Ego in Love and Mindfulness to the Rescue

What is your ego in love? When we first “fall in love” with someone, we are often blissfully ignorant of the flaws of the individual. We have initially been attracted to them because they were cute, funny, smart, had a stable job, etc. Our egos were validated by the things they did for us, the attention they gave us, and how they “made us so happy.” But, overtime, what begins to happen? When we feel this person is no longer doing things to validate our ego, be begin to become resentful and hateful of a person we once adored.

Many of us are left at the end of a relationship questioning what went wrong when toxicity or infidelity was not to blame for its end. For these relationships, it can be much more difficult to pinpoint exactly what did go wrong, and we vaguely conclude, “they just weren’t the one for me” as reason for the relationship’s end.

However, can we argue the legitimacy of this statement and rebut that perhaps if we were a little more aware and mindful of our relationship throughout its duration, maybe we could have still been with this person we once adored?

Because we are often operating from a place of ego, where we expect the other partner to do the things we want them to do, say the things we want them to say, and know everything we are thinking at all times, when our ego is hurt and not validated, little things begin to annoy us and then begins the laundry list of reasons why this person is not good for us after all.

For example, a fight begins with the way the dishwasher is organized. We take this disheveled arrangement personally because we believe the person we love and care for so much should know how you like the dishwasher to be organized and any deviation from that expectation feels disrespectful to you. Since this is interpreted as an attack to our ego, we unconsciously react with cruel and regretful words, and as a result, contempt and anger begin to manifest in our relationship. Overtime, as we allow our egos to fully operate our relationship rather than our mindful awareness, we are not able to react in a more loving and understanding manner. Our bonds then begin to break down and eventually, we conclude our relationship that began as a hopeful, blissful romantic love story has no happily ever after.

We may even blame the other partner for the fall of our relationship, but each of us have a responsibility when we are in partnership with another, and if both partners are not committed to having a mindful relationship, it cannot thrive since ego will always be the driving factor of the satisfactory barometer for the relationship.

In a true mindful and loving relationship, the dishwasher situation might have been resolved in a more compassionate manner. Upon seeing the disheveled dish arrangement, the partner may still immediately feel annoyed (ego), but instead of acting on that feeling, he or she takes a moment to understand why this situation bothers them so much. He or she might think this means their partner does not listen to them, they do not care about what they think or are frustrated that they do not know what bothers them after all of these years but, upon recognizing the reasons for feeling so annoyed, a more mindful partner might be able to reason that their partner is not doing this to be malicious or disobey their word, but rather, they simply did not realize what they have done and did not realize how it would have impacted you. Understanding that what your partner has done was not personal or intentional should immediately allow for their annoyance to subside for the time being. In this space he or she is given time to understand and can now choose to react in a more mindful and appropriate manner. He or she can do this through having a compassionate and understanding conversation about the dishwasher arrangement, and have the partner become aware of how it makes you feel when the dishwasher is not arranged in a particular way and how important it is to you. This can then open up the opportunity to learn more about one another and communicate what each partner can do to have one another feel heard and respected.

Throughout the relationship, when you feel your ego has been triggered, take a moment to ask yourself why, and question whether there is something that your partner has intentionally done to make you feel a certain way, or if your reaction is simple a reflection of your own internal insecurities, trust issues, commitment phobia or attachment to expectations that have led to the disappointment. In committing to having a mindful romantic relationship with your partner, you commit to a life of reflection, understanding and compassion, and give your relationship the best chance to thrive in the long-run. 

 

There’s No Real Rush

The inspiration for this post has come from the realization that I have not posted on here for almost 5 weeks! I cannot be a hypocrite and claim I “have not had the time,” since I have written a post on this very excuse. I will admit that I have had the time but 4AM has simply not been a priority. Yes, I am embarrassed to admit.

The past few weeks have been filled with various lessons and realizations from the events I had prioritized over writing for 4AM. The one lesson I had learned was in the area of patience.

