We all lead busy lives. In today’s world, it’s as if it’s a badge of honor. Always rushing to the next thing. Working late to meet that deadline to please a boss or client. Driving from one kid’s soccer practice to the other.
With all of the busyness that fills our days, weeks and months, our mental space begins to fill simultaneously. Internal thinking begins to pile high collecting dust. Stress and anxiety begin to form, ultimately, transcending into our outer world. Our days become even busier with stress and anxiety layered on top.
This is especially true during times of personal struggle. Our mental space becomes so cluttered with thoughts of reality, sprinkled in with fictitious inner-ramblings that we often find it hard to decipher between the two.
When my wife and I decided to sell our business of three years, it put us in a not-so-desirable position financially. As we found ourselves struggling, I, without even knowing, handed the keys of my outer world to my inner world’s chattering ego.
Stuck in the Past
Instead of finding ways to move forward, I froze. I thought about all of the decisions we made over the last three years. I pointed fingers and placed blame. I was stuck in the past wanting to relive it, hoping to change it.
I thought about the things we should or shouldn’t have done. I thought about how our family wouldn’t be in the position we found ourselves in if only we did this instead of that.
I pushed off accepting and owning the reality in which we lived. I didn’t want to feel failure. My ego was in total control, and it was taking me down unnecessary rabbit holes of fictitious thoughts.
The more I surrendered to my inner dialogue, the more mental clutter was accumulating. As this began to stack, I could see and feel the stress and anxiety creeping up around the corner.
It got to a point where my inner dialogue was transcending my outer world. Pain and darkness ensued. Relationships became toxic. I was beginning to hurt the people I loved and cherished most.
Then, for a split second, I noticed how unhealthy I was becoming, both emotionally and physically, and how much hurt I was causing those around me. For a split second I heard the dialogue taking place in my head; the voice using words feeding the bad wolf.
I knew I had to do something.
Taking Care of Myself
I made a decision, a vow in fact, and committed to being intentional about my self-growth. I had to rediscover who I was. I had to reestablish my values. I had to get back to the way I wanted to feel. I had to take care of myself first in order to give my best self to others.
In order to accomplish any portion of this, I had to start by decluttering my mental space. My head chatter was clouding the lens in which I saw the world. I had to find ways to eliminate the clutter and make space for presence and truth.
Here are three ever so simple, but foundational, ways to declutter your mental space:
As much as I wanted to find an escape, what I needed most was connection and perspective. Escaping is merely suppressing the pain, allowing it to fester and morph into something much larger than what it already was.
When you’re able to recognize the feeling of wanting to escape, use it as a springboard toward self-growth and reinvention.
Reading connected me to the power of personal story and shed light onto perspective. It made me see the very thing that caused me such pain a little bit differently. The lens in which I saw the world changed, and a shift in mindset transpired.
Meditation doesn’t have to be sitting on the floor with your back straight and hands on your knees while concentrating on your breathing. As powerful as this has been for me, meditation can be as simple as finding joy in the quiet — finding space within your day to be bored and still. It’s finding solitude.
These practices allow the busyness of our daily lives to slow down – to become more present with the moment and to become one with ourselves. It’s finding wholeness and connection with ourselves.
Writing has been an answered prayer. It’s the purest form of release. It’s the city dump and charity to the thoughts that clutter your mental space. Writing wholeheartedly in a journal holds the key to personal discoveries you couldn’t have even imagined.
Allowing everything to pass from my egotistic head chatter to my fingers and onto paper has become the foundation to my self-growth. When I don’t write, I notice. The feeling of busyness and anxiety begin to creep in again.
Decluttering your mental space uncovers the truth that sits within you, most times buried under the unnecessary. As your truth emerges and you begin to live life through it a sense of lightness takes over. Meaning and purpose ensue.
Our inner world is often the thing that gets neglected, even though it’s the very thing feeding our outer world. As you might look to declutter your physical possessions, pause and pay attention to your inner dialogue. Maybe, just maybe, your next task is decluttering your mental clutter.
Therefore I was operating with a buddy on defining her personal style today. Among those questions I asked ,”when you get dressed in the morning and leave your property, would you want your clothes to help you blend into the crowd or do you need people to notice you?”
Along with her response, although on the apologetic side, was,”Well… I don’t know… I love to get noticed.”
And I believed, yes.
Courageous honesty. I would like to get seen. I want to get recognized. Even at the the seemingly immaterial: Yes I really do want other people to view my style and join with what I’m wearing.
So why is that so scary to acknowledge? Why is it terrifying to me to admit?? I mean I really have a public site about wearing clothes for goodness sakes, and it feels vulnerable to me to say”yeah woman, I want to be noticed.” Why is it that people, the overriding players on interpersonal networking, the females of this ground, have the time. And never in the way that we are used to. Not in the way that involves being desired. But being seen in the way that needs us to own having desire.
It is the game we all play on the internet all day, supporting our instagram reports and our sites, expecting to be noticed and heard and acknowledged and validated, all of the while down-playing the efforts we make to be able to achieve that. What if we gave me permission to acknowledge each individual’s honest demand for importance. Permission for ourselves and for others to say, conclusion free,”Here I am. Look at me. I need to take space up ” We post beautiful images of our lives, of our families, of our homes, ourselves, and we all put it off as dull and absurd and even disconnective, when really, the only underlying question beneath it all is,”can you see me?” But we don’t admit that. Because nobody wants to seem as though they’re trying to be viewed, and we’re all trying our flipping asses off.
