I will say this as a resounding statement, We (meaning myself for me, yourself for you) are our biggest enemy in life.
You will not find another formidble opponent as yourself no matter how hard you look. People have this inate talent to lie to themselves and believe things that do not serve them. Take for example in situations where you were in a bad relationship and knew you shouldn’t be there but went ahead anyhow. There is a reason an ex is an ex. However humans seem to always soften the negative and we remember the positive. Even if the positive is severly outweighed by the negative we hold on for dear life to this rosey colored memory. When in reality it is quite the opposite, and we find that out once we go back, we are reminded, OH this is the reason this person isn’t in my life anymore. This is the reason they are an EX.
Now imagine one of these bad seeds living in your head! Sounds crazy right? Not crazy at all, we have one of these negative versions that live with us daily, they walk around and whisper things in your ear like (you aren’t enough, you aren’t tall enough, smart enough, you don’t have the resources, you weren’t born into money, etc etc). Think about it, if anyone in real life told us that constantly I would think eventually you would punch them in the face a few times. We do it to ourselves and don’t even realize we are doing it. Now punching yourself in the face in private is your choice, but doing it in public is definitely a trip to the padded room.
Why YOU are your biggest obstacle!
Let’s face it, you know yourself too well, therefore you know everything about yourself, like a bad friend your ego is going to use every single trick it has, every bit of information about you against you, because it can, and because it needs you, it needs you to need it. That’s right the ego is a co-dependant junkie. It won’t survive without you needing it. So it invents ways for you to need it. The ego is a slick and slippery thing, it is able to morph into other ideals right before your eyes and hide itself. For instance you may be a judgemental person (do not be ashamed of this we are all judgmental at points in our lifes) and that is a way for the ego to make itself feel superior to others, you may be going through a transformation in life, and that transformation yearns to remove the ego, once you feel the grip of it let go, you may go about having a feeling of superiority by being able to lose the ego a bit, identifying with this new enlightened version of yourself. This IS EGO AGAIN! See what it did there?
Here are 3 tips I use daily to get out of my own way, and believe me, it is NO easy task. I am big and bulky and need to move quickly sometimes to not catch a self punch.
1) Don’t believe your own Bullshit.
Question everything you tell yourself. You have to get to the root of things. Emotions are a part of life, they will be with you forever, and if anyone tells you they aren’t emotional that is a lie. Some people correlate emotions with weakness. Then every person on the planet is weak. In some cases we are. Emotions are a signal about something, it is when you become over emotional that’s when it can hurt you. Emotions are a healthy part of life and they should not be looked down upon. As long as you can wrangle with them and control them and not let them control you you will be fine AND a real person. People who hide their emotions are afraid of being vulnerable.
When a feeling arises you have to get to the bottom of why it is happening and what is really going on besides the surface level. Many times you will find that it is some old memory or feeling you hold on to from the past (may be way way in the past we are funny like that) to give you reference point, I used to get extremely upset when someone didn’t return my call or respond to my email. Conversely in the past I used to do the exact same thing to people. They say you dislike in others what you dislike in yourself. I used to take it personal, set up a big scenario where the person is staring at the computer insert evil laughter pressing delete on my message. This threw me into a whirlwind of emotions! It’s only an email Chris… Yes but dig deeper and you can see the thought process laid out. Someone not responding to me meant in my mind, that I am not important enough for them to take the time out, how dare they. Digging even deeper you realize it’s not even about that, it is my mind telling me you aren’t “enough” if you were people would get back to you. A fear of inferiority was at the stem of it all. Yet we strike out at the externals, the ego will have you believe really fast that this person is disrespectful, doesn’t care about you, and even mean. Through it all it was you who felt insignificant and projected your inner feelings onto the situation. Don’t believe that little voice that talks to you it’s often misguided. Don’t get me wrong the ego is there to really protect your wants and needs, it is just a dysfunctional cousin who drinks too much and forgets where he put his keys.
2) Use the trigger STOP, to initiate a mental slap down on your ego!
When I was young I had a guidance counselor tell me this awesome trick and it works so well. Any time you hear negative thoughts, or nonsense being told to yourself, first reaction is to defend or attack it (internally fight, if you externally fight yourself you WILL wind up in a straight jacket.. don’t do that) because we don’t like what we hear. Instead like getting under a cold shower, don’t fight the cold, succumb to it, give into the idea that it is cold and it is OK. It is OK to have negative thoughts you are not broken, you don’t need fixing, you aren’t less of a person, you are like every other person on the planet – human. Next step is to sit in the feeling, allow yourself to feel the feelings of guilt, disgust, remorse, whatever it is, allow it to take place. Usually by this time the feeling doesn’t have the same “grasp” on you it did before. Now here is the trick, in your mind after you allow yourself to feel this way, say to yourself loud and affirmatively STOP and then get up and move your body to somewhere else, even if it is switching chairs or walking to the coffee machine. Just mobilize it will act as a reset button. It’s like tossing a baseball back and forth if you aren’t fully concentrating on the task at hand you won’t catch it and get hit in the face. You must be focused to do something specific like catch a ball or stop obsessing.
3) Forgive yourself for not being perfect, accept that you are ok with the fact that there are parts of you do not like.
We live in a time where everything seems to need fixing. Economy, medicine, the air, the water, everything. Fixing however doesn’t happen overnight it is a process and usually one that is a longer systemic ride that at points can be abrupt or other times so subtle you don’t realize it is happening. Allowing yourself to accept the fact that there are parts of you that you do NOT like is so powerful. It allows you to forgive yourself, to stop judging yourself, because in the end the EGO does this all day to you, it judges you over and over and over again. I learned this trick from Mastin Kipp at the Daily Love:
Write down 10 things about yourself that you don’t like (I can write 50…)
Now go down that list to yourself and say how you accept the fact tht you don’t like something. For example:
I may write:
Then you go through that list 1 by 1 and say to yourself, “I accept the fact that I do not like my weight”, “I accept the fact that I am not financially where I want to be yet” etc. This is so simple and SOOOO freeing. Try it. It’s easy and takes 10 minutes. You allow yourself to be imperfect. It is ok to have things you don’t like about yourself. Some you can work to change others are just the way they are, I am 5′ 10″ I would like to be 6 foot but such is life that is something I have to deal with and learn to accept as a part of my perfect imperfection.
In closing try out these tips and let me know what you think. It has helped me a good deal, otherwise I would be a walking ball of anger/anxiety. If you like this post, comment below, or share it with your friends.
Thanks for reading and I will write you soon ;).
Photo by The U.S. National Archives