a Gospel.
When Bob Dylan became huge in the 1960s every writer, musician, and artist hung on his every word, thinking Bob had the answers. Then he went electric, he embraced country and rock instead of folk, and suddenly he had critics, enemies, even. He also saw his marriage fail. Bob Dylan knew how human he was, and how his sanity was more important than his art. What he had to say, was, you just live through the hard times and not fight the impending tides of disappointment.
Paul Westerberg saw less talented musicians and songwriters become multimillionaries during his heyday with The Replacments in the 1980s. He was constantly tagged as "critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful". Westerberg was confident enough in his talent but realistic enough in his alcoholism to know where his "place" was at the time. His thought that trying to satisfy people who didn't make you happy would keep you under the thumb of failure every time.
While I may be lesser than all three men, I relate to their mindsets. At some point, I find maturity is about knowing who and what you are rather than doing the right thing all the time. I won't get into the pop psychology of "owning yourself". This blog is the anti-Oprah, if it's anything at all. But being able to understand what makes you tick can help your interactions with people important to you, like your family.
I struggle with being the best I can be for my wife and kids. Wouldn't it be easy if everyone was perfect, we all got along brilliantly every minute of every day, and there were never any dirty dishes? Uh huh. That's not how our world works. I need to be better than what I am. Learning to harness your temper, pick the right battles to wage, and be more understanding are just as important as bringing home a paycheck and being strong. Suffering fools, just livin', and appeciating the ones who love us best is, were, and are good enough for Paul, Bob and Paul. It should be good enough for dumb, ole me. The next time there's dirty clothes, a full sink, a changed female mind, or some new stress I didn't see coming. I'll have this blog to remind me not to lose my mind. After all, if so many people can just relax and get over it, so can I. I'm lucky to have what I have.
You would think I'd play Uncle Bob or Mr. Westerberg. But today's about me getting my mental act together. The song is Lucky Man by The Verve. After all, happiness more or less its just a change in my liberty.