Do you ever feel like you’re fighting the snot wars? I do. All the time.
It’s winter in Africa and the little one I raise has had three colds in five weeks. Of course, I’ve had most of those colds too. Single parenthood, toppled with colds and oh, winter holidays. Because crèche here closes for three weeks?! And parents are meant to…pay even more for childcare? During COVID?
So you work from home, while blowing the little one’s nose. Over and over again.
The other night, I had the pleasure of being awoken in the middle of the night and then peed down. Literally. I was peed down. Ever tried to night potty train? Oh yeah, that.
In the middle of the night, I swore. I said a long line of unsuitable words only a Londoner would know. Then, of course, I felt ashamed of myself. So I swore at myself instead.
Some days, I feel like we’re fighting poverty, world hunger, the education crisis (on a micro scale) and a few other things at Little Angels. Some days, I feel like my movies will entertain, enlighten and make the world a better place. Some days, I feel like all the work I do in the personal development field is turning me into the next Dale Carnegie. And some days, I’m fighting the snot wars and learning how not to swear at midnight.
Sometimes it does. Sometimes we stumble upon those events that light us up like firework. Other times we don’t.
Truth be told, life can be hard. So hard. And we’re all looking to achieve different things, walking up staircases that, at times, seem endless. We feel drained. Our muscles need oxygen. We may resort to coping mechanisms ranging from binge watching Netflix to binge drinking alcohol to get through. But that only drains us further.
It’s at those times we need to remember that we don’t have to wait for the magic. The magic is already within us.
As we walk up those steps, we can turn on that magic. The song that makes us dance. The melody that makes us remember something out of this world. The clothes that make us believe we rule. The food that makes our heart sing. The friends who make us smile. The little treats that make our life worth living.
And the funny thing is, once we do that a kind of glory lights us up from within. We start to skip up the steps. And the magic we so craved, but could find nowhere, suddenly returns. Those magical events we thought had deserted us come back in abundance. And so magic comes from within and without.
It’s true what Steinbeck said–that sometimes we encounter people and events that light us up. But it’s also true that we are the light in our own life. And from time to time, we are the light that fuels someone else’s glow. We are the event that sets the night sky on fire.
I just read a message in a group I’m part of. They were talking about a boy in South Africa who was attacked with a hammer by a group of boys said boy knows. They didn’t know why he was attacked. Maybe because he does sport instead of gangsterism?
A few weeks back an acquaintance of mine’s maid’s son was killed by gangsters. Stoned in front of the family. A case of mistaken identity, most probably.
These things happen here. All the time. And I was thinking today, it’s not about helping that one kid. That one family. It’s about putting systems in place to help communities at large.
Of course, we all fall in love with that one kid. That one family. And we all get personally affected when they’re affected. To think about the bigger picture at such times is not always easy. What’s more, individuals need attention too. We all stumble. We all fall. We all need people who pick us up and dust us off.
It also crossed my mind that in other places, these things would be big news. Here it’s so common that chances are it won’t make the papers.
I know a lot of people in the US have been angry recently. The elections stirred up a lot of emotions. But how about thinking about how well off we all are if we have quite a few systems in place that serve us instead? Yes, there are inequalities. Yes, things can improve. But if you don’t live in fear of gangsters breaking into your house and stoning your family, you’re still ahead of some places. If you have an educational system, even if not perfect, you’re still ahead of some places. And if you have opportunities for help when unwell, you’re ahead of many places. I know people here who have waited for an ambulance for about 12 hours. Lastly, if you’re allowed to express your opinion without anyone threatening you, you’re ahead of some places.
Random things will happen anywhere. But if you live in a fairly functional society, where there are several systems in place to support you, you’ve struck gold.
You can bicker about what you don’t agree with. You can create separation from friends and family because of politics. Or you can, together, cherish what you have that is working. Try to figure out how you can grow even better together. Agree to disagree on other factors.
When was the last time you went wild when seeing someone?
I get it. That sentence can be interpreted in more ways than one.
Let’s try again.
When was the last time you got excited when someone you know walked through the door? Someone you see on a daily basis?
