Do more than just exist. We all exist. The question is: Are you living?
On a rainy Sunday morning 15 years ago, as Angel and I were struggling to cope with the recent, back-to-back deaths of two loved ones, I sat down at the kitchen table and had a full-blown intervention with myself. I read through hundreds of archived entries in five different journals I had kept over the years. Specifically, I was looking for all the unfulfilled goals, dreams and visions for the future I had jotted down along the way. And it didn’t take long before I realized the course my life had taken up to that point had been the product of other people’s ideas, opinions and decisions. I knew all too well that life was short, yet every day I was just going through the motions and doing what I was “supposed” to do, instead of what was right for ME.
I was in line.
I was comfortable.
And I was utterly distracted from what matters most in life.
But, fast forward to today, and as I awoke this morning I marveled at my life. Where once I awoke with inner resistance at the thought of a new day, now I wake up with excitement to begin, grateful to be doing what I’m doing on a daily basis, grateful I got my priorities straight and gave myself a fair shot.
I tell you this because I know life can get crazy. Sometimes it gets so busy and difficult that we forget how important it is to actually listen to ourselves. We fill our calendars, our social media feeds, and our days with various forms of distraction, just to avoid doing the little uncomfortable things required to get us from where we are to where we hope to be. The instant we feel a bit of discomfort, we run off in the direction of the nearest shiny object that catches our attention. And this habit gradually dismantles our best intentions and our true potential. Our dreams and priorities go by the wayside, and we’re left regretting another wasted year.
Yes, most of us suffer from a severe misalignment of our priorities, even though, deep down, we know our lives are quickly passing us by.
If you can relate in any way, I’m happy to tell you that things can change if you want them to, at any age.
Just as I have turned things around for myself, I know hundreds of other people who have done the same. Through a decade of coaching our students and our live seminar attendees, Angel and I have witnessed people reinventing themselves at all ages—48-year-olds starting families, 57-year-olds graduating from college for the first time, 71-year-olds starting successful businesses, and so forth.
How did we all do it?
Well, the first step is we stopped wasting so much time and energy on things that don’t matter. This transition, of course, takes practice. But if you’re ready to follow our lead and get started, here are four insanely popular ideas that ultimately rob us of the life we are capable of living…
1. We think we need all those text messages, social updates, memes, and perfect Instagram pics.
If it entertains you now but will hurt or bore you someday, it’s a distraction. Don’t settle. Don’t exchange what you want most for what you kind of want at the moment. Study your habits. Figure out where your time goes, and remove distractions. It’s time to focus on what matters.
A good place to start?
Learn to be more human again. Don’t avoid eye contact. Don’t hide behind gadgets. Smile often. Ask about people’s stories. Listen. You can’t connect with anyone, including yourself, unless you are undistracted and present. And you can’t be either of the two when you’re Facebooking, Instagramming or Snapchatting your life away. You just can’t!
If you are constantly attached to your smartphone and only listening with your ears as your eyes check for the next social update, you are ripping yourself off of actually experiencing real relationships and real life. The same is true for texting too. Yes, someday you will be slapped with the reality of a missed MEMORY being far more unsettling than a missed TEXT!
Let this be your wake-up call! Too often we choose to distract ourselves with gadgets and news and videos and music and memes, 24/7, just to stimulate ourselves. It’s like second nature to us—we’re so used to feeling like the present moment isn’t worthy of our full presence. And this mindset of dissatisfaction and distraction—of reality never being enough for us – trickles into every facet of our lives…
- We are continuously thinking about what’s to come, as if it’s not enough to appreciate what we have right now.
- We sit down to relax for a moment and then immediately feel the urge to read something on our phones, as if relaxing for a moment isn’t enough.
- We procrastinate when it’s time to work, choosing more distractions, as if the process of doing good work isn’t enough for us.
- We get annoyed with people when they fail to live up to our expectations, as if the reality of who they are isn’t enough for us.
- We resist changes in our lives, in our relationships, and in our careers, because the reality feels like it’s not enough.
- We reject situations, people, and even ourselves, because we feel like none of it is enough for us right now.
But what if we did the opposite?
