Okay here’s the deal. I know you didn’t mean to become the way you are, but in the end the ultimate source of all of your struggles is the simply fact that you are unwittingly an insanely selfish, self-absorbed egomaniac that’s only happy if you’re constantly getting your own way. I know, doesn’t sound like you, does it? But it is. That’s because that’s how every ego is.
We can argue all kinds of great arguments, but in the end those will all be justifications for you being unhappy with things that you don’t like. The upside is that because everyone else is like that too, that points to the fact that no one can truly discover themselves if they never got lost in the first place.
So you’re born sane, you just slowly get your ego inflated without you really noticing—until it starts causing trouble. Because of the downsides, most people love it when I burst their bubble. But for some the bursting part is hard. I feel for them, but to help I have to be honest with them.
The area that’s the hardest for the largest number of people involves their application of their personal “rules” to the rest of the world. The days my various pages will get the most un-likes is when I challenge people’s choice to be offended. If they’re upset or their feelings are hurt, people don’t want to think that’s their responsibility, they want to pawn it off on someone else. In short, they want someone else to take the blame for the emotional experience created by their own thinking.
There aren’t good authors or good bands or good TV shows, there are authors you like, bands you like, and TV shows you like. So when one of those songs plays you think it’s the song that made you happy when really it’s your judgment of the song. Because of course other people are also listening to it and they’re hating the same song you love. We all live in separate realities, but you want everyone to pay special attention to yours. Of course, you’re not doing that for anyone else, you’re doing it for you, which is why the whole thing is so insanely self-centered.
Start taking responsibility for your own suffering. Stop whining for your right to whine. You don’t need a right for that. Whine whenever you want to. But don’t whine pretending you couldn’t stop if you didn’t choose to. Who is it that you think is thinking the offended thoughts? Those thoughts are yours. Offense does not exist in the world, it exists in your imagination. That’s again why one person can like one book when another person doesn’t. So those preferences apply to only you, so stop being offended when people express their preferences because they have as much right to theirs as you do to yours. And you know what? Those differences can comfortably co-exist in the vast majority of instances anyway.
A lot of people discover considerably more mental health, calmness, patience and understanding after working with me. But invariably I’ll say at least one or two things that really piss them off. Like when I say that the person who’s insulting them isn’t the problem. Every ego around them agrees that the other person is a jerk, so I’m an asshole for pointing that they’re not a jerk, they’re simply living out their own belief system in direct proximity to yours. The conflict you feel isn’t between the two of you, it’s between the differing ideas you choose to think into existence.
So here: if you want to keep living in ego and suffering a lot, then get angry and stop reading me when I say that your happiness is your responsibility. Go ahead and tell yourself that other people should do this or should do that. You think it hurts me that you think those thoughts? Sorry. No. I’m fine. You’re the one suffering and I’m opening a doorway and I’m saying, “Hey take a look in here. This works for every earnest person I show it to.” The people who are sick and tired of being sick and tired—they are happy to try anything other than suffer more. But if your suffering hasn’t lasted long enough or been bad enough, then you’re not lost enough to truly want to be found. It’s a nice theory, but you won’t surrender your suffering for it.
So you can move forward from here and truly try to live a different way and try to consider ideas that are initially uncomfortable, and that will lead you to peace and wisdom and patience and success. Or, you can continue to live in ego where you’ll be angry, sad, frustrated and insecure. The choice is truly yours.
This awareness doesn’t belong to me. I’m nobody. I’m a messenger. You’re just like me. Your mind can be free and healthy in the same way enlightened people’s are. You just have to make the right choices. And I do sincerely hope you choose to keep reading my work and sending it on to people you know who are struggling because I know I can help anyone whose mind is open. And if yours is closed right now—that’s fine too. Drop back again when either joy or suffering has opened it up a little wider. That’ll let your natural wisdom out and then I can show you how brilliant you truly are.
I wish you the very best.
With love, s
Following a childhood accident should have left him dead, Scott McPherson spent his life meditating on thought, consciousness, reality and the self. Seeing the emotional damage done by ego-based overthinking he began dedicating a part of his life to guiding students toward more peaceful and rewarding lives. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, Canada.