Who We Are?
Stress can become a habit. And for many of us, it is a habit. A very bad one. We get very uneasy when we finally have nothing to do or nothing to worry about. Our fears have evolved as a species from a physical fear of death, to a psychological fear of boredom. This is the reason why we grope for our phones in the dark at midnight, and why that one family member can’t relax on their day off and is blaming everybody for it. It’s why we can’t turn off the radio in the car and why we feel a slight disappointment when we realize we’ve created a problem out of thin air. We’re carrying a two-ton boulder on our backs, and we protect that boulder like our own life.
How to put the damn thing down?
Wait, that’s not quite right.
How do you slowly convince your mind that it’s completely okay to put all that weight down?
Your mind is afraid. It is endlessly preoccupied with meaningless thoughts because it is afraid. Of what?
If you notice its pattern, what it’s really afraid of is being in the company of yourself. Not what you were in the past, not what you hope to become in the future, but who you are now.
You absolutely hate who you are. Don’t believe me? Notice how you constantly use everyone and everything in your life to convince you that you’re a person worthy of love. The people who love you never have to be convinced, but you do. If the man or woman of your dreams were to write a thirty-page thesis to convince you how worthy you are of their love, your mind will give you a thirty-page thesis to doubt it.
The root of stress is really in not loving ourselves. There are no degrees in love. Love is certain. It shouldn’t be constantly reinforced with thoughts. Either you love yourself or you don’t. And that’s the most vital thing there is because if can’t love yourself, you can’t love. Love is shared not given away. Sacrifice is a foreign concept in love because when it’s shared it increases your joy. So love yourself first and foremost.
Here a few ways you can train your mind to be kind and loving to who you are now.
- Go for an hour long walk without your phone, alone.
-Physically leave everything behind and meet the sunrise. Our minds are wired to believe that the world will disappear once we stop worrying about it. When you’re faced with a problem that seems hopeless to you, leave it all behind. Yes, I’m asking you to do nothing about it and go on a nice little morning stroll. You’ll be amazed how things resolve itself once you stop poking at it. Read Dr. Hawkins’ book, Letting Go if you want to be thoroughly convinced.
- Value entertainment less and less.
-If you’ve ever tried to learn how to write a great screen play, you might have been told that movies are “emotional machines.” They’re meant to manipulate your thoughts and emotions. Can you actually say that you enjoy allowing people to control your mind and feelings? Is that okay with you? I’m not asking you to ban TV and fiction novels from your life. Just see it for what it is.
- Take good care of your living space.
-Who made up the rule that only living things can be loved? Get your Lysol Dual Action Wipes and wipe your dusty dresser like it’s a shiny Lamborghini. Take off your shoes gently. Close the door with great consideration for its feelings. Wash the dishes like they’re your newborn children. Love every object in your home and tend to them well. You can only relax in an environment that isn’t hostile to you. Pick up some scented candles, or even better, an aroma diffuser and fall even more in love with your home. Some of these may sound foolish but big changes always start small. If you can love an inanimate object, loving a human being will be a walk in the park. Big things, on the other hand, start small so keep a clean home.
- Opinions are just opinions.
-If someone has an opinion that opposes yours, bless them and eat your dinner quietly. It’s completely unnecessary to trade one’s peace of mind because of differences in opinion. Days get ruined, sleep is lost, people are murdered, wars are fought because of it. Let love win. If you’re a Christian it might help to say this to the person quietly in your head, “You’re a blessed child of God in whom He is well pleased.” If a person’s blissful ignorance gets in the way of you loving them, you’re asking for a miserable life.
- Focus on the very experience of life in each moment than getting anything out of it.
-Notice how your mind analyzes each situation in terms of how much you can take from it. Train your mind to ask instead, “What does this situation/person need from me?” Usually, it doesn’t ask for more than your full awareness. Giving someone your unjudging presence is the most beautiful act of giving. It doesn’t have to be to somebody. It could be your own emotions that scream and cry out “Look at me!”, it could be the birds, it could be your rumbling stomach, it could be the sandwich you’re about to take a bite from, it could be the window with all the smudges on it. Instead of thinking of them, experience them all as fully as you can.
- If you find yourself looking for something to do, be still and do nothing.
- Learn to think like the driver, not the passenger of your own life.
-It is very easy to be a victim of the world or your own mind. Ever been in a situation when you said something ugly to someone you love and had to apologize and lengthily explain how you acted without thinking? We make decisions every moment. Own your actions completely. Decisions are only meaningful in the present. You can’t say you’ll never do it again. Just stop doing it now.
- Don’t bite the bait.
-Feelings just ask to be felt, not justified. Endless justifications of feelings never do anything other than keep you from experiencing them. Feelings come and go. But feelings can stay lodged in the heart for decades until you decide to feel them. Thoughts don’t help.
- Forgive generously and quickly. Relinquish resentment the moment it is felt
-You’re doing it for no one else but yourself.
- Learn to laugh at your judging thoughts.
-Laugh at yourself when you catch yourself judging. Laughter is a wonderful form of release. How you are to your world is how your world will be to you. You want to be able to go outside and be yourself without feeling judged, so don’t judge anyone. You can never go wrong with kindness and kind thoughts matter too.
- Be patient with yourself.
-By this I mean forgive yourself for the little things and the big things. You don’t have to dissociate with people who enjoy making you feel guilty, but you can stay alert and decide against taking the bait. Errors are only mistakes to be corrected. After the scribes and the Pharisees left the adulteress alone with Jesus after his famous line, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Jesus told her to “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
- Think twice when you start any sentence with “I can’t..”
-Whenever you hear your thoughts doubt you, remember all the times it wasn’t right.
You might be surprised that yoga and meditation aren’t included on here. Big changes, like being able to stop thinking for as long as a minute, result from a collection of little changes over a long period of time. Yoga is certainly something you can choose to do but can’t be done in the moment when a challenging situation presents itself. If you make the decision to choose the opposite of what your mind wants you to do (a perfect rule of thumb), there will soon be a time when you can easily keep to your center and maintain a loving state of equipoise in the worst situations you can imagine.