What if we accepted this moment, and everything and everyone in it (including ourselves), as exactly enough?
What if we admitted that life is slipping away right now, and saw the fleeting time we have as enough, without needing to share it on social media or capture it or filter it in any way?
What if we accepted the “bad” with the good, the letdowns with the lessons, the annoying with the beautiful, the anxiety with the opportunity, as part of a package deal that this moment alone is offering us?
What if we paused right now, and saw everything with perfect clarity and no distractions?
Keep thinking about it…
Would we live more meaningful and memorable lives?
Would we have more beautiful stories to cherish and share?
I think we would.
And thus, I think now is the best time to pay attention.
Now is the best time to look around and be grateful—for our health, our homes, our families, our friends, and our momentary opportunities.
Nothing else will matter as much when we look back someday.
2. We think we need more approval from the masses.
We worry about what other people think of us. We worry about our appearance. We worry if she’ll like us. We worry if he likes that other woman. We worry that we’re not accomplishing all that we should be. We worry that we’ll fall flat on our faces. We worry that we’re not enough just the way we are. And of course, we worry about all those foolish, thoughtless things someone once said about us.
And social media—with its culture of getting us to seek constant approval with virtual likes and hearts—with its endless highlight reel of perfect bodies and epic travels—it only intensifies the problem. Realize this. You don’t need any of that social validation and distraction in your life!
It’s the strength of your conviction that determines your level of personal achievement in the long run, not the number of people who agree with every little thing you do. Ultimately, you will know that you’ve made the right decisions and followed the appropriate path when there is genuine peace in your heart, and when the few people who truly mean the world to you are the ones celebrating your success alongside you.
It’s nice to have acquaintances. It’s important to be involved in your community to an extent. But don’t get carried away and spread yourself too thin. Leave plenty of time for the people and projects that matter most to you. Your time is extremely limited, and sooner or later you just want more of it with the select few people and projects that make you smile for all the right reasons.
The ultimate goal is to never let some random person’s opinion become your reality. To never sacrifice who you are, or who you aspire to be, because someone on the internet has a problem with it. To love who you are inside and out as you push forward. And to realize once and for all that no one else has the power to make you feel small unless you give them that power.
Of course, sometimes the pressure and dysfunctional judgements coming from peers, work, and society in general is enough to make us feel completely broken inside. If we do things differently, we’re looked down upon. If we dream big, we’re ridiculed. Or if we don’t have the “right” job, relationship, lifestyle, and so forth, by a certain age or time frame, we’re told that we’re not good enough. But that is just NOT true, and it’s your job to acknowledge it!
So, here’s a new mantra for you (say it, and then say it again): “This is my life, my choices, my mistakes and my lessons. As long as I’m not hurting people, I need not worry what they think of me.”
3. We think we need to engage in the daily drama that seems so significant.
99% of the drama in our lives isn’t significant in the long run, because it isn’t even real. It’s all in our heads. Just a momentary rise in our blood pressure for all the wrong reasons.
In a nutshell, most drama is simply the consequence of our inner resistance to outer incidents.
Thus, there’s a strong chance the drama you are going through at any given moment is not fueled by the words or deeds of others, or any external sources at all; it is fueled primarily by your mind that gives the drama importance.
And yes, we all do this to ourselves sometimes.
Why do we get so easily stressed out and sucked into needless drama?
It’s because the world isn’t the predictable, orderly, blissful place we’d like it to be. We want things to be easy, comfortable and well ordered 24/7. But, unfortunately, sometimes work is hectic, relationships are challenging, important people demand our time, we aren’t as prepared as we’d like to be, and there’s just too much to do and learn and process in our minds.
So our inner resistance begins to boil over.
The problem is that we’re holding on too tightly to ideals that don’t match reality. We have subconsciously set up expectations in our minds of what we want other people to be, what we want ourselves to be, and what our work and relationships and life “should” be like. Our attachment to our ideals—our resistance to accept things as they are—stirs stress in our minds and drama in our lives.
And we don’t want to be a part of this drama. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. So we blame others for it… and then we engage in even more of it!
