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. 

 

26 Years… What I Know for Sure- 10 THINGS

So, today marks my 26th birthday, and in honor of that occasion, I thought it would be fun to reflect on some of the lessons I have learned over my 26 years of life thus far. We all evolve so much throughout the years that it is strange thinking back to different beliefs, habits, attitudes you may have held in adolescence or even just a year ago, which might differ completely now.

With inspiration from Oprah Winfrey’s book, What I Know for Sure. Here are the top 10 things that I know for sure (thus far). Hope someone else is able to get something out of it. Enjoy!

1.       It’s not what happens to you in life, it is how you CHOOSE to react to it.

We have a lot more control over our experiences in life than we give ourselves credit for. It is easy to blame “bad luck” or pity ourselves over a certain circumstance we most likely cannot control. So, instead of succumbing to the series of unfortunate events, perhaps, CHOOSE to be positive, own your circumstances, and move forward!

2.       You are always exactly where you are supposed to be.

This is a big lesson I have especially learned over the past year or so. Being in a career I am not super passionate about can make one feel anxious and stuck. But, having adopted this new mentality about where I am vs. where I want to be. I know I am taking small actions towards where I see myself, and in that we much ACCEPT where we are right now because NOW is all we truly have. We must let go of angst and let life guide us patiently through our course.

3.      Want only what you already have.

Many of us live our lives wanting more, more money, more status, more power, more things, and lose sight of all we already have. Being grateful for what we already have and wanting only that and nothing more is extremely humbling. We being to recognize that we have much more than most, and that is enough.

4.       The power of gratitude

I have been journaling what I am grateful for every day for a couple of years now, and I will tell you that it truly does put things in perspective. Having a gratitude journal forces you to reflect on all we have and all of the blessings in our life every day. It can be the smallest little things such as just waking up, having a moment to yourself, having the sun come out today, etc. Many of these small things we can take for granted, and writing them down every day prevents us from overlooking them.

5.       Acceptance is Love

For years I always wondered why I did not feel comfortable around most people, whether it was family, friends or random social settings. I always felt like there was something wrong with me because I was not the type to “click” with many people or make instant friends. I am a self-proclaimed introvert and for years I tried to force myself into a position as an extrovert and fit it. As I grew up I started to understand why the only people I felt genuinely comfortable around was my immediate family, and it was because I trusted that they accepted me. Since I was not yet in a position of fully accepting myself, there was no way I could feel like someone else could be so accepting of me even if they were. On the flip side of this realization, I began to truly be accepting of others in my life, whether they had strange quirks or annoyances, I would still without judgment to my best ability because all they truly want is what I want, acceptance. Then, I began to understand this acceptance as love. It is the most powerful thing we yearn for in life, to be loved, but put even more simply, to be accepted.

6.       The story we tell ourselves RUNS our life, so monitor that story and change the plot if it does not serve you.

Understanding our truth is not an overnight processes. We must recognize the various beliefs and identities we have held throughout the years and assess whether they are moving us forward or holding us back. These beliefs and identities run our lives, so it is important to check in to see what is serving us and what is not. Perhaps you have always identified as being “someone who doesn’t take risks,” so you move through life without ever taking a risk because “that’s not who you are.” Can we maybe question this identity to see if this is good enough reason to never take risks in life? Perhaps we miss out on a good opportunity because we hold this identity so dearly, and holds us back from making a positive change.

7.       Develop the habit of reading even if you don’t love it. Stay curious!

Growing up I was never a big reader, and even today, I don’t love reading books more than 300 pages. But, developing reading into a daily practice is beneficial for the present and future you. Reading allows us to open our minds up into new information and even brings to life a new mindset. As we grow older, we must continue to expand and grow our minds through activities such as reading in order to prevent the deterioration of the brain. In a world where mindless television and internet scrolling in the norm (I am guilty of it to) we need to implement a practice to at least somewhat offset these mindless moment through mindful practices.

8.       Meditation works.

The meditation and mindfulness movement has been growing tremendously over the years, and its benefits have been proven effective for hundreds of years, yet there is some doubt my many (including myself at one time) of its benefits. Over the past year I have been more religious in the adoption of a meditation practice in my own life, and please take it from me, it makes a difference. Overtime, you begin to notice that your mind does not wonder, overthink, dwell or worry about things as it had prior to this practice. Meditation allows for us to train our minds to focus on the present moment and manage distractions during and after the practice.

9.      We experience life through the lens of the mindset we carry.

Perhaps this is similar to the story we tell ourselves, but here I think I am going more for a thought about attitude. If we maintain a positive attitude throughout our days, we had a great day! If we wonder through life thinking the world is against us and everyone is evil, our world will be unpleasant. We can see this sort of idea play out in a circumstance, at work, for example. We might be performing the same job, same task in the same company as another person and they hate their job while you might love it! It’s the same circumstance experienced two completely different ways. Luckily! We have control over our own mindset and can choose to have a good day or not based on that attitude alone.