I was looking out the window earlier and saw the dogs going wild as the neighbors returned. They’d been away for an hour, or two.
When I walk out my room, the little one gets excited. We’ve been isolating since COVID started and he sees me all the time. But I need time to work, so I’m locked up in my bedroom for most of the day. When I walk out, it’s hugs and kisses and happiness all round.
He also likes to knock on my door to ask if I’d like to come play horse, or go to the forest. I do. Sometimes. Right now, I’m about to finish this blog and head to the forest.
I remember being a kid and waiting for my dad to come home by the end of the day. Especially when I was sick, which was often. I’d get so happy when I heard his car arrive, or his voice in the hallway.
It was so good to see someone I cared about. Someone who would bring something to my day. He’d smell like fresh air and the outside world–adventure.
When we get older, as our partner, or friend whom we see often, walk in the door, we continue working, or cooking, or doing the laundry. How often do we stop what we are doing and run to see them, flinging ourselves into their arms?
With COVID, we might have come to appreciate human relationships more, but maybe it’s time to learn a thing, or two, from dogs and kids.
Our time on Earth is limited. At least in this incarnation. When you see someone you love, stop what you’re doing and fling yourself at them with all the enthusiasm of a puppy seeing their human.
Are you someone who snorts horse tranquilizers? Didn’t think so. But if you’re trying to quit smoking, you may tell yourself that just one drag is OK. But you are not a smoker, just as you’re not someone who snorts horse tranquilizers. And someone who doesn’t snorts horse tranquilizers doesn’t sometimes have a whiff.
This example, from Jen Sincero, made stop in my tracks. And laugh out loud.
Ever decided to turn your phone off when driving? I have. Which means I no longer check texts at traffic lights. But do you know how many times I thought to check texts at traffic lights when I first made this decision? And do you know how frustrating it is to sit there with nothing to do?
I’m not a person who willfully causes accidents. Therefore, I’m not a person who checks my texts at traffic lights. That’s it. A decision is a decision.
What’s helped me breaking this particular habit is audiobooks. It gives me something to think about while waiting for the lights to change. And when not busy listening to audiobooks, I play a game of looking around me to see how many details I can notice. As most of us drive the same roads every day without having a clue of what we’re actually seeing, this is a good exercise in observation.
Have you ever contemplated that you don’t even notice most of your life?
But back to audiobooks.
In general, audiobooks are helping me break a lot of habits. By filling my head with personal development books, I don’t have time to walk around thinking negative thoughts. I seriously recommend it for anyone prone to depression, or thoughts that don’t serve them in general. You can’t be depressed if you fill your head with thoughts that aren’t depressing and you can’t get stuck in unhealthy habits if you fill your head with healthy thoughts. And by infusing my brain with things such as how to make decisions that stick, I am implementing processes for a whole other life.
When you make a decision to break a habit/enforce a new habit, think of it as you would snorting horse tranquilizers. If you don’t snort horse tranquilizers, you don’t sometimes do it, because, well, you’re not a horse tranquilizer snorter. And if you decide you’re a gym goer, or entrepreneur, or generally awesome person, then you do what they would do. As a gym goer, you go to the gym. That’s it. There’s no room for negotiation.
Decide who you are. Then act as that person.
I decided I’m an entrepreneur and filmmaker.
That’s why, last week I launched Magique on Etsy. After seven years of running around the globe, trying to “figure it out” I decided it was time to put one product on the market. Not all the product types I wanted to, but one. I don’t even have all the digital products I want on the market. That won’t happen till, well, I’ve had the time to create them all. For now, it’s mainly poetry prints. And I’m freaking out about it. Because OMG it’s not all the things Magique stands for. It doesn’t feel like a full representation of the brand. And OMG I’ve been working till midnight every night and I’m not making money from it RIGHT NOW. But what do you think derailed me from launching for seven years? The idea of perfection and needing cash right now, amongst other things.