But there’s good news: we can break the cycle, let go of drama, and find peace with reality.
I’m going to suggest a simple practice for whenever you feel stress, resistance, worry, and all the other draining mindsets that fuel drama in your life:
Focus, carefully, on what you’re feeling. Don’t numb it with distractions, but instead bring it further into your awareness.
Turn to it, and welcome it. Smile, and give what you feel your full presence.
Notice the feeling in your body. Where is the feeling situated, and what unique qualities does it have?
Notice the tension in your body, and also in your mind, that arises from this feeling.
Try relaxing the tense parts of your body. Then relax the tense parts of your mind. Do so by focusing on your breath: Close your eyes, breathe in and feel it, breathe out and feel it, again and again, until you feel more relaxed.
In this more relaxed state, find some quiet space within yourself. And in this space…
- Allow yourself to rediscover the fundamental goodness within you, that’s present in every moment.
- Allow yourself to rediscover the fundamental goodness of this very moment, that’s always available to you whenever you’re willing to focus on it.
Take time to just sit with the inner peace these two simple rediscoveries bring.
This is the practice of letting go of drama, and simply accepting this moment as it is, and yourself as you are.
You can do this anytime, wherever you are. You can practice focusing on the goodness in others as well. Seeing the goodness in your challenges and relationships and work, and so on and so forth.
You can build a healthy daily ritual of stopping the needless drama in your life, and rediscovering the peace and joy and love that are always just a few thoughts away. (Note: Angel and I build healthy, life-changing daily rituals like this with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy.)
4. We think we need another comfortable, leisurely day.
A comfortable, leisurely day sounds nice, for a moment. But it’s not the kind of day you’ll look back on with gratitude for how far you’ve come.
Truth be told, the most common and destructive addiction in the world is the draw of comfort. Why pursue growth when you already have 400 television channels, YouTube and a recliner? Just pass the dip and lose yourself in a trance.
WRONG! That’s not living—that’s existing.
Living is about learning and growing through excitement and discomfort. It’s about asking questions and seeking answers. And life is filled with questions, many of which don’t have an obvious or immediate answer. It’s your willingness to ask these questions, and your courage to march boldly into the unknown in search of the answers on a daily basis, that gives life it’s meaning.
In the end, you can spend your life feeling sorry for yourself, cowering in the comfort of a recliner, wondering why there are so many problems out in the real world, or you can be thankful that you are strong enough to endure them. It just depends on your mindset. The obvious first step in this arena, though, is convincing yourself to get up and do the uncomfortable things that need to be done.
Think about it…
- How many times over the past year has the psychological draw of comfort plagued your best intentions?
- How many workouts have you missed because your mind, not your body, told you that you were too tired?
- How many workout reps have you skipped because your mind, not your body, said, “Nine reps is enough. Don’t worry about the tenth”?
In the past year alone the answer to all three questions is probably dozens for most people, including myself. And these questions can be easily reworked and applied to various areas of our lives too. The bottom line is that the draw of comfort—a common weakness of the mind—combined with lack of action, absolutely devastates our potential. When we avoid discomfort, nothing worthwhile gets done. And the only way to fix this predicament is daily practice.
Your mind needs to be exercised to gain strength. It needs to be worked on a daily basis to grow. If you haven’t pushed yourself in lots of small ways over time—if you always avoid doing the uncomfortable things—you’ll almost certainly crumble on the inevitable days that are harder than you expected. (Again, Angel and I build small, uncomfortable daily rituals with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy.)
So, my challenge to you starting today is this:
Choose to go to the gym when it would be more comfortable to sleep in. Choose to do the tenth rep when it would be more comfortable to quit at nine. Choose to create something special when it would be more comfortable to consume something mediocre. Choose to raise your hand and ask that extra question when it would be more comfortable to stay silent. Choose to stand your ground when it would be more comfortable to fit in. Just keep proving to yourself in lots of little ways, every day, that you have the guts to get up, get in the ring, and fight for the life you are capable of living.
It’s time to practice…
Just like you, Angel and I are not immune to any of the points discussed above. None of us are above this stuff. Sometimes we let our weak impulses get the best of us. And it takes practice just to realize this, and then even more practice, still, to get ourselves back on track.