10.   WE define success, not time, not others, not accolades.

For years I talked about being “successful” “one day,” not fully understanding what success even meant to me. I knew what success meant to other people, having money, cars and status, perhaps, so like many of us, I owned this as my own definition. But was it? How did I define success? What did I want? Is it possible I am already successful? Can’t be! Well, to my surprise, I came to find out that success to me is exactly where I am right now. I might not be in the profession I want to be in, being as financially well-off as I want to be, etc, but in this moment I am success because of the way I define success. I define success as being able to support myself, my friends and my family whether financially (enough) or emotionally. I define success as making progress on personal development, my goals and my skills. I define success as doing the very best I can ALWAYS. Reminding ourselves that everyone is always doing the best they can, may really evoke empathy for one another. Perhaps they do not define success in the same way, but according to your definition, they are successful all the same, whether they know it or not.

Long post and very raw but I hope even one person was able to relate and maybe gain a new perspective from this. What I Know for Sure?… There is more to come. Enjoy!

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.

Better than None; Worst than None

Over the past few days I have been thinking about the concept of jealousy and, conversely, superiority. The feeling of jealousy and superiority may be juxtaposes but they do ultimately come from the same place, for both of these beliefs are rooted in the fear of not being worthy.

In jealousy, we feel unworthy when we hear of someone traveling to a place you’ve always wanted to go to, someone getting engaged as you await a confirmation from your partner or someone earning an income greater than your own. Although many of us are ashamed to admit our jealousies, all of us experience them at one time or another.

On the other hand, the feeling of superiority is also reflective of our feeling of unworthiness because feeling like we are better than another, constantly comparing our status and accomplishments to someone of a lower status and few accomplishments to make ourselves feel better is just the same.

For myself, I have been guilty of possessing a perfectionism mentality which has perpetually made me strive to do better than others in order to prove a sense of “worthiness” to myself.

“BUT the gag is” (Keke Palmer 1) this is not true worthiness.

True worthiness is the acceptance of yourself in whatever position or status you are in REGARDLESS of accomplishment, failure or comparison to others.

Many of us may feel guilty about this feeling of jealousy and/or superiority, knowing that we are no better or worse off than anyone else because we are equality worth of love, compassion, understanding and belonging, but in the events of the day to day, especially in a social-media-drive society, we all fall victim to these reactions. Luckily, recognizing our reaction is the first step in truly understanding our feelings of jealousy and/or superiority in order to take a better look at ourselves and letting go of these feelings.

For myself, my true intention IN LIFE is to remain grateful for all I have and never yearn for more than what I have in the present moment. I wish the same for my friends and family, so each day I meditate and pray for each of them individually, sending them peace, love and happiness in their days.

Even in having this intention, the feeling of jealousy may arise, for example. So, how do I transform jealousy into genuinely joy for another’s accomplishments then?

The answer I have found is recognizing that because of the intention you have for another, YOU are partially responsible for their achievement. YOU are partially responsible for the joy they are experiencing in that moment. If our intention is for another to genuinely experience joy in their day, and the effect of that intention was an accomplishment that brought them joy. And how can we feel jealousy when we ultimately nourished that very accomplishment?

To free ourselves of jealousy and superiority we must truly understand we are no worse nor any better than another. It is understanding that we are all silent contributors to the story of another. It is the acceptance of ourselves for who we are and where we are in our lives in the present moment.

 

“There’s Nothing to Fear But…” BLAH BLAH BLAH

As we approach the concluding months of the year, many of us creating our New Year’s resolutions. Some people might think these goals are silly, arguing, “Well, you can make a new goal at any time, so why wait for the New Year to start?” Of course, there is some truth to this statement, we should always be growing and challenging ourselves, however the New Year is a symbol of something fresh, a clean slate that provides people with the belief they can begin again. And to that, I say, “Hell yeah!”

In my own brief reflection of my 2018 goals regarding what I achieved and did not achieve, I have noticed many factors caused me to fall short on accomplishing many of them.

The greatest limitation I have discovered in myself had been fear. Throughout the year, fear manifested itself both in my professional and my personal life. Progressing through this fear in various situations felt as if I was trekking though muddy waters. These fears had layers to them, for I found there was never just a single fear felt in a given situation. These fears had fears and I was fearful of my fears. Eventually, this debilitating feeling would blow out the spark I may have felt only moments before. As a result, searched for comfort rather than taking action against these fears.

It is easy to recite FDR’s famous words, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself,” but it is quite another to truly believe it. Fears are created from our insecurities and conditioning resulting from past experiences and childhood. In our adult lives, as we begin to take on the world, striving to fulfill our goals, these fears begin to stand in the way of our goals. Our choices are to run or to face these fears, and our instinct is the easiest way out, right? To run. The most difficult challenge is pushing through these conditions, changing them, and no longer obliging to the fear they have created within us.

Thus far, I have found the strongest opponent to fear has been faith and acceptance of failure. How can we fear if we have such a strong faith or belief in something? We must trust that what we are setting out to do is authentic in the given moment and not question it and feel obligated to answer fear’s doubtful questions nagging in our minds. We must believe we have positive intent in our action and pursue it unafraid. Furthermore, we must build the muscle to accept failure, for what is the greatest fear instilled in most people? The fear of judgment. In accepting failure, we can accept our flaws and our mistakes, and maybe even learn from them. Though facing our fear sounds scary, it is a small sacrifice for a much greater reward.