I developed an entire product line (a physical one) that got massive praise and that I spent, literally, hundreds of hours developing together with a brand I spent another couple of hundreds of hours sweating over as I couldn’t pay for graphic designers to do it all. And the website. Another hundred hours (then I forgot to pay the damn domain fees and lost it all and now have to start from scratch. I learned WordPress for that site and let me tell you it’s not as easy as it sounds).
But did I launch? No. Just before doing it I always stopped. I didn’t have money to produce the physical products. I didn’t know how to operate the company with all the moving parts. If I broke it down, I didn’t know what product to start with. I traveled too much as I didn’t have a visa. All the stuff with the kids got in the way. I needed to make money RIGHT NOW. There was always something. And they were very valid somethings at times. They sounded like the perfect excuses. Anyone can understand that while you’re raising a kid with autism who’s smashing the furniture and trying to support golly know how many kids from a township while applying for visas you don’t have time to figure your business out. But I got my act together enough to start an Instagram account where I posted poetry related to the brand, as all our products come enchanted by words. And then I had this idea for digital products. And eventually I got the fuck on the fuck and launched the company on a full moon on Friday the 13th 2019. With six products.
Then I kept working.
Now there are more products.
I launched my business. Because I’m an entrepreneur.
And this morning, when wanting to go to the Cheesecake Factory and thinking about how long it will take till I get ot America…I decided to go to the local coffeeshop and buy cheesecake. Because I’m not someone who lives for delayed gratification. I’m someone who enjoys life.
Decide who you are. Then act on it.
I highly recommend: You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. If you want to be a badass that is. If you want to sit on the couch/behind your office desk, bemoaning your life, then I highly recommend you do nothing.
In need of a last minute Christmas pressie? Or feel like buying one of my products and leave a review to support me on this journey of badassery? I’d appreciate it. I’d actually love it. So I’m giving everyone 65% off last minute Christmas gifts from Magique. As they’re digital downloads you can buy the download and print it at home, or at the local printers. If you buy something, send me a note so I can thank you for it.
No excuses. I think I’m going to frame this and hang it on the wall.
To all of us, life happens. We all deal with circumstance that’s less than ideal. Sometimes it’s downright horrifying. But don’t use that as an excuse. Instead of being weighed down by it, move beyond it.
If I wake up with the mindset that there are no excuses, I get excited. If I wake up worrying about things, I get depressed.
We can either worry and moan about the things that happen to us, or we can decide on what we want and go for that no matter what. Going for it will keep us motivated and taking action that serves us. Moping, moaning and worrying won’t.
We all have choice to be the best we can be and enjoy all life has to offer. But we also all have areas of our lives that are fucked five ways to Friday. We have the choice to change them for the better. But it’s usually not until we’re at the stage of do or die that we choose to change.
Personally, I am going to do everything in my power to power up my life. And that means no more excuses.
Welcome to the pity party. It’s a certain kind of glorious celebration of all our flaws and misfortunes, where the champagne flows together with tears, complaints and general misery.
Here’s the deal. I don’t know about you, but I, myself, and several of my friends, acquaintances and even people I’ve overheard talking in general, have been known to complain.
For example, you know the person who’s terrible with finances, but would like to become a millionaire (that’d be me), yet have never picked up a book about mindset and money, nor about how to manage personal finances, nor gotten a budget app. The person who can’t keep a boyfriend for more than two weeks, but would like to get married, yet have never ever read a book about what healthy relationships are all about, engaged in personal development to learn about themselves, or gotten therapy. The wannabe entrepreneur who isn’t running a business (also me), who has never picked up a business book, nor takes steps towards launching their business. The person complaining about being fat/unfit, but who won’t eat healthily, nor exercise. The person wanting to be in excellent health, but who smokes all the time. The person who’d like a job they would enjoy more, but who is not educating themselves, nor trying to work their way up the company, nor looking for another job. The person who wants great sex, but have never told their partner they’d like to try something different, nor picked up a book about sex, or sensual pleasures. The person who is feeling like shit all the time and would like to get happy, but does not attend therapy, nor read personal development books, nor attend personal development courses. Possibly they also don’t eat well, nor exercise, nor sleep on regular hours, nor have a healthy social life, nor engage their brain in interesting tasks, nor practice meditation and mindfulness, nor spend time in nature. All which are scientifically proven to improve one’s mood. The person who’d like to live in a fancy mansion and always complains about their apartment, but have never ever tried to decorate the place better, or improve it in any other way.
