by Joel Lawler
I hate corned beef hash. At least I thought I did.
My mom would make it and I would not touch it. Meat in a can? YUCK! The smell of it made me gag. The slimy fat and oil around rim of the can is just plain GROSS. She would threaten me with "if you don't eat it, you can't have anything else the rest of the day." I would rather starve than swallow a bite of that nasty stuff.
I was staying with some family. There was a breakfast made for us. A plate was prepared for me. It had eggs over easy, tomatoes, hash browns and……..corned beef hash.
Well, it would be rude to not at least choke down a little of it.
It tasted great.
That combination is a one of my favorite meals.
In my mind I had decided that corned beef hash was horrible. I was dead set on never ever eating it again. My mind was made up and that was that.
I was wrong.
Missing out on corned beef hash is really no big deal but I wonder how many other things I have decided are bad based on an experience or prejudice?
How many things have I been dead set against and been wrong about?
What about people?
When I don't like someone these negative feelings are inside me. I am responsible for the negative feeling, not the other person. Someone else in my place might like the person. I am making a demand. I have an expectation of this person. I am playing the dictator. I want to run the person's life. I want to tell them exactly how they're expected to be and how they're expected to behave. If they do not toe the line of my demands, I will have negative feelings about them.
Where do we get the idea that we have that kind of power?
It is pure selfishness on my part to demand that someone live their life as I see fit. The selfishness lies in demanding that someone else live their life to suit my tastes, or my pride, or my gain or my pleasure.
These judgments are my preferences. I am not seeing the person as they are. I am seeing the person as I am. This is a reflection on me. My condemnation is not based in reality. I have added to reality. Truth is or it is not. Something cannot be almost true. Reality is what it is. If I bring my own preferences to it, it is not reality. I am living in an illusion.
If someone causes me to have strong feelings, it is my choice. The only power someone has over my feelings is the control I give them. The beliefs exist in me; not in reality. No matter how strongly I hated corned beef hash, it remained corned beef hash. Now that I have decided that I like corned beef hash, it is still corned beef hash. One hundred years from now, when I am dead and gone, corned beef hash will be corned beef hash.
We want to dictate life to fit our preferences. We want to build our own little kingdoms where things and people conform to our will. There will never be any happiness in this fruitless and tireless pursuit. It is chasing after the wind. The harder we press towards this impossible goal, the more we will find ourselves isolated from others. Each and every one of us has an innate desire for freedom. There will always be tension and conflict between people where one person is trying to control the other.
Our preferences, whether they be about things or people belong solely to us. We may be able to find others with similar thoughts, feelings and beliefs, but when pressed far and deep enough at some point there will be a diversion. We are all different and have different experiences and interrupt these things our own way.