“Serenity comes when you trade expectations for acceptance.” ~Unknown
Damn lizard brain, I hate you sometimes. Why do you always have this thirst for more? Why must you have such impossibly high expectations for everything?
It’s good to have standards, but when is it too much?
Things can be going great for me and I could have the entire world love me, yet it wouldn’t be enough.
I still wouldn’t be happy even every human on Earth left me a voicemail to tell me I’m wonderful. Instead, I’d be wondering how everyone got my number.
Why is it never enough? It’s because the moment it slows down, my lizard brain is going to eat at me again. It always wants more.
My mind needs to be constantly bombarded with success and pleasure.
It will tell me I’m not good enough; it will tell me how I should probably just give up, because what’s the use if I’m not constantly getting results?
Yesterday, I had around ten new people follow me on Twitter, six new people subscribe to my newsletter, and over twenty new comments on an article. Today, I had only four more people follow me, several others unfollow, no new newsletter subscribers, and two new comments.
Lizard brain, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t beat yesterday’s achievements.
The problem with this is that I set high expectations in at least 10,000 areas on a daily basis. This is draining because it is unrealistic to be able to hit all those marks and exceed all the time.
This adds up and really affects my happiness, because there are these expectations I feel I have to meet.
Over the years, I’ve noticed this about myself and try my best to stop my lizard brain during its peak hours.
You probably have an annoying lizard brain too. It’s the part of you that controls you, makes you afraid, and pushes you because it says you’re a failure.
If your lizard brain is bothering you, here are some reminders that might help:
You can’t always win.
I have to constantly remind myself it is simply impossible to always beat yesterday’s achievements. Think about it. If you land on the moon today, what are the odds of you going to Mars tomorrow?
Celebrate your victories from today and don’t worry about the next day. You can worry about going to Mars maybe a month from now. You already made it to the moon, relax.
Celebrate and truly appreciate your accomplishment.
Besides, you can’t always win. So even when you fall just remind yourself you’re growing and you’re a work in progress. Use your failure as a motivator or a marker for where you need to be.
You can’t always win. Accept that.
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” ~Steve Furtick
Steve Furtick’s quote is gushing with truth. We often compare ourselves to others’ achievements and then we beat ourselves up.
Well, chances are we’re all just comparing our weakest moments to everybody else’s strongest. See how ridiculous that is?
You can’t possibly outshine everyone’s highlight reel. You have your own highlight reels too, but they’re not always playing. Stop comparing yourself to others because that is a sure way to feel dissatisfied.
What you can do instead is focus on your own highlight reels and then work on your behind-the-scenes by learning from them.
Eventually, others will be in awe at your highlight reels and they won’t even notice when you’re not at your best. It’s okay to slow down every now and then because not every day has to be breaking new ground.
Don’t let the journey bring you down or the end of the path won’t be as great as it could have been.
Remind yourself that no one cares.
This is a harsh truth, but in reality, no one cares. No one will realize how many times you’ve failed or every time you smile funny. Everyone else is the protagonist in his or her own story and you’re just a side character.
When you remind yourself that you’re not in the center of the universe and not everything revolves around you, things get easier.
This may be the hardest part for me. For some reason, I always feel like all eyes are on me and that every micro-movement will be noted by literally everyone in the room and eyes will be rolled as I adjust my leg positions. “Ugh, who does Vincent think he is? Sitting all cool like that…”
See how ridiculous that is? I highly doubt thirty people are constantly watching me for as little as a leg twitch. Chances are people just don’t care or are too busy with their own problems.
Keep reminding yourself that others have things going on too. You’re not the protagonist in their book; they are.
When I’m meditating, my lizard brain just does what it wants, but I act as the detached observer. I let it talk but I don’t interact. I watch it babble on and on as I crack a smile, because when I meditate, I no longer care.
Then I take it to the next level by focusing in on my breath. I make sure that the only thing I’m worrying about is breathing. My lizard brain doesn’t have anything on me now because it slowly starts to fade away.
There are tons of extensive guides on how to meditate. Pick a method that seems interesting to you and try it out. You can be the detached observer or the silencer.
What do you do to silence your lizard brain?
Photo by Gibson Regester
About Vincent Nguyen
Vincent Nguyen works with Becoming Minimalist to help inspire others to lead a simplified life. Some of his favorite articles on the Becoming Minimalist blog include What Is Minimalism (a great primer on the the minimalist lifestyle) and how to be happy.