Do you recognize the following?
Long work days filled with drama from different personalities and intense energies coming from all angles. The heaviness of life is a familiar feeling with plentitude of responsibilities that can't be ignored and financial debts stacking up. Once we get home from work, after running our errands it's easy to zone out in front of the tv or aimlessly scroll through our phones for hours to avoid thinking. At some point we look up and wonder what happened to the evening and stagger off to bed, then rinse and repeat.
Do we consciously understand or realize that the demands of life take over 90% of our lives? When exactly did living your best life or a fun-filled life turn into a survival mode lifestyle? Our ego seems to keep us busy and consistently in the evil spiral. I recently read a book called "S#it your ego says", which inspired me to write about something I have long desired to write about; our ego, or the seriousness of life and how we live it.
The ego has its own agenda. You would think that the ego being a vital part of us, "IT" would have our best interest in mind. But when you really examine the thoughts the ego has, the self-criticism, self-doubt, negative thinking, the pride etc. it truly has its own destructive agenda. The ego can keep us from the present moment because it either lives in fear of the future and uncertainty, or takes an overly cautious stance due to lessons from the past. Remembering or re-living painful moments can keep us from taking a chance on new experiences.
Overall many of us suffer from anxiety that builds up from pent up energy that does not know where to go and fosters a belief that we don't have enough, we are not enough, or we don't deserve better. Society has built an expectation that we should always strive for promotions, struggle, obtain substantial financial profit. But the consequences of the longterm and sometimes irreversible symptoms that show up when we are over-worked is silently kept under wraps. Symptoms such as PTSD, depression, high stress, substance abuse, fatigue, insomnia, auto-immune, bodily injuries, failing relationships etc. is it worth it?
We can always aim higher, but truthfully when is it ever good enough? When will you have reached your goal? Is there always another goal that replaces the current one? When are you satisfied? How many scarifies do you have to endure to reach yet another goal? Is the burnout rate worth it? Is putting your body, emotions, and mind through endless hoops worth deterioration?
If you quiet your mind and do an honest evaluation, what would your body's response be? How long can our bodies sustain the life-style that has been conditioned by society?
And just because we can, should we?
What do you truly want from life?
In your every day interaction with people, loved ones, and work?
If you took 2 minutes to think about it, would you work less, stress less, and have more fun?
If the answer is yes, what would you do differently?
If you cannot change your job or your chaotic/negative environment, what can you change that can step towards making a huge impact on your life?
The simple answers are, your thoughts, your mindset, and quitting the ego. Your thoughts do not define you and is not always based on reality or logical reasons. Humans are naturally programmed to listen to our idle core tape that 70% or higher plays back negative beliefs. We may have learnt core beliefs that protected us when we were younger but are now limiting us from thriving. Life is not always about surviving.
It is up to us to interject and think a better thought. In psychology terms this is called cognitive behavior.
I am a huge advocate of re-programming ourselves to live our best lives. Throw out that mix tape of old beliefs you made when you didn't know better and play a more positive energized playlist. Focus on identifying when the ego is having another rampage of destructive rants. The rants may seem harmless but negative thinking has a way of building a foundation and staying strong within our core belief system. Just like a wall, it takes one brick at a time to build. It's hard at first to realize when the ego is sitting on his/her throne spewing thoughts or playing the old beliefs playlist over and over again as it is subtle. But once you get accustomed to being present in the moment and realizing that a thought is not a good thought it will quickly be illuminated. "AH! that wasn't a good thought". Now that you have identified it, just think one better thought. Then add another one after that. I sometimes start a rampage of better thoughts, one after another and then move on to a list of experiences, people I am grateful for. The blessings I received that day. Most times I am so pumped up with positive adrenalin that I can't wait to take on the world. I raise my hands and arms above my head and pump them up and down fast and yell "yes! yes! yes! "
Try it. It feels wonderful, awkward at first but you might not want to stop.
In short, I realize that we get caught in a spiral of negative subconscious thinking that seems harmless but is in fact extremely poisonous to our being as we take ourselves too seriously. We take our lives so seriously. Our personal growth, careers, and our interaction with others. We put expectations on our experiences and interactions. But when we detach from the outcome there is no expectations. Think of the many times you have been upset with something or someone. Bets are that you had already formed an opinion or an expectation. Expectations is what leads to disappointment.
So how can we make life flow effortlessly?
Take ourselves lightly. When the ego says I hate myself, my higher self says, I love you and I brought an army of support. When my ego says, it's time to give up, my higher self says: If you only knew what the universe and I have in store for you just around the corner, you would just trust and follow. So what do you have to loose?
Think of something that will instantly make you smile or laugh. Life is for living. Have fun and take yourself lightly. The rest will follow.