I have had various job responsibilities over the past few weeks that made me feel like I was living extended work weeks. In reality, I had probably been putting in an average amount of work time, but something made this time feel more consuming and more stressful than previous weeks.

Have I had more tasks to accomplish? Yes. Have I been spending less time at home? Yes. But, were these the true culprits of my angst?

I concluded although things have been a bit busier for me in recent weeks, the tasks themselves have not been the cause of my anxieties. Conversely, I have been the cause, not the events themselves.

We all have times in our lives where some weeks are more chaotic than others, but how we perceive these events is truly what determines our emotional state, not the event itself.

For myself, I recognized that it was not the increase in tasks or the extra driving or the additional money required of me over the past few weeks. It was a problem of my own perception of expectation vs. reality.

I expected these tasks to move along quickly with little additional time, effort or money being spend in the interim. Instead, a transaction that I expected to be completed over the weekend, for example, took 3 weeks to finally see completion, with additional time, effort and money required along the way. Of course, this had been a great disappointment to me, since the reality of the situation did not come close to what I had been expecting all along. My constant dwelling on the frustration of having this transaction constantly delayed was the cause of this anxiety.

Now, was it the actual incomplete task that had caused this anxiety? Was it the parties involved that had caused me to feel a consistent urge to look at my phone and email in hopes we could get a response to close the transaction more quickly?

NOPE.

The only thing or person causing this anxiety was me. In theory, we all have the ability to respond to the urge to check phone or email, for example, but in the moment, such control had gone out the window and full submission to the impulse had commenced.

This inability to react and appropriately respond to these tasks then would lead to another anxiety about being on my phone around my family and loved ones, and the vicious cycle continues.

The big learning lesson here is preventing this cycle or being able to break it through a change in our behavior when reacting to a given event.

Big picture, I had been rushing myself to complete this transaction, when in reality, the nature of the situation would have taken 3 weeks regardless of the way I had responded to it. I could have waited an additional hour to check my phone and emails. I could have waiting for the next day to respond to an inquiry. I could have shut off my phone for an entire day, and this transaction would have taken 3 weeks.

This was a big learning lesson of patience for me. I had been so consumed with wanting to finish quickly as possible, I was distracted from what was really important to me. I realized no one is expecting an immediate response from me, as I would not expect from them. I realized trying to get things done quicker and expecting tasks to be moving faster will only result in anxious behavior.

I hope this lesson of patience will serve me going forward when responding to tasks and time management.

When you feel yourself becoming anxious about a task, do not blame the task itself, but question what the true cause of your anxiety is? The bad news is, it’s most likely you. But, the good news it, it’s most likely you. You have the power to react to your circumstance. Take responsibility so you can take control and change it.

 

 

 

The Danger of Letting the Past Dictate Present Decision-Making

Piggybacking on my previous post in only finding clarity in the present, focusing more on the idea that we must make decisions in the now rather than focusing on future outcomes, it is also important not to let the past dictate our current decisions either.

Here, we are talking about specific experiences that might be influencing your current decision-making, whether it is career or relationships. I have recently noticed my own thinking being influenced by events of the past when it came to career. Some people might feel they are owed certain things because of their tenure at a company, or conversely, feel they should give up on a certain career because much time has passed and have still seen no reward.

When you realize that time does not have anything to do with expertise or give merit to stop something just because you have been working on it for a long time with no real progress, it is a light bulb-moment. The only moment that matters is right now. What is your expertise right now, regardless of how much time you have spent in your profession? Does that expertise warrant a promotion? What is your ambition to succeed in your currently unsuccessful venture? Do you still have a drive to work on it NOW?