I sincerely hope you will practice along with us.
And if you’re feeling up to it, we would love to hear from YOU, too.
Which point mentioned above resonates with you the most today, and why?
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Also, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign-up for our free newsletter to receive new articles like this in your inbox each week.
Another in-depth and well-rounded article. Thank you, M&A.
Number 4 cuts to the the center of my life-long resistance to avoid being uncomfortable and thus procrastinating on the projects I know I need to work on, for my own sake. There was a time in my life not too long ago when I felt completely stuck… and endlessly berating and fighting against myself for doing so. But I’ve been finally making some progress over the past couple months. Your Getting Back to Happy course and teachings have been guiding me through this predicament, one tiny step at a time. So, I’ve successfully added three positive daily rituals into my life that help counterbalance my negative tendencies. I am seeing gradual progress…slow and steady. And although I still have a ways to go, I know it’s a journey…and I’m traveling it, and certainly in a much better place than I was before I started.
Thank you again for this one, and for everything.
Marc Chernoff says
Kristina, your growth and commitment to your new rituals has been inspiring to witness. You are welcome. Let’s keep going, together! 🙂
Pete B. says
You captured my thought more clearly than I could have stated it. The fourth “thing” really hit me between the eyes; poked me in the chest; pulled me up by the earlobe. I have been suspicious of my own motives, but only fleetingly. This “thing” is going to be part of my thought processes as I plan and consider upcoming days, months, and years of events to take part in or avoid.
Marc and Angel,
Glad I checked my email today and found this new jewel of a post from you two.
I just turned 68 yesterday, so I’ve been reflecting on much of what you’ve written about here and I wholeheartedly agree with you. Although all four points are pertinent, I think the importance of presence, and loving what is, as you deceive in #1 is what I’m bingeing to realize is most important in life. Everything else worthwhile builds off of that. If and when I embrace the moments of my life without conditions, I am my happiest, most productive, and most peaceful self in all walks of my life.
To quote your book (one of my daily sources of affirmations):
“The best present you can give someone is the purity of your full attention. Just be present, and pay attention to the little things. And remember, that ‘someone’ can be YOU too.”
Marc Chernoff says
Happy birthday, D.J.! So glad that quote from our book resonates with you. No doubt, our presence is the foundation of everything we are capable of achieving and experiencing in life.
Christian Wales says
Spot on article! And I have to agree with what Kristina mentioned in her comment—the way you rounded this article out with number 4 really struck the deepest chord with me. I too have been a student in your Getting to Happy course for a five months now (I’m taking the uncomfortable steps slow and steady), and building tiny, life-changing rivals has enhanced both my productivity and my personal relationships and well-being. It’s actually kinda amazing when I look back at how chaotic and scatter-brained I was with everything and everyone that is important to me, and how focusing on a couple simple, daily rituals has rather quickly snapped me out of the negative cycle I had been stuck in for several years.
One small step at a time, one single day at a time, in the right direction, with the right support, and magic happens! 🙂
M&A, thanks for continuing to be a big source of magic in my life.
Ps. I’m looking forward to your Think Better, Live Better 2018 conference in San Diego in a couple weeks! I bought my ticket solo because I couldn’t find anyone to go with me, so I’m looking forward to meeting some new friends who are committed to a brighter present and future.
Marc Chernoff says
Slow and steady—one day at a time—is the best means of making progress in all walks of life. You’re doing great, Christian!
And we are looking forward to seeing you at Think Better, Live Better 2018 in a couple weeks.
I am glad to receive your motivational and education posts in my inbox. My perceptions are changing for the better.
“As long as I am not hurting people.”
What if what I’m doing hurts the feelings of my spouse and gives him anxiety? Although I’m not doing anything wrong. And I refuse to give him/her the power of knowing the exact details of what I do. Is it still fair?
I had the same thought as I read that. Interested in some input.
Maria Bennett says
Me too ?