In short, there are a lot of people who want certain things and complain about not having them. They also have excuses for why they don’t have them, be it excellent health, or smashing finances. It’s a matter of time. A matter of money. A matter of not having the education. A matter of it being too difficult. A matter of someone, or something, getting in the way. A matter of…whatever the heck it may be.
I have excuses for the areas in my life that aren’t what they couldn’t be. A lot of them. They aren’t so much excuses as they are reasons. I don’t have great financces, because I spent all my money trying to rescue a child with PDA from himself. Ways I thought I should live life. But one day you wake up and realize that unless you flush those reasons, those behavioral patterns and those “look what got in the way” down the drain, you’ll never live a better, happier, healthier, more financially secure, more pleasurable and more fun life. You can wave goodbye to your dreams, your hopes and your desires.
I’ve been filling my brain with personal development lately. I’ve also been really annoyed with some other people not getting their shit together. And by listening to personal development books and making certain distinctions, while studying other people’s patterns, I’ve also seen my own.
There’s always an excuse not to go after your dreams. There are always habits that will get in your way. There are always people who will get in your way. And there is always going to be shit happening that’s going to derail you for a while, or be annoying as F. But there is only one way of getting to where you want to be — do everything in your power to get there and stop at nothing.
If you spent one week, just one week, focusing on a goal you want to achieve, letting yourself be derailed by nothing, how far would you get? If you ignore the house that needs cleaning, the bills that need paying, the lawn that needs mowing, the Netflix movies that need watching, the… If you just focused on that one thing, how far would you get? And if it was a matter of your mother needing surgery and you finding the money in 24 hours, how far would you get? What lengths would you go to? When the stakes are high, we usually get very creative and resourceful. When we think we have till forever to get off our asses and do what we know we must, we usually don’t move.
Move. Run. Go.
Your life is now, not tomorrow.
And if you really want to get that guy naked — there are no excuses. Just act like a cave woman, club him down and drag him to your bedroom. If he doesn’t like it, you weren’t meant to be. Now you can start fantasizing about someone else. (This is a metaphor. Don’t club him down. Just whip his ass and tell him to get his clothes off. Pronto.)
Dizzy Blonde — aspiring entrepreneur and millionaire
Have you ever had chocolate instead of sex? Oh come on, who hasn’t?! Or are you a chocolate virgin? If so, congrats. You’re the first I’ve ever met…
Yesterday, I talked about relieving tension when we feel something uncomfortable — the urge to replace the discomfort by something else and, in the process, doing more harm than good as we aren’t dealing with the discomfort. We are putting a bandaid on a wound that needs surgery. It temporarily feels better, but the wound is only getting worse.
But we also usually seek to relieve tension when we desire something we don’t have. Be it sex, intimacy, love, intellectual stimulation, etc. These are natural urges. All good in their own right. But how we relieve the tension when those urges aren’t fulfilled, isn’t always great. For example, you’re bored at work (you desire intellectual stimulation), but as you can’t have it as you need to finish the darn Excel file (never let me touch an Excel file), you check your Facebook. Other times, we have sex with one person, when we desire to be with another. We may also eat ice cream instead of having sex, or go for a run. Anything to distract ourselves from that burning desire.
Sometimes it’s good to relieve tension. When you’re sexually frustrated, going for a run isn’t a bad idea. It will help you get fitter. It will release feel-good chemicals. You’ll get your high. Eating a ton of ice cream, on the other hand, may not be so helpful. A long run and then a piece of chocolate, or a little bit of ice cream, is a better idea. (That said: there are days when a whole pint of ice cream is totally justified, depending on the brand of ice cream. If you’re eating shit ice cream it just won’t work.)
In the beginning of this year I met a friend of mine for coffee. I was upset. I felt like crying. I was mourning an acquaintance who’d committed suicide. A man I never got to know properly, because when he reached out to me, I was too scared to get to know him, even though I felt drawn to him. You see, in my mind various scenarios played out and I settled for the worst case scenario.