We must ask ourselves these sort of questions without reasoning back to the past, how much time we have invested in something or how much time has passed with no success. The same is true with relationships. There are many couples that have stayed together primarily because of how much time had been invested in the relationship and the thought of starting over would be proof that they have just wasted all of this time. This very consideration of past events and investment is what they have based their decision to stay in the relationship on. Now, what if they had instead asked themselves how they felt in this present moment without consideration of the past? Perhaps there would have been more reason to go and move on because in that present moment you are unhappy and here is where a decision must be made, without influence from the past.

There is no such thing as the past. All of the good times we have had in the past are no longer, all we have is now. All of the bad times we have had in the past are no longer, all we have is now. We cannot accumulative evidence based on the past if it no longer exists in the present. I encourage us all to think about how you are feeling now, what you are contemplating doing right now, and decide in this very moment without looking back on who you were, how things went in the past and giving it more influence than it ever deserves.

If you have a drive to be successful in business but have not sold anything in the three years you’ve been invested? Please do not consider those three years when deciding whether or not to give up or continue. What do you believe in right now? Those three years do not exist. What do you want for yourself in this very moment?

Others will also expect you to give up and reason with you that if nothing has happened in three years, it will never happen. People might influence you to believe that the past has credibility, but you know that it does not.

Luck or Attraction?

Many of us have a tendency to credit “luck” for things both good and bad. When something positive happens to us, we may say we just “got lucky”, and when something negative happens we say we just had “bad luck”. I have never been a proponent of the idea that things happen for no reason at all and we also had nothing to do with it.

For a simple example, I think about why a particularly negative co-worker of mine constantly has problems with his computer, outlook, traffic, and the list goes on, while I find myself to never have any of these issues or at least not to the extent he experiences.

Our energies have much more to do with the way our life is going more than just sheer luck. I will paraphrase the Alchemist saying, when you want something, the universe conspires to help you achieve it. The same is true with negative thoughts. If we are constantly complaining and being negative, that is the energy that is sent out into the universe and the universe will return this energy in a negative form because you have asked for it.

Now, with all of that being said, being more of a believer in attraction than in dumb luck, I am beginning to understand that luck does exist in some form. It is luck to be born into a family with wealth, connections and experience, for example. Perhaps you aspire to be a doctor and your father happens to be a successful doctor, alumni to a prestigious university and well connected at the school. Even if your grades upon application to medical school are average, do you think you might have a better chance at gaining admission than someone who is slightly above average with no connections at all? Of course you do, and you were simply born with that advantage. There is no way you would have been able to manifest this fate in the womb of your mother.

However, we are all dealt a different deck of cards when we are born. Some of us are luck in other ways, more simply, even just being born in a safe neighborhood in the United States of America has been your luck.

Still, luck can be the starting point for some people but attraction remains to be the more determining factor when it comes to the trajectory of the rest of your life. Dealt a good or bad hand, as we grow up, it is up to us to determine what we will attract in our lives. We have full responsibility.

Perhaps the student who grew up with a well-connected doctor father who is an alumni of a prestigious university DOES have a better chance at getting in than you do, BUT you have the ability to ATTRACT a similar advantage.

Even without luck, we can manifest this same chance luck with attraction. Perhaps you are able to network and connect with another well-connected doctor and university alumni through your research and effort to reach out to befriend this person. You may not have been born into this connection but you were able to create this connection and the same advantage as the student born into connection.

It is easy to make an excuse for other’s success and say things like “oh, well they have a shore house because the grandmother left them money, we can’t do that” or “oh yeah, she got that job because her father knew the principal of the school, lucky her.” Yes, maybe these people did have a built-in advantage but it does not mean that just because you did not have one that you cannot achieve the same.

I encourage us all to define what we want to do in our lives, and begin to live each day manifesting positive thoughts for the accomplishment of what we want to do and recognizing opportunities for action that will help you get there even if you were not luck enough to have it given to you. Attract it.

“What is This Here To Teach Me?”

