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2 Things You Must Let Go to Find Happiness and Satisfaction

2 Things You Must Let Go to Find Happiness and Satisfaction

Have you ever wondered, what would your life be like if you wouldn’t be able to judge your environment, the world that you live in? I know for a fact that some of the greatest things that have happened to me, such as becoming a vegetarian or starting my own blog, happened only because I was able to silence my pride and prejudice for a while. I allowed myself to close my eyes, and I refused to listen. My imagination began to go wild, and I finally said to myself “why not?” 

The desire to learn

Now, where am I going with this? Well, I want to continue by saying that some of the most successful people out there have at least one thing in common – the desire to learn. A person cannot progress and be successful if they are closed to experiencing and learning something new. Their ability to refrain from saying – “I know that” – allows them to expand in their development beyond what most people are capable of.

You have probably have heard of some people saying that they are wiser because they are older. While that may be true sometimes, I have seen cases where people in their 40’s definitely have misused that argument. By saying something like that, they automatically close themselves from understanding and learning something new about this world. Do you think that a 20-year old cannot be wiser than a 40-year old? Of course, they can be!

When I was a little younger, my family used to own budgies. You know, those little blue, green and yellow parrots that you see in pet shops. These birds are small in size, and are not extraordinarily smart. However, there was not a day that I didn’t learn something new about them, and something new from them. I remember being amazed by how much these birds can do, while being that small. I looked and I stared, and I never thought of them as being stupid or anything even remotely close to that.

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Again, where am I going with this?

If we are able to learn so much from small birds living in our house, how much can we learn from other people? How much can we learn just by observing the world around us?

Our progress slows as our egos expand

Unfortunately, as we grow older, our ego expands with us. As we see ourselves becoming intellectually savvy, our importance begins to play a major role in our life. The three words “I know that” becomes quite common in our vocabulary. We get accustomed to looking down at some people, and disliking others. Our progress in this world slows down.

Coming back to the topic of pride and prejudice, do you think that these two concepts are taking over your life? I personally have come across many situations where I knew that if I would have given the other person a chance, I could have learned something new and probably benefited from it. But I let my own pride and prejudice regarding that other person take this experience away from me. I simply made the decision not listen to them, because I mistakenly thought that I knew better.

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Living in a world of duality

We live in a world of duality, where we choose to see things as up or down, black or white, sadness or happiness, good or bad…the list goes on and on. Although we say that we should not judge a book by its cover, we keep doing it every day of our life. We are able to predict an outcome of something before it has even happened, simply because we have already formed an opinion regarding it. When we see a person walk by us, we instantly give them a label based on the shoes that they wear, or the haircut that they have. It just seems so natural to do this. I, however, ask all of us to change these habits.

There are moments in life when I practice full awareness, and one part that I really love about it is when I am able not to judge others based on their looks or the way they speak, for a long period of time. It is an amazing feeling. Somebody that you wouldn’t otherwise consider talking to, becomes suddenly such a nice person. Being able to see beyond the form is truly a gift.

Another example of where pride and prejudice impact us a lot is in education. I remember coming to class during my university years, and trying to listen to some of the professors. Sometimes, when I already knew something that they were explaining, I felt that I had no reason to keep listening. I closed myself from all of the information that was offered to me. On other occasions, I didn’t like how the teacher taught, and so I convinced myself into believing that the teacher is not capable of teaching me. Instead of focusing on what I could learn, I focused on how “bad” the professor was at teaching. Now when I think of it, if only I wasn’t so quick to judge, I could have learnt so much more.

Today vs before

Living in today’s society has become incredibly easy. In the past decades and centuries, interactions between a teacher and a student were quite different. Information was given, and when the students refused to behave, they could have been spanked, or even struck with a wooden stick. School corporal punishment was a common practice.

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In those times it was probably difficult to complain about the form that was used to teach. Instead, the meaning, the essence of what the teacher was trying to tell them was given the priority.

Today, the world in that context has become a much better place. People are generally polite to each other, avoid conflicts, and violence is prohibited in schools. All of this has given us the freedom to choose who we want to learn from. We now have more space to focus on the form, on the how of what is being taught to us, instead of focusing on the what. 

Pride and prejudice, if not tamed, can be our worst enemies, that prevent us from developing ourselves further. I ask you to be more aware of not only how people talk to you, but more of what they say. If you neglect this, you may be missing out on a lot.

I began this post saying that by silencing my pride and prejudice for a while, I allowed myself to see vegetarianism as something so powerful, instead of “stupid”. I also allowed myself to see blog-writing, as something so interesting and fascinating, instead of something that will kill my free time and simply take me nowhere. Both of these things make me extremely happy and satisfied. Is happiness or satisfaction not worth leaving pride and prejudice outside of your life?

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Here I talk about the topic only from one of the million angles. You can expand on it and see for yourself where either pride or prejudice has prevented you from something great. In any case, the main thing that I wish you to realise is the importance of seeing and hearing beyond your own reactions to what is being shown or said to you.

Thank you.

More by this author

Victor Stepanchikov

Software Engineer, Blogger, Personal Development Freak

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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