He could be someone I’d get to know and nothing. No connection.
He could be someone I’d get to know who’d become a friend.
He could also be my soulmate.
And he could be depressed and end up committing suicide, whether we have a connection or not. So it’s probably best I don’t go near him. Don’t explore him. I’ve created enough drama in my life as is.
The week he committed suicide, I was planning to reach out to him about something. He died before I got around to doing it. And once again those scenarios were flashing through my mind. I felt a sense of regret I’ve never felt before. I felt sure God was making some sort of joke. That it was all wrong. That I’d wake up the next day and he’d still be alive and I’d talk to him to find out. Find out if we had a connection, or not.
When I met with my friend in the coffee shop, feeling like an emotional wreck, he didn’t react at all like I’d expected. Simply, because I’d never expected him to say he was jealous of me. He was jealous that I felt something so strongly, because it’d been years since he’d done that.
The other night, when I came home, I felt pain. This time about someone else. I didn’t want to feel that pain. I thought about speaking with one of my neighbors. I thought about talking to a friend. I thought about reading a book. I thought about doing an array of different things to distract myself from the pain.
Then, as I was sitting on the toilet, because as we all know, that’s the perfect place to sit, I thought to myself: I’m feeling. This is what it means to be alive. And in that moment, the pain dispersed, because I allowed myself to feel it instead of holding onto it while fighting it.
By that I don’t mean to say that all the sadness went away. It didn’t. I was told I looked like a wreck the next day. Always charming. But I was still ecstatic about life. I knew other experiences would follow. Good and bad. I knew I was alive, because I was feeling something.
Life is a journey of ups and downs. Good and bad. Happy and sad. If we numb the bad stuff, we also numb the good stuff. And if we numb the bad stuff, it doesn’t go away. It just gets stuck somewhere and we have to keep numbing it. Keep fighting for it to stay away from the forefront of our mind. But by fighting we hold onto it.
Relieving tension can be good. The day after I was sad, I went to see a friend. Took in some rays. Sat by the beach, getting hugs. It was nice. It took my mind in different directions. Getting stuck reveling in something isn’t good. Be it sexual frustration, or the pain of losing a loved one. You need to purposefully focus your mind on things that move your life forward.
In short, if you feel a strong desire, or pain, watch out what you do to relieve that tension. If you want to create a great love life, for example, it’s better joining an online dating site than fucking your neighbor. Fucking the neighbor will bring instant satisfaction, but you’ll wake up without a great love life the next morning. Joining a dating site may feel like a mission and bring no instant rewards, but in the end, it’s likely to take you closer to your goal.
Lastly, sometimes it’s good to do nothing. Hang with the tension. The obvious path forward will reveal itself if you are just willing to wait for it. Stay with what you’re feeling until you find the obvious thing to do that will propel you in the direction of your dreams. That’s to say: the direction that will fulfill your desires and remove your pains.
In short, if you can, hang with the tension without for that matter reveling in it. If you need to relieve the tension, think of good ways of doing so — ways that take you closer to your goals. If you can’t come up with any, put on a pair of jogging shoes and run for your life or do P90X till you want to kill Tony. Scrap that, you always want to kill Tony. Do it till Tony is killing your body. Then bliss out on chocolate. Or pasta. Or both. (And FYI it’s been scientifically proven that the ups and downs of love addiction, i.e. the highs and lows you have in a relationship, can be counteracted by exercise and carbs. And if it works for love, it must work for other things too.)
Have you ever listened to someone’s logic and found it completely illogical? I have. Many times. Just enter my mind and you’ll have the most logically proven illogical ideas floating about.
You see, as humans, we support our own logic based on anecdotal stories, beliefs, opinions, experience…you name it. What seems logical to us, is, in fact, completely and utterly illogical.
Here, let’s do an example.
I have two people in my life who don’t like seatbelts. Both claim it’s because they grew up in Africa and they love the freedom of driving without a seatbelt. Plus, they believe when your time is come, your time is come. So why bother with a seatbelt in the first place?
