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.

 

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Think about a time in your life when you had interpreted someone’s “Yes.” (emphasis on the period) via text as he or she harboring frustration with you. You then begin to analyze this event and bring reason to why they are mad at you and assume they are irritated with something you said. But how much of that is the truth? Rather, this is the story we tell ourselves to bring a story line into a trigger event to help make sense of it. Yet, that IS all we are really doing, making up a story, and not even considering the truth in the situation.

Perhaps after confronting this friend regarding the text message, she does not even remember it because there was not emotion attached to the response at all. Meanwhile, you had suffered for days thinking constantly about this response which turned out to be a misinterpretation at the end of the day. Dr. Brene Brown speaks of how the brain actually rewards us for creating a storyline such as this to help to make sense of a situation whether it is a truthful storyline or not. As a result, however, we may be so committed to our story that we never end up finding the truth.

Brene Brown speaks about how these trigger moments, such as the “Yes.” text message response are opportunities for self-reflection. Our recognition of the tendency to craft a story in this moment is the sign to begin our self-reflection. To take the same example, once we are triggered by this text message and recognize our minds readiness to craft this entire story about our friend, we stop and reflect. Here, we are given the opportunity to figure out what about this response had triggered us?

The interesting thing is that we will always find that it everything to do with us, and nothing to do with the other person. The person on the sending end had no foul intention or malicious vengeance with a “Yes.” text response but because of our own inner insecurities and fear of rejection, we are sensitive to the short diction.

Since we are the creators of our reality, if we believe the story we tell ourselves all of the time, we may never give ourselves the opportunity to find truth or use this opportunity for self-reflection. By constantly believing the story we tell ourselves to be true, we can ruin various relationships in our lives. We may blame the actions of others for the way we are feeling or the failure of a relationship on the faults of another. How much truth is in these storylines? Are they merely just stories we tell ourselves?

Next time you feel the urge to develop a storyline in a trigger situation, recognize it as fiction and question what about YOU allowed for this to be a trigger event. You may find out more about yourself than you’d like to admit.

Peace Found in Objectivity

When was the last time you had a false perception about either a situation or a person? Situations like this are common as human beings, who are always looking to reason, draw conclusions and make up our own elaborate judgments for ourselves. Simply based on the look of someone, tone of voice, or wording in a text message, we can be given a negative impression of a situation.

These sorts of interpretations are due to the subjective nature of our mind. Mostly, I am sure this is an evolutionary trait which would have previously allowed for us to defend ourselves against the enemy in the wild. Now, as a more evolved species, it is the precise things that can cause us confusion in the wild and defense us from our truth.

I recently accidentally texted my co-worker “JK” following the exclamation, “Cute!” referring to the picture she sent me of her niece. I then quickly texted the correction, “Cute!*” again to hope she interpreted my “JK” as a mere slip of the finger. However, this got me thinking about how my co-worker could have interpreted this meaning without ever having known the real nature of the mistake.

My co-worker might had read that as a joke to imply her niece was in-fact not cute at all, which would have been a disaster. She also might have interpreted to be something I might have typed but accidentally send, resulting in the same rude and horrific interpretation. Or she might have found it to be the mistake it was.

Objectively, I believed her niece to be very cute, but expressed myself a bit improperly. If everyone was to only be able to think objectively, a mistake like this could be seen for what it was. Since we more often think subjectively about instances, we can draw various conclusions about the same, solidary event.

If we were all to think more objectively about situations, we would be able to find more peace with ourselves and the world. There are times I find myself questioning what seems to be almost everything and anything going on in my life. I judge whether or not it is good, bad, right, wrong, what it means, what it doesn’t mean, etc. By viewing things in life more objectively, we do not worry so much about what it good, bad, right, wrong what it means or doesn’t mean. Conversely, we focus only on what it is or what has happened without interpretation. Without this interpretation, our reactions can be pure, for they are not influenced by our own prompted thoughts or dwellings. We can see people, places and things for what they are and not for what we judge them to be.

If things feel like they are going well in the moment, let them continue free from judgment. Judgments can dilute the truth in the moment. The truth is what is actually occurring, while judgments are merely the interpretation of the truth, or in other words, the not-truth.

By allowing ourselves to experience the present free from judgments, we can find the truth in these moments more clearly, and see them for what they really are.

