Shiroe Makabe’s Top 10 Philosophies
10 Be Patient
Being impatient, trust me, is just going to make you irritable. Things are going to happen in their own time, and nothing you do will rush them. This applies to short-term things like waiting for dinner to finish cooking when you’re hungry, to long-term things, such as writing a novel or having a baby. Sometimes you just need to stand back, take a deep breath, and remind yourself to simply be patient.
9 Believe in Yourself
You can do it! You just have to believe you can. Keep in mind your strengths and weaknesses - you’re probably not going to learn quantum physics if you’re weak at math – but believe in the abilities and competencies you do have. Don’t be afraid to play up your positives and strengths, because the more you get in the habit of projecting them, the easier it becomes to be confident.
8 Change is Constant – All Things Pass
Good times and bad times, all things change eventually. Whether this change is by your own hand or through some other means, things never stay the same. There’s a saying in many places that if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. If you wait long enough, change will occur. Whether or not you like that change is up to how much control you maintain over it.
7 Everything is Connected
If you think of reality as a tapestry, with various strands woven together to make one cohesive whole, you can see where this view comes from. And it’s easy to see samples of this tapestry in our environment, in biospheres and ecosystems around the world. We humans tend to disconnect ourselves from nature, considering ourselves separate, when in fact, we are a part of a much larger whole. This not only includes our interactions with the environment, however, but also our interactions with each other, as we shall explore further.
6 Be Hospitable
Entire cultures have been wiped out because someone was inhospitable to someone else. Examples of this include Sodom and Gomorrah, and the FIrbolgs’ treatment of the bard Cathbad in Irish mythology. So much of my background is based on hospitality that it’s impossible not to make this a primary tenet of my philosophy. When guests come over, I try to give them my undivided attention and be entertaining. I try to have extra beverages and maybe a snack available. Being a good host or hostess is an important quality in most cultural traditions and is included in many holy books as a virtue worthy of admiration.
5 Make Everything Great
I picked this one up from an old boss of mine. In fact, at first I thought it was the dumbest thing in the world. His idea was to tell everyone who asked how I was that I was “Great!” in the most enthusiastic tone I could generate. Now I am an adherent to this little trick of psychology. Not only can you convince yourself that everything is great, but your enthusiasm is infectious (remember how we established that everything is connected?). You wind up convincing yourself into a good mood all the time and invoking a positive attitude in the people you encounter. Sometimes you really have to put on a show to cover negative emotions or thoughts, but in the end, as the old saying goes, you wind up faking it till you make it.
4 When in Doubt, Breathe
The Hindus believe that life energy comes through the breath, and that by controlling your breathing in various ways you can directly affect your body. This is absolutely true. Controlled breathing has a calming effect that is both physical and psychological in nature. The psychological aspect is that the physical control takes concentration that in an emergency or intense situation (such as an argument) is being channeled into negative emotions and panic. The physical aspect of controlled breathing is that it brings a steady stream of oxygen through our bodies and brains, which has a relaxing, soothing effect and helps us think more clearly. Controlled breathing should be practiced at least once each day but is extremely useful in tight situations.
3 Think For Yourself
Many people adhere to ideologies, which are sets of ideas bundled together that must all be taken whether the idea is good or bad. Thinking for oneself involves taking the good ideas out of an ideology, and discarding the bad ones. Many people who think for themselves adhere to no ideology, but take the good ideas from several ideological sets (this list is an example of that). Whether your ideas agree with mine, form them yourself based on facts and convictions, but never feel you have to embrace an idea just because you won’t fit in with the crowd if you don’t.
2 Be Nice to Yourself
This is so hard for most people. We are our own worst critics and often treat ourselves badly in a variety of ways. Sometimes it’s good to simply smile at yourself in the mirror or take that extra five minutes in the shower luxuriating in the warmth of it. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself like you would treat a loved one. That’s not narcissistic, that’s just being decent to yourself, and your life can’t be lived without you.
1 The Only Thing You Own is You
No matter your material wealth or lack thereof, the only thing that belongs to any of us is ourselves – our personalities, our unique identities, our reputation. Everything we do and say is noticed and judged by the people around us. The idea here is not to get wrapped up in what other people think, but to have good things associated with just the mention your name. In the end, being known for qualities like trust, fulfilling obligations, and keeping your word are far more valuable than anything money can buy. (Note: I found the picture AFTER I wrote this article!)
The idea behind sharing these philosophies is twofold – perhaps you’ve never thought about things from that angle before, or perhaps you think you’re the only person in the world who has. Either way, I hope it has stimulated you to think about your own personal philosophies and how you try to live. As suggested in the beginning of this article, perhaps make a list, especially effective in your own handwriting, of your own ideas and keep it in a handy place to reinforce them in your mind. If so inclined, perhaps meditate or pray on each one as part of your daily routine. Self-knowledge is the most important knowledge one can possess, and it’s up to each of us to know ourselves – no one can do it for you.