We call ourselves the greatest species on earth.
Then it’s only fair that our greatest enemies are ourselves.
Relationships, work, school – it is as if every time you try to take a step forward, your mind whispers to you about how things could be done better, how you should have chosen this option instead of the other one, or how you were the cause of this and that catastrophe.
What do you do when your mind – someone who is supposed to be your best friend – turned against you? How do you jump out of that self-blaming cycle when you are the one who stuck your foot in the mud in the first place? How do you succeed when your mind just couldn’t acknowledge the small, slow but sure steps you are taking?
Understand this: We see things not as they are but as we are.
First and foremost, we must acknowledge one thing: rarely do we see reality as it is. Be it a friend, a stranger or yourself, we almost always look at them through the colored lens as what we think they are. We have subconsciously allowed our perceptions to dictate what we see. And it’s not completely wrong. It is a system that allows us to quickly come up with decisions and judge whether if someone, or something, is good news.
However, this system is also easily prone to error. It is too often that we have already made the final verdict before we even took the time to understand the person or matter.
“I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential.” — Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love.
We see the potential – good or bad – in things and in life, instead of what they actually are. We hope for the best things and dread the worst. As a result, we are constantly pushed from one extreme to another. We are always riding on an emotional roller coaster – no wonder we feel exhausted all the time.
Stop engaging in an all-or-nothing thinking.
Our minds perceive not only the people and things around us, but ourselves as well.
Have you ever felt frustrated at yourself when you didn’t manage to follow that workout routine? Have you ever felt disappointed when you didn’t get a perfect score at an exam?
The moment we set our goals at achieving perfection, we are almost doomed to fail. We have to stop telling ourselves that not winning equals to losing. Sometimes, we falter, trip and fall. What matters most is for us to stand up once again and start running again. Let yourself know that it’s okay to make mistakes and it’s alright to take a break sometimes. Your life is a marathon – you got to keep going.
Start positive self-talk.
You would notice that we’ve been talking about our minds as if it’s a sentient being. To be frank, it’s not that far from it. Kali Rogers stated that inner monologues could dictate our emotions, and are even responsible for our self-esteem and worldview. Therefore, take note of your conversations with the mind. Are they negative? Are they laced with words of hate, guilt and anger? Are they solemn, morbid and desperate?
Once you recognize what you are hard on yourself for, start to talk positively with your mind. Cheer yourself up – by telling yourself how great you are every day. Convince it. Persuade it. It might be annoyed. But eventually, it will cave in, and start accepting that you are, in all honesty, an awesome person!
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change too.
Indeed, we could be lost within the confines of our minds sometimes. But it’s okay. Remember: it’s a battle of attrition. It’s a lifelong struggle to stop yourself from being biased towards others and yourself. Take your time, and gradually, gently guide your perceptions. When you change the way you look at things, eventually you would realize that the things you look at will change too.
Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via Picjumbo.com
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