We live in a society where our environment continuously tells us that in order to have a more fulfilling life, we have to become smarter, happier, healthier, kinder, more confident, and the list goes on. We have become fixated to the idea that we are not "whole" unless our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual being is in complete alignment. We live in a society that compensates us for striving for perfection and ostracizes us when we don't. This societal belief puts us in a constant state of psychological turmoil. It has embedded itself in our psychology so much to the point that we feel ashamed when we experience stagnation and regression in our lives. We suppress our emotions, put on a smile, and tell others we are doing "great!" when in reality, life kind of sucks.
Here are two reminders of why its okay to not always have your sh*t together.
Healing isn't linear.
One of the most important things that I would like to express is that healing isn't linear. We retract and regress in our personal development and healing because we are human. Life is in a constant state of change, and if we can learn how to be free from the attachment of our experiences, we can be free of aversion to the negatives ones. Healing is not only rainbows and butterflies; it can also be the excruciating sting of a wasp. It's whatever your human experience projects it to be. So let go, observe the journey - become a bystander when you can, and allow the process to run its course. Besides, failing is an integral part of life as it helps us build emotional resilience and helps us reevaluate what's vital to us. So next time you fail, know that it okay to crawl up into fetal position for two days, crying in despair if that's what your body and mind need. Don't fall into the idea that you need to pick yourself immediately back up if you're just not ready.
The ego edits and limits our reality.
"Greatness is merely an illusion in our minds, a made-up destination that we obligate ourselves to pursue, our own psychological Atlantis." - Mark Manson
We perceive the world around us through our limited five senses. This narrow perception and the way we gather data using these limited senses can sometimes create illusions of who we believe we are supposed to be. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or perfectionism, your thinking can sometimes skew your perceptions. How many of us have scrolled through social media or looked at an advertisement and compared ourselves to what was being projected at us? Thoughts stir up feelings, which in turn trigger more negative thoughts, creating a negative feedback loop. This is where CBT can work wonders in helping us work with these "cognitive distortions."
One incredibly useful tool I've been using has been "Belief Debugging," a process for testing whether a belief that you hold benefits positively or serves you. Byron Katie originally developed it but has been explained in this incredibly useful tutorial created by Sergio Hunt. I've also written out the questions for you. Just copy and paste it or write it down in your notebook.
Belief Debugging Template
1. What is your belief?
2. Is it true?
3. Can you absolutely know that it's true?
4. How do you react? What happens when you believe that thought?
What emotions arise when you believe that thought?
What images of past and future do you see when you believe that thought?
How do you treat yourself and others when you believe that thought?
5. Who would you be without that thought?
6. Turn the thoughts around
Possible opposites of the belief:
7. Contemplate how each turnaround is as true or truer in that situation:
8. Which resonates and provides you with new insight into the situation?
9. Reflect on the process above. What have you learned? How does the situation feel different now?
Remember that our ego can create a distorted view of our reality, making us believe that we won't "transcend" if we aren't an "enlightened" being (eye roll). I believe one of the hardest things for us to accept as human beings is the fact that we are already perfect. There's nothing more and nothing less for us to do - except to be in our existence and breathe.