Most people believe it all their lives. We think people are being figurative when they tell us that reality happens in our imagination. But we’re not, and until we face that absolute fact (that ties us all together), we will suffer because we will spend all of our time trying to satisfy a bunch of other people’s opinions when that’s impossible because they all see us in their own way.
Instead, our belief is that our reality is formed by society, and the events and practices of our lives. This means we can’t be happy at work because it’s called work and we reserve our happiness for the word play, or leisure, or vacation.
We can even be like that to the point where we can even dislike other people for the fact that they love their job. Or maybe it’s not our work; maybe we believe we can only be happy if we’re with one particular person because the definition of we have of ourselves is as half of a partnership. This of course means that any time we are single we deem ourselves as having failed.
Often, we’ll subconsciously let our society tell us what’s good and what’s bad and we live up to it without question. A lot of the time that makes society work better. But sometimes it makes individuals unhealthy.
For the vast majority of us, any unknown food is also an unwanted one. Pregnancy has to be an awful, painful experience you need drugs for. Or if someone in your family is afraid of heights they can teach you to be too. But does it really seem likely that heights themselves are dangerous? Of course not, people stand at the edge of substantial heights all the time.
Could we find people who like unpopular things? Could we find people who love their job? Can we find women who valued pregnancy and went through it without drugs? Due to simply no other choice, that would be more than half the women on Earth, so we can definitely find them. And as noted, there’s no shortage of people walking in places featuring extremely high heights.
Maybe we believe these people are working with more than we are. Maybe we really just aren’t that good. Maybe they are, maybe not. But more importantly, it’s unfortunate that that terrible idea of ourselves is all too believable to many of us.
Our life is not our actions, it is an emotional experience. We list it as things that made us happy and things that made us sad, when really it’s things we allowed ourselves to think gratefully about, versus things that we wished were different. We don’t really need to gain the difference between our ideals and ourselves, we need to lose the desire to do so.
We all perform so much of our lives to please others it’s ridiculous. Every life has challenges and it is experience that helps us each find where our line is between things we should accept versus things we should put our energy into changing. But it should be us deciding that.
If we want to change ourselves every time someone else wants us to act this or that way then we’re not even living our own lives, we’re just reading off of a bunch of other people’s unique scripts.
We are better to be ourselves. The people who will respond most positively to it are our people and we don’t need anything to earn their love and support other than to be the people we already are at that time.
That simple focus is much more relaxing than second-guessing ourselves into insanity. If we don’t do that, it leaves us tons of extra energy that we can use to become even better versions of ourselves.
We need to stop wanting life to be different. We need to appreciate how it is. Because the appreciation happens inside our head, meaning the act of appreciation is always within our control. And if you’ve got that, you’ve got happiness no matter where we are.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.