September 16, 2014 at 7:00 am #64936
Two things have been bothering me of late and I’m hoping there’s someone out there who could slap sense into me. 😉
The first is my obsession with aesthetics and physical forms. Rather than seeing the beauty in this world, I find myself being highly critical of what I see and experience around me. For example, I just recently moved into a new apartment. When I went to saw it a few months ago, I realized it wasn’t perfect, but it looked really nice. Now that I’ve actually moved into it, those imperfections are really starting to bother me and I regret perhaps not having chosen a different option. It’s gotten to the point where I’m actually yelling at myself to shut-up and just appreciate what I have and stop being so critical. The apartment seems to be a more recent pain point in a string experiences where I find myself not able to appreciate what I have and ruminating about what I did have and how it was better or what could have been.
My second obsession is perhaps related to the first, but it has to deal with people and feelings of inferiority and superiority. I’m constantly comparing myself to others – “He’s smarter, better looking, more social-able, more well-liked, more athletic, more comfortable in his own skin = I wish I was more like him. ” OR “He’s too egotistical, arrogant, unsociable, awkward, has poor taste, loud, boisterous, proud.” And back and forth it flips from person to person = I’m glad I’m not like him.”
I’m getting a little frustrated with myself and wish these thoughts and feelings didn’t come. They’re such a waste of energy. My biggest regrets in life are related to not appreciating what I had and yet, here I am, not appreciating what I have. Has my mind not learned it’s lesson? Can we not just be happy (my mind and I)?
All in all, I just have to laugh at all this silliness. It’s so ridiculous! 🙂
If anyone else has some insights on how to deal with this monkey mind, please do share.September 16, 2014 at 7:59 am #64939
P.S. I recognize that this is all this is just Ego-ic thinking and responds to the question, “What do or will people think of me?” and the need for approval. Apple’s motto, “Think Differently” really applies here, but damns it’s hard! 😛September 16, 2014 at 10:27 am #64959GParticipant
It’s tough to not compare ourselves to others but always remember that what we see of people is only what they allow us to see. Someone is always going to be better looking, more successful, funny etc etc etc..Just the way it goes. The best advice I could give to you is…give advice to yourself. By that I mean: Imagine if a friend of yours came to you and expressed the same problems..compared themselves to other people and felt inferior etc. What would you say to them? I’d have to imagine you’d say something like “don’t be silly, you’re awesome! You have so much going for you. You’re a great person and it’s pointless to do this to yourself”. We are so harsh to ourselves sometimes and we don’t ever realize it. Treat yourself like a friend. Give yourself the friendly advice that you give to those you love. The most beautiful person in the room has insecurities as well. To desire is to suffer. I truly believe that. There is nothing more attractive, empowering, awe inspiring than being yourself. Being totally comfortable with yourself.
As far as your apartment is concerned, light a candle, breathe and think of your apartment as a friend. Your friend is keeping you warm in the winter, cool in the summer, it’s keeping the rain off of your head and yes, it might not be the most beautiful apartment “in the room” but it’s your apartment. It’s doing the best it can with what it has and you should recognize that because maybe you’re judging your place just like you may judge/criticize yourself. Make peace with what you have because it’s not written anywhere that you SHOULD have anything. Just let things be as they are. If you wish to improve something, that’s fine but go about it in a caring way. Don’t be too harsh on yourself and your things, after all, they’re YOUR things. They all found their way into your life so appreciate them for what they’re doing for you and teaching you everyday.
hope that helps
-GSeptember 16, 2014 at 11:56 am #64982MattParticipant
At some point, perhaps you’ll get bored making comparisons. The old apartment had this and this, didn’t have this and this. A wise man has this and this, doesn’t have this and this. An egoic man has this and this, doesn’t have this and this. Just waves of thoughts, pointless, use up energy, don’t really do much else. You’re far too entertained by your thoughts, friend. 🙂
Consider rekindling your meditation practice. Meditation strengthens our serenity, so we can simply fix what we can fix and accept what we can’t. Said differently, the apartment isn’t the source of your happiness or suffering, its just a container for it. A place to ripen, learn discernment, “what to fix, what to accept”.
