Other people’s lives are not better than yours. If you’re a struggling writer and you’ve never sold anything, you’re not missing any of the neural-chemistry that a super successful writer has. And you also don’t have any of their thoughts to think. So while the new writer tortures herself with questions about ability, the “successful” writer tortures himself with theories about how lucky he was with his first book and about how he cannot ever hope for the second book to be as successful. Ergo, both live in fear of writing. Of being accepted. Both are living in ego.
Many women who don’t match the look that advertising sells, end up feeling left out by the images in her society. That feeling in turn can than lead to her simultaneously not want to be friends with women who do match that look because she will appear worse by juxtaposition. Of course, this leaves pretty girls with fewer friends and the basis for the friendships they do have is much more suspect. Likewise, the pretty girls are never sure if the guys are there for them or for their looks. Ergo, both women live with a fear of being accepted and both are trapped in torturous ego.
Smart people can figure a lot of clever things out. They can negotiate all sorts of aspects of life easily and successfully. But their ability to think also means they ruminate more than people who do less analysis. That means they’re better at taking their own decisions apart to study them. It also means they’re better at finding what went wrong, and they’ll be better at blaming themselves because they feel their capability should have insulated them from failure. So both live with a fear of failure it’s just one’s image of that failure is more detailed. This like saying it’s better to die by ten bullets than one.
Are there lives that are more joyful than others? Absolutely yes. Are they more joyful because of the definitions of the individuals or their circumstances? Absolutely not. The skills of the people and their circumstances are not nearly as important as their own sense of being. Some of the richest, most beautiful, successful people have killed themselves out of profound sadness. Many others sink deeply into addictions and other unhealthy behaviours.
Stop wishing you were someone else. Stop doing theoretical negotiations of what it would be like to live someone else’s life—because you’re only looking at a sliver of it. Every mind contains the ability to assemble the same ideas and get the same responses within your consciousness. Rich or beautiful or talented people do not have brain chemistry that you don’t have.
We must become conscious of our creative abilities. We must use our ability to direct our thinking and we must point it toward an appreciation of our own existence. Because wanting someone else’s life will always always always feel like a pang of hunger—like an unrealised desire. But appreciation feels the same in all who think it, rich or poor, weak or powerful, young or old.
Surrender. Forget about moving things around on the outside of your life. Focus on what you are involved with within yourself. For that is where your real life is lived. And that is the landscape you must negotiate with wisdom. So do not put on the blinders of ego. Keep an open mind. And use it to find and create circumstances which expand our capacity and motivation for even deeper appreciation of what already Is.
You are perfect precisely the way you are. You need only to quiet your disputing thoughts. Because they are the only barrier between you and the beautiful awareness that will otherwise flood your consciousness. And you know this is true, because every time you look at something you think is radiantly beautiful, whether it’s a person or a sunset, the reason you can appreciate it is because the majesty of the view convinced your ego to shut up. And whenever it’s quiet, true appreciation naturally occurs.
So don’t use your thoughts to struggle your way to health. Quiet them and realize you were always already right where you were trying to get to. Now go create a beautiful day. Because that’s the only way anyone ever had one.
peace and love, s
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.