Marc Chernoff says
There are two things we need to consider in situations like this:
1. We need to consider our own well-being, too.
If we continuously stifle ourselves for the sake of another person’s inner fears, we will end up regretting our decisions and even our relationship with this person. Truly, the biggest problem in this area is that we tend to forget that people (even loved ones sometimes) judge us based on a pool of influences in their own life that have absolutely nothing to do with us. For example, someone might assume things about you based on a troubled past experience they had with someone else who looks like you, or someone else who shares a hobby of yours, etc. Therefore, basing your self-worth or long-term decisions on what others think puts you in a perpetual state of vulnerability—you are literally at the mercy of their unreliable, bias perspectives. If they see you in the right light, and respond to you in a positive, affirming manner, then you feel good about yourself. And if not, you feel like you did something wrong.
Bottom line, there is a point when you have to draw a line in the sand. If there’s something you need to do that’s healthy and meaningful to you, you need to do it. But…
2. We always need to be open, honest and clearly communicate.
Hiding what you’re doing for the sake of not hurting someone else’s feelings is not right either. I’m not suggesting you have to constantly mention what you’re doing and always bring it up as a topic of discussion, but you don’t need to flat out lie about it either.
My grandmother used to say, “I tell the truth because it’s the easiest thing to remember.” Living through a facade puts an incredible burden on your emotional well-being. Speaking the truth, even and most often when it hurts, frees mental space and increases your ability to connect with the people you care about…even if it’s difficult at first. Keep in mind that a large part of such openness requires taking personal responsibility for your wrong doings. If you know, for instance, that your actions or words have hurt a loved one, you must immediately address this in the most honest way possible.
If you live for the truth now, you will find comfort and peace in the end. If you live for comfort and peace now by avoiding the truth, you will get neither comfort nor peace nor truth, only wishful thinking to begin, and lasting regret in the end.
So, that’s a long way of saying: Do your thing, but don’t lie about it.
And if you need further insight, you may find value in this article: 7 Smart Yet Simple Ways to Handle Difficult People
I hear you but sometimes we also need to take into account that persistent interference from others can skew your judgement. Your feelings are valid but just make sure they are really YOUR feelings and they are based on real interactions and not some third party’s opinion of your interactions. For instance, last week someone misinterpreted something I said and went off on a totally unjustified tangeant about responding in anger. So please remember that no one else can truly speak about a persons motives except themselves.
But if you are truly unhappy, you need to talk to the person directly and freely so there is no room for these misinterpretations which over time can accumulate and cause unnecessary heartache! That’s my advice. Talk to them so that even if things don’t work out, at least you can be 100% certain of your choices!
I also want to add that, if I were lucky enough to have someone like you in my life, I would probably be the one feeling like I wasn’t good enough. Never the other way around!
Dear Marc & Angel,
Just wanted to say thank you. Your articles are much appreciated.
Point number three is ringing loud and clear with me today . I still have difficulty dealing with my brother in law when we are trying to care for my mother in law. I have difficulty getting him to listen to problems I have noticed, or for him to see what is happening , which leads to me having all sorts of drama internally and also sometimes with my husband. I know that he has the best intentions for his mother. I am still trying to find ways to work together to achieve the best results for my Mother in law but I am really finding things difficult.
V. J. says
Hi Marc and Angel,
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, you guys are amazing and reading your articles is such a great feeling and refreshing. I loved everything about this one, but I feel I completely go with “we are holding on too tightly to ideals that don’t match with reality.”
So happy I get these insights and positive articles from you. Getting out of my comfort zone is a big challenge but I know I have to do it and try and work on it every day. I always feel better once I do. It is the anxiety and laziness and fear that I have to break through. Always helps to read something like this to remind me how important it is to gain true sense of self and to live and not just exist (which really resonated with how I have been feeling). It is the reason I push myself to do things that are uncomfortable and why I tap into my creative being.
I work hard to live as drama free as possible. Many times it is others who attempt to draw me into their drama that causes me anxiety. When I refuse to be sucked into it, they become angry, so the cycle continues. In my younger years I was controlled/manipulated by others. I grew tired of this and don’t allow it now, but I never thought it would be a never ending struggle.