Let’s imagine these two going bungee jumping. They have a choice between two companies offering bungee jumps. One has a sign reading:
Bungee Jumps Offered Daily. 5 Out of 100 People Die as Ropes Sometimes Break. 10 Out of 100 Get Injured Due to Bad Quality Ropes.
Bungee Jumps Offered Daily. 100% Secure. No Deaths. No Injuries Caused by Equipment.
Now, what company do you think they’d choose?
It’s the same thing as wearing, or not wearing a seatbelt. Every day there are accidents on the road. Every day someone dies, or get injured. If you wear a seatbelt, chances of death and injury are less. If you’re in an accident wearing a seatbelt, you may end up with whiplash. Without it, you may end up with severe brain damage. Your choice.
Our subjective realities constantly blind us to logic.
Another favorite of mine: I drive better when I’m drunk. The proof? I’ve only had accidents when sober.
If we drive better when drunk, then science would long ago have proven that our ability to react is much better when drunk. On the contrary, it’s proven the opposite.
It’s like saying: I have only had accidents after eating peanut butter sandwiches, therefore, peanut butter sandwiches cause accidents. Sure enough, if you believe it, you may start driving more erratically after eating them… But it isn’t the truth. It only become true if you let your mind act on the belief.
The real truth is, we all have these things we believe to be true because we have stories and beliefs backing them up. And as is the case with drunk driving, some examples are pretty extreme. You’re willing to risk your own and other people’s lives because you believe in your own story.
Similarly, look at the story about “who you are.” Look at me. As a kid my mom died and I felt she rejected me before she died. Then I had to move classes a few years later due to circumstance and I was put in a class where I got picked on. I went from popular to nerd over night. Then I got a step-mom who emotionally abused me.
Now, that added up to me thinking there was something wrong with me. I thought that was a logical conclusion. I was rejected, therefore there was something wrong with me. Logical, right?! Is that the truth though? No. It’s not the truth. But I believed it, so I acted on it and my way of dealing with it was hiding away. I became shy. Very shy. Wouldn’t speak unless spoken to.
Being shy was a protection mechanism. I literally remember thinking I wasn’t going to let them see my real self, therefore they couldn’t reject the real me. If I just disappeared, they couldn’t judge me. And moving forward, I became the person who didn’t speak. Therefore, I became rejected. That meant that I could hold onto the belief that there was something wrong with me.
In short, I was the person believing peanut butter sandwiches cause accidents and therefore driving erratically.
I also had coping mechanisms. Like reading stories and escaping into another world and I practiced my skills to receive praise, so even if I couldn’t be loved, I could be admired. Fleeing into imaginary worlds and receiving admiration became my drugs. That then fell apart when I didn’t go onto becoming a world famous director straight out of school, but had to work odd jobs. I ended up depressed as hell, reached rock bottom and learned that actually, I didn’t have to achieve anything to love and accept myself, or be loved and accepted. All I had to do was open up.
That was the first time in years I started to feel like I didn’t have a gaping hole inside myself. The first time since my mother died, I suppose.
The thing is, not everyone change their story. They just keep doing things to back it up. Keep proving to themselves they’re right.
I was having an argument with an addict recently. My argument? Get help. Their argument? “I’m not ready, I’m waiting for “my moment,” plus right now I prefer being an addict. It makes me feel good for now. But it’s OK. I’ll be OK in the end. Because I wasn’t born an addict so I won’t die an addict.”
If you have ever been around addicts or read literature on it, you know that addicts use stories to support their addiction. And those stories are controlled by the addiction, not their real selves. Just like my actions used to be controlled by a story I made up about myself, not my real self. I was shy, because I believed in that story. I became rejected because I was shy, which proved my story to be true. I sought to achieve massive things in life to relieve the pain of that story. That was my addiction. And I sacrificed a ton of things for that addiction.
