Stop Trying to be Better and just BE, better.

When I stopped “working on myself” and put an end to the all-consuming quest to be better than I already was, life became infinitely nicer. just be

I used to believe I had a problem: life wasn’t always wonderful. Making myself a more self-actualized, better person looked like the obvious solution.

Turns out, all of that supposed self-help was actually the problem, not the fix. All of that self-absorption was creating the very “I should be better” problem I was trying to solve.

By staying focused on what I wanted and didn’t have, and by keeping close tabs on my view of my progress in life, I was keeping myself stuck in an endless loop of critical thought.

Giving up my quest to be better meant I got to stop thinking about myself so much. I didn’t have to evaluate how I was doing or take note of where things were not lining up with my vision for how I thought they should be.

And when I stopped thinking about life so much I got to actually live it. I got to fully enjoy it, rather than putting myself on track to hopefully enjoy it someday.

When I stopped obsessing over my own condition, I learned something about the human condition What I saw in the human condition was that we are all okay, all of the time, no matter what. And we can easily fall into believing we are not okay when our state of mind plummets.

Our supposed non-okay-ness shows up in different ways at different times for different people—it might show up as lack of self-esteem, a habit or addiction, money or relationship struggles, or any number of issues.

But all of those individual “issues” aren’t actually distinct at all. They are all one single issue—thought that doesn’t look like thought. They are thought running wild, disguising itself as real world problems.

What I viewed as a problem with my life that demanded a solution was only the way my thoughts showed up to me in the moment. That’s all it ever is for any of us. Underneath the way our thinking manifests, we are all equally, perfectly okay.

I worked with a woman recently who saw the truth in this very quickly. We only had two short coaching sessions together, a total of 90 minutes on the phone.

I sent her an email recently just to say hello and see how she’s doing. I want to share her response because it so nicely illustrates exactly what’s possible when you settle into life as it is right in front of you rather than try to add, fix, or improve upon it.

Here’s what she had to say:

It’s so nice to hear from you! I’m doing so normal – and it’s fabulous! I have good days and bad days, and it’s all to be expected. None of it is shocking or sends me in to a frenzy, I realize that both circumstances (good or bad) are only indicating the quality of my thoughts, and not that I need to leap in to action mode or that something around me is wrong, even when it realllllly seems that way. It’s transcending when you actually grasp this concept. Not because it prevents inner chatter, or bad moods, or feeling self-conscious, or fights, or getting overwhelmed at work, but because all of that just seems so less serious now, it’s to be expected. I don’t have to meditate my way out of it, say positive mantras, or do anything. I can stay in the low mood as long as I want to, there’s no rush to get out of it because it’s not real anyway.

“When I let go of my need to figure everything out, define everything, make meaning out of everything, life just feels so much lighter…and when I find myself trying to analyze and dissect and anticipate, that’s okay too. I see now that I can fall anywhere on the spectrum, on the mellow non-thinky end, or on the uber stuck in thought end, both will pass, and life will ebb & flow. I seriously can’t even thank you enough for how much you’ve helped me learn to NOT help myself, to not fix, to not have to go through this 10 step process in order to never feel anxious again ever, to learn that it’s all okay, it’s all normal, life is constantly changing and moving, and instead of resisting the hell out of everything I can lean into change, bend with life, not take it all so seriously.”

Sound like a way you’d like to live? Me too. It’s what we all want, even more—I suspect—than a perfect life full of all of our desired outcomes.

Lucky for us, that feeling my client described is where you will find yourself when your mind settles down.

That’s your universal, human okay-ness shining through.

P.S. The client above will be at the Being Human Retreat in a few weeks. Come join us if you want to talk to her about her experience.

 

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