I love the way you used words to perfectly describe the growing absorption into media and entertainment that we all face. I like the reminder that as individuals we can and need to control it. Personally, I do not like to hang out with people who are absorbed into their phones while physically in the presence of others. But it has to be a mindful experience to connect. Thank you for putting it so eloquently. I will be forwarding your article to several people.
I absolutely agree with the comment above that Stan left. So many things are accepted today such as gossiping, lying, and drama… like we all in live in the t.v set. But I am learning to be true to myself and confront the drama and fear I have about it. It’s so hard for me but there is no way bullies will get the upper hand in my life. Time to draw a line in the sand like you’ve said. Excellent! I am sad its taken so long but the convictions I have now help me to stand up for myself with real backbone not empty threats and drama of my own.
Once again thank you!
Not exactly 100% in agreement with #4. I think some people just need to veg to stay sane. But great article overall. Gonna share with my audience. Thanks!
Your article was spot on about being too comfortable. For many reasons, I have been ‘house-bound’ for the 7 years. Last week, I had enough thinking, “I’ll do something different tomorrow.” I looked for a cooking class. I found just what I needed. A Chinese restaurant offers weekly classes for FREE. Yesterday I did my first class and now feel pretty good about making Lemon Chicken. I also signed up for an upcoming art class; we’ll do our rendition of “Starry Night”. I’m not an artist but I don’t care. I want out of the comfort zone I’ve created for myself due to illnesses. Those have been resolved and your information has given me wings. Thank you.
Thank you for this empowering piece
Anyways….. I get that we are to seek comfort in the uncomfortable stuff that push us forward, but this whole accept everything as it is? How do we put up with people when we have no standards? Some people walk in and get too comfortable like having them is not an option……. do we accept those too?
This one “We get annoyed with people when they fail to live up to our expectations, as if the reality of who they are isn’t enough for us”
Today i frowned at my wife because she did not make a dinner ( for couple of days in a row ) and exploded because i was having a bad headache .
i blame the hormones not her 🙂
Thank you so much for another amazing article with such powerful advice. I am always inspired by your posts. Thank you. And it’s nice to see people’s comments and your responses, which all deepen the messages. Great stuff.
The second context of worrying about what other people say about what I do enlightened me. Now I have started the journey of pursuing my goals like a lion without worrying who will say what as long as am not hurting anyone.
Thanks Marc and Angel
These in-depth insights really resonate with my deepest inner voice.
Let’s brutally honest with ourselves… Basically, we need quite a few things to be alive and living: water and food, shelter, and outfits.
Even for shelter, there are a few people that choose to live nomad.
But this raises another question:
Do we really need to abandon those things: social networks, and other latest technologies?
Personally, I am still thinking the key is trying to make the balance.
I believe we deserve to use social networks, reading updates, text messages, and we deserve to have a leisure.
We only need to make it more balanced.
Following updates from techs for most of your hours on the day is not good, and vice versa. Probably it’s best to read those updates (that matters to you), in a more timely manner such 30 minutes until 1 hour, and then check it again for next day..
This article really resonated with me today. Over the past month in this new year I found myself having really great, energized, and focused days. Then I would slowly slink into letting the psychological draw of comfort get the best of me. I would do exactly as you mentioned & skip out on this. I let social media & laziness take over me. I know that I haven’t let my full potential unleash. This article was a great realization that we are not all immune to it. Thank you Marc & Angel for the uplifting posts you make!!
Dr.Pallavi Varshney says
Thanks for all the articles you are writing. They are truly very inspiring ……
I switched back to a “dumb” phone last June and it is amazing the differences it’s made in my life. This change has helped me to connect more with people again.
My wife and I have more conversations now than we used to even though she still has a smart phone. She’s using it less now though.
I’m more engaged with my children now. We wrestle more, play more ping pong and basketball together. We do puzzles together. I read more to them. I notice more of what’s going on.
I had a 15 minute conversation with a stranger at Jiffy Lube in the waiting room and found out that she knows my best friend’s mom.
I interact more with siblings, my parents, and nephews and nieces at family get-togethers; although sometimes I feel like I’m competing with their gadgets.
Overall I feel I’m learning to be more human again as you suggested in point number one.