Usually addicts sacrifice a lot. They give up on doing everything they love or do significantly less of it, they’re neglecting relationships, they stop caring for their own health, they no longer hold themselves to the same moral standards they used to and they either isolate themselves, or surround themselves with people who enable their habit. In short, they’re slowly ruining all areas of their life (sometimes they manage to keep one area decently clean, depending on importance, such as a job that enables them to buy drugs is far more important than friends, for example) and putting the drug of choice in center stage. The drug slowly becomes more important than anything else.
I’ve spoken to people in recovery about this. How the drug is always right. If getting the drug means not seeing your child, then you don’t see your child. If getting the drug means stealing, then you steal. If getting the drug means lying, then you lie. Whatever it takes to get the drug/get high, is justified. It becomes the new logic. Because it’s the only thing that makes them feel good.
From the outside, it’s lunacy. For them, it’s totally logical. They feel good. They’re fine. Their bodies are shutting down. They’re living in squalor. They’re fine. Because they have their drug.
Of course, they have moments of clarity, but it’s fine. It’s all fine, because they’re in control. When they want to get well again they will. They can handle it.
Their logic is completely fucked. And they can’t see it. Because there’s always an excuse, or an argument backing up their story.
Hopefully, one day they break a hard limit. They do something that make them wake the fuck up. Like you know, the religious person stealing from a church to buy drugs. Or, like me, they hit rock bottom emotionally. The turning point. The place where they know they’ve sunk so low the only way is up. But some people, sadly, never stumble across such a thing.
The thing is, we all have addictions, or if you so like, do things because they’re supported by stories we tell ourselves. Like me hiding away in a corner, which was supported by the story that I had something wrong with me and couldn’t be liked/loved. And by hiding away in a corner, I got reject, which provided my story to be true. But I also had a story that I could be admired for my skills and hard work and, to some degree, my acquired personality. That was my drug — I used work as a coping mechanism. To me achievement was my drug.
My life fell apart when I thought I couldn’t be admired. When my drug of choice was removed as I was outside the school system, where I’d always been admired. That’s when I faced my truth. That’s when I realized I could be happy without achievement.
The thing with any kind of addiction, or coping mechanism, is that it’s us acting on our emotions. Like I feel unloved and believe I can’t be loved which hurts, let’s do something to get admired which feels good. Temporarily. Once the high is over, you’ll end up feeling empty again. Same thing if you use sex as a coping mechanism (a drug) when wanting love. And by doing it, you only prove to yourself that you can’t be loved. That you can only be admired, or only get sex, so you feel even worse. But as you still hold onto the idea you can’t be loved, what are you going to do? Have more of your drug, of course!
When the emotional brain takes over, we fuck up. We become illogical. We rationalize behavior that’s completely and utterly illogical.
When we act on our feelings we end up fucking ourselves over five ways to Friday.
If you’re feeling unloved, the logical thing is to deal with the root cause of it and realize it isn’t true, instead of chasing an Oscar (that would be me). That’s why people who win Oscars become depressed — they realize they still don’t feel loved. They’re still empty. All they did was relieve their tension by getting admiration. The real problem is still there.
If you’re feeling stressed, the logical thing is to deal with the cause of the stress (such as a heavy workload), not watch Netflix (and the next day have an even heavier workload).
If you’re feeling sad, the logical thing to do is to deal with the cause of your sadness and fill your life with happiness and genuine connection, not have a drink and the next day still have the sadness, plus the reality of having wasted a night drinking.
When you feel things — impulses to do certain things — it’s a good idea to ask yourself a) is this part of a pattern of mine and if so, has that pattern led to me achieving great things? b) will this really lead to the end result I desire? c) what place am I acting from? Principle or feeling? If it’s principle, you’re acting from a place of integrity — doing the right thing. If it’s feeling, you’re likely trying to resolve your tension, unless the feeling is coming from your heart. If you can’t hear your heart, act from principle. Your heart would tell you to do right by yourself and others. So does principle.
Another test is this: will this lead to genuine happiness? Will this serve my health? Will this serve my soul? Will this serve other people? Coping mechanisms will make you feel good while destroying your life. Genuinely good things will make you feel good while making your life better.
Will you be held hostage by your own emotions, or will you create the life you’d truly love to live?
In short, sometimes, not giving a fuck about your own emotions is a very good idea.