I was talking to a friend today about a situation that I just can’t seem to completely remove myself from or have removed from me. I said I was aware that my actions often backslid myself into the position I didn’t want to be in and I had two choices: 1. do things how I usually do them, which is to make continual, slow and griding process-up the mountain 3 steps forward 4 steps back or to stop walking completely and just sit with it. Sit with it until it’s gone, until it means nothing, until it means everything. She noted that that is obviously, short-term the much harder option but long-term the less exhaustive option. Sitting with it is what we are least likely to do, we will do anything to avoid having to deal with pain, the suffering, the anguish head-on with no distractions. We live in a culture that does not value the time it takes to do this or the willpower and decisiveness. And that is why I think sitting with it is always the answer.
Fear has become a fascination for me. I’m constantly afraid. Afraid of not fitting in, afraid of fitting in, afraid of never succeeding, afraid of actual success. All this fear keeps me trapped in this tiny cramped bubble of nothing so I’ve started searching for fear. Anything that makes me uncomfortable? Let’s go do it! Let’s talk to the person we’re intimidated by, let’s try something that we know we are going to be judged for (and stick with it for 6-12 months). I don’t choose to look at fear as something negative, it’s really there just trying to keep me safe. It doesn’t realize that we don’t live a thousand years ago and now, staying in is the thing that will kill us not the opposite. I think that’s why so many more people struggle now with fear and change-we have to work against our natural biology to succeed. We no longer live in a world where we have to be physical and go out and the world pushes our boundaries. Our boundaries are here, they live with us in our homes and cars, on our laptops and phones. We don’t have to search any more because we have everything. So now the challenge is, we have to actively search to make ourselves afraid because when we are afraid we’re working, we’re fighting, we’re pushing our boundaries. It’s ironic how things being easier actually makes them harder.
Most people say that regret is a bad thing. I would disagree. Regret is an amazing motivator. If you’ve ever sat with the elderly and asked them what they would have done differently they will give you a list of things they wish they’d spent more time on. Living a regret-free life isn’t just accepting that “it was meant to be” it’s being proactive. That fear of missing out, not taking the chance, not going for what you want should motivate you to want to not look back at sixty, seventy, eighty and say I wish I’d done it differently.
We have one chance to get it right. You can’t get that time back once it’s gone and I can guarantee the fear of failure and the fear of being uncomfortable are so much less than the fear of seeing what could have been.
When people ask you, “hey so how was your day, did you have a good day?” what do you usually tell them? So and so did this, this and that happened and yeah I guess it was good or no it wasn’t that great. Have you ever stopped to think though, why was I unhappy or happy based on any of those things or people? Because you (and I) gave our happiness to them and said here, “make me feel better” and then we were probably disappointed. I am one of the worst at this!! (I say one of the worst but I ought to say, it’s something I am learning to do better-positive reframing y’all, lets get it done). I let people and situations sway my happiness, sway my peace of mind every day all day. And for what, what am I getting out of it. Nothing! Nothing at all and neither are you. This has become such an ingrained habit, so unconscious that I barely notice it most of the time. My mood swings left and right and up and down depending on my dogs, how easy it was to find the things I needed at the hardware store, whether my significant other is in a good mood. I’m sacrificing my calm and literally throwing it on a trash pile, setting it on fire and going “I wonder why I’m so unhappy all the time”. We as a culture do this as well. We are consumers of almost every category looking for that moment of joy or fulfilment before we allow ourselves to be thrown into the waves, treading water in our own self-made mediocrity and anguish. There is no magic cure, no program to getting out of this way of life. It’s literally 2 steps-notice and stop. Notice that you’re giving your happiness away to this person or that thing and stop it. Take it back, say “I’m not going to spend 2 or even 10 minutes upset by this”. Trust me, no one and nothing deserves your happiness, joy or contentment more than you do.
I think one of best things I’ve learned is that rejection is a great foundation for change. Whether it’s a job or a person, being told no for whatever reason can either light a spark and kick you into a state of change or it can cripple you. Something I am continually teaching myself is to seek out rejection. Apply for the job that you want even if you’re not fully qualified, ask a CEO or idol for advice or that random guy/girl you like out on a date. Look for ways to be told no-it makes you stronger than you think. Rejection can even be more abstract such as not being as successful or “popular” as you hoped but working harder none the less. We are constantly looking for yes’s, acceptance and to avoid being told no. I think this lack of tolerance for failure is what brings so many people down and I myself have struggled and fallen victim to this mentally as well. The no’s are what should fuel you just as much as the yes’s.
I think we now live in a time where we are really comfortable with complacency and depression. There is this feeling that we are part of a group if we are self-deprecating and consistently unappreciative of ourselves and our lives. This masking of unhappiness as jokes and sarcasm does far more deep-rooted damage than most of us are willing to be aware of. Instead of speaking our best and therefore being our best we want to not rise above the pack and the culture and or take control of our lives and our thoughts. This is what I believe is a fundamental issue with modern mental health and addressing depression and other disorders. Change not only how you think but what you say and you will change yourself and encourage others to better themselves as well.