This has been such part of the blogger/influencer game particularly. When people first started to inquire how online platforms may be increased, I feel as though everyone was simply shrugging and saying,”guy I don’t even know! It just happened!” No one confessed to needing it. No one confessed to employing strategy. Heaven forbid you’d admit to needing to make a living. The truth is, I connect and would comment when I first started writing, manner waaay back in the afternoon. I wanted my words to be read. My entire life to be known. And I made the attempt. And I recall other bloggers being made fun of and shamed when they called to what they were performing because of their”project”, so I quickly discovered,”Oh! So that’s how we do it here. We don’t try. We simply happen.” And the faking started. In fact, the appearance of not wanting was such a part of my psyche for decades, I held myself back from shifting my status quo and moving after what I needed, as it would’ve meant making a exact public attempt of attempting. And that felt way too insecure maybe fail at obtaining it, then to admit I needed something different.
I’d like to prevent those patterns. I wish to really want. I want to be understood – and own that. I would like to belong to myself deeply for becoming a whole man, and take responsibility. I have seen what it looks like every time a lady side-steps knowing herself and owning her dreams until she breaks, triggers a massive effect in those who surround her. Which is why when I heard this idea once, it was like a gong being smashed into my mind:”If you don’t take some opportunity to understand yourself, honor your self, and express yourself, you need everyone else around you to handle your sense of self. It is selfishness in the title of selflessness.”
*may we have a moment of silence*
Our good since women, can be expressed in a lot of ways, but sacrificing ourselves on the point of self-betrayal isn’t one of these. Own what you’re doing. Own what you want. Be viewed. Be understood. And kick some ass.
Your guide to understanding your shadow.
The post Am I a Bad Person? Navigating an Encounter with Your Shadow Self appeared first on High Existence.
Making Stoic philosophy a way of life.
The post Donald Robertson: Is Stoic Philosophy The Best Preventitive Psychological Medicine? (Podcast #17) appeared first on High Existence.
I’ve been shy. I’ve become accustomed to being called”the quiet one” My mum tells stories of a toddler that, through hereditary build up — me once I was only a little toddler, whenever we had company, hiding my head away and perhaps conditioning, acted on his own instinct.
As I grew, so did my anxiety. In my childhood innocence, I transformed into a more receptive, sensitive young man. These were conditions for anxiety to develop, to germs like dampness and warmth.
My brother bar-mitzvah possibly exaggerated my worries and exposed. My nine-year-old self happened to deliver the sister and brother speech as obligated by convention and expectation.
The address has been received well, but my laughing gradually turned into crying, the scenario for my spirit that was little. I once again took to hiding my head along with my sister’s arm a guard against the nerves and humiliation I felt looking into the audience .
The episode was laughed off by people in attendance, put down to my youth and my shyness. However, as I grew older, with muscles beginning to appear and hair, within I was this shy, scared boy of nine.
Growing Tide of Anxiety
As man civilization began to envelop my college — boys getting interested in women and banter adopted as the new official language — I felt as though I was drowning in this growing tide of anxiety.
From people, I felt isolated with my silent character. I felt like a child in a group of adults. Consumed by my anxieties, I would think people were judging me:
- “He is silent”
- “He’s not humorous”
- Or worst of all”He is boring”
Not being able to show the real me at school or to be the man I had been at home, in which I had been fortunate enough to feel comfy, became increasingly bothersome.
I made custom of seeking solace. An increasing quantity of my rest times were being invested safe in my cell that was isolated. There I was , able to have a break from the strain I felt while socializing, not having to execute.
Time moved fast, my mind occupied on my current blunders. I got annoyed at myself to mumbling my words in history class or later when that girl I like talked to me personally, considering a response.
Seeking a Quick Fix
In an attempt to improve the circumstance, I introduced cognitive therapy and more standard counseling a try.
I determined that counseling wasn’t because of me when both advisers indicated the only way I could create any improvement was during exposure treatment. I wanted a fast fix, a no-pain, no-effort solution. This vulnerability therapy seemed backwards to me if I could do it, I would do it. I would not be sitting in this seat!
The reason I could not go out and be confident was I couldn’t go out and be more confident! I was not going to let a tarantula crawl over my head, although I wished to conquer my fear of spiders!
Both of those advisers were of course right. I needed to confront my issues head-on, otherwise become incurable and they would continue to fester. I realized that I was getting paralyzed by my own social anxieties. They had been controlling my each decision and running my life, I had been the puppy, social anxiety was my first leash, and it was tight round my throat.
I understood there were two chief things holding me backagain. I discovered that these items were only figments of my own imagination! This has allowed me to loosen that leash, so a clasp anxiety had on me for such a long time.
1. Not All Of Awkward Silences Are Because of Me
Conversations are a two-way street. Understanding this enabled me to take the strain off — letting myself relax a bit.
I really enjoyed talking to people! If things went rancid and began to feel somewhat awkward, I accepted this was down to me. The man believing I was dull wasn’t judging me. I could just be myself and stop worrying so much.
2. No One Cares
This discovery in particular has been tremendously liberating for me personally. There was something arrogant from the mindset I had developed, that we needed me in their mind always, caring what I looked like, inspecting.
If I did not spend my time inspecting others each actions , why in the world would others do so for me? No one judged me.
I had been free of the burden. Instead I could spend some time on really living, not only living, treading through this minefield of judgement and humiliation.
When I started to understand my idea procedures were absurd, I could begin to confront my worries .
I now voluntarily socialize, something that I was able to consciously avoid. I realize it is more significant to live, not to just live, while I still find it scary, as most do.
I can speak to people with no heart feeling as if it’s going to burst, although I the one. I am dreaming much larger than I did. Free from the jacket that has been my stress, my entire life has opened to opportunities.
Whom I once would use for tasks that would limit interaction and not participate in nightclubs, I now have the ammo to overcome those allies whenever they rear their ugly head.
Where I was once living to not be viewed, I’m now trying to simply live.