In life we expect to encounter our share of failures, whether it is as trivial as not being selected for the softball team or having a business deal fall through. No matter the magnitude of failure, they all exist to teach us something as long as we are open enough to listen to the message. The most successful people in the world have all risen from failures of the past, and have adopted them as contributors to their story, not a tarnish.

It is easy to give up after failures, not wanting to face family at holiday parties and admit to the lack of tangible accomplishments. It is easier for us to give the whole thing up and just stop feeling the pressure of others expecting something from us, right? Well, that feeling of embarrassment exists to do just that, to have you give up in order to protect us. Our minds, which were once wired for protection from predator threat in the wild, are still wired for protection but protection from negative emotions. Now that we no longer have to fear the attack of a wild animal, our minds have evolved to protect us from mostly social fears. It is the protective mind that will tell you that you should stop if you don’t want to feel that embarrassment or rejection again. It will stop you if you let it.

Knowing that each failure exists to teach us something is the most powerful thing to get us through the debilitating fears the mind as produced, and have us continue our journey to be great (whatever that may look like for you). Next time you are faced with a failure, ask yourself,

“What is this here to teach me?”

In my own life, I have found that the lesson to cultivate the persistence to continue pursuit after failure, alone has been enough to continue my journey. There are times when I do get discouraged and think things would be easier if I just gave up and throw up the white flag to all of the people who have never understood what I have been moving towards.

Who you are meant to be evolves from where you are right now. So, learning to appreciate your lessons, mistakes and setbacks as stepping stones to the future are clear signs you are moving in the right direction.

~ Oprah Winfrey, What I Know For Sure (2012)

Oftentimes these failures can feel like taking steps backwards, but the fact is that simply taking that action was progress enough because those who never took action could have never failed and learned, or won anyway.

Perhaps the answers are just you need to better equip you for the step in your journey. Keep going!

Chemistry Bonds and Valentine’s Day?

Encompassed by the walls of Hallmark cards, I embarked on a journey to select the perfect card for the loving people in my life on Valentine’s Day. I rummaged through endless lines of punny, corny and endearing messages found between the flaps of cardboard for at least a half hour before I settled. I grew impatient in my search for the perfect cards. Then, on my way out of the store I noticed one card I had left unchecked. Its top left corner peeked from behind the pink envelopes before it and seemed to give me a wink. (Weird, right?) I slid my sneakers across the carpet floor to give just one more card a chance.

It had an image of the periodic table on the cover and inside read, “You are the Sodium to my Chloride.” The former chemistry nerd in me jested at the pun. Though I found much enjoyment in reading this card, I did not select it as my chosen one, but it did get me thinking.

I began to think about the relationships between element bonds and human bonds. Was this card an accurate personification of what goes into forming real HUMAN relationship bonds? Now, I do not remember much from chemistry class 10 years ago, but what I do remember is that the entire premise of the subject is studying the composition of elements and their reactions with other substances.

If I were to translate this into the study of human chemistry, I would say it is a subject which studies the composition of personalities and their reactions to other interactions. When we say someone has “chemistry” with another person, what we typically mean is that Sally’s personality and Harry’s personality react positively with one another. The interactions between the two of them have made them feel a sort of closeness. Perhaps I would argue this is where the creation of a “bond” would come in. A bond comes out of furthering interactions between people in sharing similar experiences, having intimate conversations and going through challenging circumstances. Similar to the chemical interactions which create a bond, human bonds are then created.

I guess there is some reason to why we use terms like “bond” and “chemistry” to describe human relationships after all.

Still, chemical and human bonds can be broken if such interactions are no longer present. Maybe you and your partner do not share much anymore, you don’t trust one another, or you have given up on creating experiences together. The good news is, I believe bonds can be strengthened overtime even more simply than they can be broken. 🙂

This Valentine’s Day, I hope you took the time to look at the chemistry that you found between you and your partner and all of the interactions you both have created to manifest your unique bond. I wish for all couples, friends and relatives to keep up these interactions with the people you love dearly, and keep that bond everlasting.  ❤