From a different direction, consider that you bitched about your last apartment, too. Surprise, the habit of bitching is still here, now painting your new walls. Eroding the bitching isn’t about trying to grab onto, stare at, the pretty parts of the walls only, or avoiding grabbing onto, staring at the cracks. Its realizing the walls don’t matter, don’t make us happy or bitchy. That all comes from our point of view. Which meditation helps open, detach. 🙂
MattSeptember 16, 2014 at 5:18 pm #64992AlanaParticipant
Do you think you may have perfectionist tendencies?
Is this how your stream of thought works?
You make comparisons with the external world. The comparisons make you suffer. To you, you feel that in order to stop the suffering, you need to stop the comparisons by being more appreciative of what you have.
You try to stop these thoughts but find it extremely difficult. It is helpful, but something that you struggle longer than you need too. You feel tired that you still have these thoughts but you can’t fully shake out of the habit. You start putting yourself down for not “getting it.”
At first glance it looks like you are judging others too much and you need to stop it to be satisfied. Second glance shows that it doesn’t seem that judging others is the problem but that you are judging yourself to hard.
Meditating more on why you are so critical of yourself may be more insightful than why you criticize others. Sometimes I just hate people without knowing why 🙂 maybe because they resemble someone I grew up with lol.September 16, 2014 at 7:52 pm #64995
Yes, I am a bit of perfectionist. Another thing I chastise myself for…too much perhaps. 😉
I do find it extremely difficult to block out negative thoughts and yes, I get very frustrated that I’m just not “getting it”. I’ve never heard it put so eloquently. There’s so much garbage in there floating around, new information just does not want to stay.
Interestingly enough, I’m not too interested in the “why” – my parents, my upbringing, a bully from school, genetics. Sure, all of those things may have played a factor, but I’m tired of digging in the past for the answer. I strongly believe that the answer is right under my nose, but once again, “I’m not getting it”.
If I was my own friend, I’d probably advise myself to look at my apartment situation from another point of view – focus on the positive aspects of the situation and focus on the things that are in my locus of control to change. I’d also tell myself to be grateful for what I have. So many others have it worse than I do. And who knows what the future may bring. Appreciate what you have now, because it could all disappear in a flash. Sure, you may have made a bad choice and the other apartment could be better, but who knows. Nothing is certain. You made a choice and accept it as there was no other choice you could have made. As if the other apartment wasn’t even available.
If we were talking about comparing myself to others, I’d tell myself to continue my metta medittation practice and opening your heart equally to all living beings. To see all people as equals with their issues, hang-ups, insecurities. Sure they might a better job at hiding them most of the time, but like you, they’re probably just faking it 99% of the time. All the world’s a stage.,,so continue to play this role you’ve been assigned. Read your lines. There is no such thing as a small part, just small actors.
@Matt, it’s funny, but I never once complained about my old apartment. It was really my sanctuary and I loved coming home to it. Hence the comparison to this apartment and it’s flaws. But I will use this experience to help teach me a new lesson in acceptance, not being so overly dramatic about it, and changing my perspective on things. I will get it or die trying. 🙂
I appreciate the advice that you all have given me. There are minor changes that I could make to improve upon the situation, but I will continue to work at accepting, being happy and grateful for what I have, and changing my perspective.September 17, 2014 at 12:09 am #65010louiseParticipant
DONT BE SO CRITICAL OF YOURSELF.
YOU ARE DOING JUST FiNE. IT IS ALL PARt OF YOUR PATH, YOU ARE SEEING WHAT YOU NEED TO SEE.
YOU ARE BEING HONEST. That is beautiful
Just be thankful you are on the right path.
its not easy going through it in that critical stage.
just accept it,
keep up the good work.
louiseSeptember 17, 2014 at 12:53 am #65017