Ben Delphia @BenDelphia: I just got scammed out of about $10K. What should I do? How to move forward?
“WTF!” That’s what you do. Once. Just say it out loud once. “WHAT THE!” See how it feels like. Notice the feeling so you can notice it later. Say hello to it so you deliberately make that feeling something separate from yourself. And get used to it. It’s not leaving.
All of our life we go from betrayal to betrayal. We cling to our youth only to have our bodies betrayed by our advancing years. We cling to our ambitions only to be betrayed by our anxieties throughout our career. We cling to money only to be betrayed by that feeling of “it’s never enough”. We are betrayed by relationships. Our emotions constantly betray us with dreamlike images of love and romance.
We hold to images of ourselves that turn out to be incorrect, betraying us with either their arrogance or falseness. Even your $10,000. Did it give you a false sense of safety? Did it give you a false sense of success that now you have lost? Did you incorrectly think you were a good judge of people. What other betrayals happened along the way for you to lose this $10,000?
You get scars on your body, in your head, a purple-black bruise on your heart that will never go away. There’s no way to understand them. You can say, “what the fuck!” WTF just happened! How did I let that happen again? You can scream out the window: WTF!!!
I will tell you what I did. What I finally did.
A) I say to myself (I said it to myself this very morning), “Right now I’m feeling very bad that I got scammed that way.” I think about where I feel it. Did my breath just get more shallow? Do I feel it in my stomach? Am I feeling angry?
B) I wait for the feeling to pass. Once you notice a feeling, it suddenly becomes separate from you instead of something that completely absorbs you. The more you notice a negative feeling, the better practiced you get at keeping those feelings outside of you. And when something is outside of you, like all things (and people) that are outside of you, it eventually disappears. PRACTICE!
C) You sleep. What happens to people who are anxious or filled with regrets? They don’t sleep. So do the opposite of them. Sleep. And if you have trouble sleeping, take steps to make sure you sleep: no eating after 5pm, no coffee after 9am. No screens: computer or TV, after 6pm. No alcohol. Exercise in the morning. No junk food.
No matter how sad you feel, when you sleep you feel happier. No matter how little money you have, it doesn’t matter when you sleep.
If you still can’t sleep, go to “D”.
D) Do this everytime the regret comes up: List all of the things you are grateful for. Now try something even harder. Try to think of what good things might have come out of the experience. Be grateful for them. You will live a complicated and beautiful life, filled with many choices and paths, some good and some bad. This is only one of those things. Get good at finding the gems of gratitude in even the most inflammatory experiences. This will keep the inflammation down.
This also removes you from time traveling into the regret of the past. It brings you to the present. What are you grateful for this very second? Stop the time traveling.
E) Give up your arrogance and cleverness. It’s egotistical to think you are beyond the machinations of criminals who are out to get you. I had to constantly admit to myself: I might not be the best judge of character, I might not be the best with money, I might not be smarter than everyone else. What do you do with this newfound ignorance? It takes a very long time to learn how to avoid psychopaths. I’m still learning.
It’s a blessing in disguise to be constantly bewildered. Cultivate that bewilderment. Scientists don’t arrogantly determine the universe. They test their theories. Often they are wrong. They experiment. They test. They repeat. So will you. And every single time you get something wrong, your ideas of the universe will expand. This is the ONLY way you achieve mastery.
F) MOST IMPORTANT: Forgive the person who scammed you. He’s just as unconscious as everyone else. And in his own insecurity and desperation he felt the need to take $10,000 from you. This is not to say it’s a good thing what he did. You don’t forgive him for his benefit. Hopefully he goes to jail. But you forgive him because it’s how you move on. It’s how you put him in the past so your present doesn’t include images of him. You asked me in the Q&A three times how to get over this guy. You put him behind you, that’s how. Right now. Forgive hin.
I’m sorry, my friend, that you got ripped off. I wish that person would give you back your 10,000 dollars. That is a lot of money. But you’re almost certainly never going to get it back. Just as certainly as you will one day die. Between those two certainties there will be many more regrets and anxieties. But right now think of what you are grateful for. If you don’t then this moment will be wasted and it will never come back again.
And then you will realize that you just scammed yourself out of the most valuable thing life is currently giving you.