That hit me right where I needed it.
Thank you for such an awesome article. You’ve got a subscriber now for sure. I can’t wait to read everything you got!!
I used to be in the habit of self-criticism for personal and social improvement. I don’t know when and how, I lost this habit gradually and, possibly, unintentionally.
I fell victim to daily useless time consuming/wasting distractions but failed to resolve them in spite of the fact that I have the idea what is going on.
I was losing my compassion and control and feeling myself on a persistent downward slope.
I was successfully existing but not living.
I don’t know how I reached or bumped into this article but I am feeling lucky that it happened. Now I can see in a crystal clear way that what is conflicting with my inner-self and how to not only recognize but also resolve these psychologically related inter/interpersonal conflicts.
PS: During the midway of studying this article, I asked myself to read it again after few days as a positive reinforcement.
please accept my due regards
I enjoyed your article and agreed with several of your positions. But I also can’t help but wonder if some people whom are trying to be more “true to themselves” may end up instead being hard-headed and unwilling to change?
I absolutely agree that we shouldn’t compromise what we love, but shouldn’t we also consider that other people may be able to offer us new perspective on ourselves? I know that sometimes I don’t realize that I am being rude or biased; in this situation, it would be short-sighted to say “this is who I am, so deal with it”. Instead it would be good to take the other persons criticism of ourselves and use it to make us better, more compassionate people. Shouldn’t we care about what other people think about us when their opinions are (to a certain extent) a reflection of our actions?
Of course, certain people are not worth listening to – but I do think that making the statement “don’t care about what other people think of you” is much too broad to be entirely true. Overall though I appreciated your article and it definitely has me thinking about what I can do to have a more active role in my own life.
Incredible! I related to almost every word of this article. I’m currently in a point in my life where I’m unhappy with EVERYTHING. My job, my relationship, my lack of drive and motivation, etc. Every day I hate myself because I know that I’m capable of so much more than the effort I put in. But I can’t seem to break the cycle of pessimistic laziness. I want to finish my book that I’ve been working on over 2 years; I want to continue working on my website. But each time I try my brain nags at me until I give up. It’s so much easier to waste away in front of the TV than it is to accomplish something, but I know that’s the root of my discontent every day. This article was amazing and I’m going to sign up for the newsletter for more stuff! Thanks guys 🙂
#1 and 2 are eye-opening. I Struggle with not feeling “good enough” because I don’t have the right job and relationships that others have. Social media definitely plays a part in this as well. It’s a wonderful reminder that its not true!
Thank you for the much needed encouragement and reminders.
Hmm… I’m not sure I’d completely agree with #4. My life is constant discomfort and struggle. I generally wake up and then am occupied until I fall asleep. No day’s challenges are quite the same as the last. One day I might be consoling a 6 year old who’s been convinced that every time she spills something, it’s evidence that she’s a terrible person. (She was visiting, and we were baking together and she dropped some ingredients and just froze. Poor thing. About 9 months later I ended up helping her family move out from an emotionally abusive landlord.) The next I might work a 14-hour day at 2 or 3 jobs. The next I might have a panic attack for no immediately apparent reason whatsoever and lose 6 hours of a day.
One thing that doesn’t change day-to-day is the fact that I have physical difference in my brain for which I am judged harshly. With effort, I can HIDE it. It’s an inextricable part of my identity though. The terror of potential discovery by strangers is intense. Shopping for groceries at peak hours can be a costly endeavor, energy-wise. (My psychiatrist assures me I’m good enough at masking it with eccentricity that I don’t need to worry about strangers detecting it, but that assurance doesn’t make seemingly mundane tasks much easier.)
Most days, I can’t even seem to aside time (or sometimes energy is lacking) to watch a single episode of TV. Finding the time to write this comment took 4 days.
As such, I remember #4 days pretty well.
Last one I used to track down a copy of an old Japanese TV show that you can hardly find with English subtitles on the Internet anymore, and binge-watched 3 hours of it. It was glorious.
That ended up much longer than I had planned, but I wanted something in for those who don’t have an ample supply of #4 days to not feel bad about taking them when they can.