The clarity given to us when thinking objectively is a feeling of freedom. Freedom from attachment and excessive thoughts. We accept events things at face value, and recognize the moments when our mind wishes to judge them, but we know better.

This practice comes along with the practice of self-awareness. Try to be more aware of situations where you feel you are passing judgment on someone or something. Then question whether you are feeling this judgment because it is the truth of the situation, or is it your own conditionings, experiences and beliefs that have caused you to interpret this “truth” into something it is not. When we are able to be aware of why we are interpreting the truth for something it is not, it can bring us peace in being more accepting of situations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Love the Job You Hate

I was thinking of expanding upon this topic at a later time because of how many people complain about their jobs more than anything. It is understandable! We spend 33% of our days, on average, in the workplace. If we are unhappy for 33% of our days and spend that time just waiting for the other 67% to come, we might as well try to make that 33% of time more satisfying.

Now, to begin, I do not hate my job, personally, but there WAS a time when I could not bear it.

So, what changed? My position? My company? Nope.

The answer is… I did.

Some of you may think your situation is unique. If anyone else had your job, they would hate it too, and there is no way your job can be as bad as theirs. Everyone’s experiences are relative so how can we possibly compare? What may be a great experience for you, may be a terrible experience for me. However, the one thing I think we can all settle on is having the feeling of dread getting ready for work in the morning, feeling that drop in your stomach when you realize it’s Sunday and Monday is creeping behind, or watching the clock with anxiety, frustrated that the time will not hurry the heck up!

If we can agree on all of those emotions, I think it is fair to say we all share in this experience.

Today, I am free from the feeling of dread in the morning, enjoy my sits in traffic to work and home, and I do look at the clock but I no longer curse that slow ticking hand.

I know it might sounds crazy but it also sounds pretty good, right? The good things is everyone has the capability of doing the same, but WE need to change!

So, Alex, that’s great and all but HOW do I change?

Good question. The solutions will vary depending on the person, but all I can share is what I did to change my perspective and ultimately changed my life.

This change came primarily with the adoption of two simple concepts: Self-awareness and Gratitude.

Making these a HABIT is critical in changing your way of thinking and your attitude towards everyday life.

First, having the self-awareness to understand the moments in the day that prompt a certain emotion is critical to making a change. Oftentimes we can all get caught up in this auto-pilot mode, where we react without reason.

For example, when I get a message from a frustrated, rude client who hurts my feelings, my initial, auto-pilot reaction is to tell them off and prove my point. However, this would indicate a lack of self-awareness. My self-aware self then brings reason into the equation. In this moment, I stop, reflect on the emotion I am feeling, which words exactly triggered this emotion, and be proactive about what the client’s response would be if I said something as a reaction rather than a reasoned response. Here, we might want to think twice. At the end of this reflection, most likely, I would resolve to keep it polite and professional. Here, I did not risk my reputation in the matter and felt I was the bigger person in the moment. Simply, “Not a problem. Have a nice night.” Not much too feel bad about after that response, huh?

The assessment of our emotions and our TYPICAL reactions to these emotions allows for us to make adjustments. How could we ever change our behaviors if we are never aware of them in the first place?

To assist in my quest for better self-awareness, I began journaling. While journaling, we are able to express our emotions on paper and read them back. Hmm, why did I feel that way? What can I do in my control to improve my reaction to this event that made me feel this way? Journaling provides us with an avenue to take a deeper dive to get to know ourselves better.

Second, gratitude. There is a Tony Robbins saying that I’m sure I have mentioned before, which I will paraphrase here. “It is impossible to feel sadness while also simultaneously expressing gratitude.” No matter how terrible a job might be, there is SOMETHING in this life I am sure you can find to be grateful for in those moments of frustration with your boss, annoyance with your co-worker, or confrontation with your client.

When you notice the feeling of worry or anxiety in the workday, think of that one person or thing that brings you joy and purpose for being alive and say, “Thank you.” That moment of anxiety just changed to joy by just doing that, if only for a brief moment. But, imagine how the accumulation of all of these brief moments of joy would improve your overall day experience.

Don’t allow for those 33% hours to be wasted in feelings of owe and frustration. Make something out of it! Again, this is a habit we are trying to establish within ourselves. So, the consistent and constant practice of self-awareness and gratitude will be crucial in the success of this how-to. Try these tips out every day for the next 30 days, and see if you notice a difference! Feel free to comment with your results. Enjoy!