Over the past 20 years or so, the amount of information platforms we have access to, and the ease of access to, has increased exponentially. What’s interesting is that the amount of available information hasn’t seemed to increase the amount of truths to be found. The increase in truth appears to be on a much smaller trajectory, and ironically, the most recent truths point to our collective inability to process the amount of information at our disposal and our collective inability to discern fact from fiction.
At the Corner of Insecurity and Arrogance
The thin line between arrogance and insecurity teeters on foolishly thinking everyone else believes you’re great and greatly overthinking that everyone else believes you’re a fool.
The Effort to Fail to Notice the Falling Sky
Busy is a trap. Busy is an excuse. Busy can also be the antidote of worry. When I sit still with my thoughts, Anxiety takes that opportunity to play the role of fortune teller – proffering scenarios and outcomes with the sole intent of stagnation. This is as much a foolish waste of time as it would be to try to dig up the roots of a fake tree. For me, the difference is discerning between work and effort. Busy work can at times be a welcome distraction for the mind, but once the work stops, the problems return with compounded worry since they were merely placed on hold. Conversely, effort (a show of strength) is a conscious exertion towards an achievement. To busy oneself with effort is to weaken Anxiety’s grip. Effort, though strenuous, doesn’t need to equate to anything momentous – it’s simply productivity in service of betterment in some small way. The ultimate benefit is not allowing the idle mind to irrationally turn its gaze skyward.
Restless. Less Rest.
Relaxing is not my forte. I realize my interpretation of relaxation is really more about doing nothing than it is about rejuvenation through some form of stillness. When I try to “rest”, I just end up feeling restless and it prevents me from falling asleep. My mind is presently ill-equipped to turn off, and the days have become a blur of routine. Although it’s taken time for me to build up some good habits during the day, the nights have become strands of boredom tied together with no purpose.
So today begins a new attempt for more intentional efforts in the evening. Beginning the day setting a small goal for each night with hope that by resting less, I will find a solve for my recent restlessness. This post is my buy-in. Perhaps it will be left unread, but its existence is my accountability coach.
We have all experienced those moments where we’ve become so frustrated, we feel the impulse to put others in their places. Impulsivity doesn’t care about foresight, so it becomes a matter of training. If we are to spend time crafting the perfect verbal retaliation, the response is no longer an impulse – it’s a knowing act of an irrational mind and/or bruised ego. Thinking that what we say will make us feel better is not as important as knowing it will surely only serve the purpose of making us look worse.
If the only person you could learn from for the next year is who you are today, what would be the first lesson? What did that person learn and what then will they teach tomorrow? Who will that person be in a year?
The Spinning Wheel
Our impatience peaks when the little spinning wheel o’ doom appears on our computer screen. How dare our computers need time to process what we commanded them to do? Perhaps that pause is something we can learn from. Maybe a self-imposed spinning wheel of o’ doom is exactly what we need to make sure the behaviors we are about to execute in response to our thoughts are indeed right actions.
A tree planted in a protected environment and deprived of environmental challenge will never develop roots strong enough to support its growth. Strong roots are a tree’s basic need, and adversity is thus essential to serving this fundamental need.
For humans, the same principle applies. However, there is a paradox when the basic need is belonging. Self-worth, developed by oneself as a response to not being fed reasons of worthiness through experience, may look like roots from the surface, but lack the strength to firmly grip the dirt.
Future roots are possible; even in isolation. It will take self-reflection, forgiveness and self-acceptance. It will be painful. But alas, struggle and conflict are key ingredients of fertile soil – proving once again that in order to grow we have to live through some fertilizer. The irony is that we are never alone on this journey – there are forests of trees in the same situation. All of which deserve strong roots, and with any luck, their roots will connect under the surface, where most of what makes life important exists.
When my list of wants is noticeably longer, it’s no mystery that my tether of self-care is taut. Sometimes it’s scary to ask why, but it’s more favorable than choking.
The Recipe for Starvation
Honor your instincts with the same intensity as you honor your excuses – and listen to them with the same intention as you do you fantasies. Do so, and be well. Do not, and be wanting. You’ve done the latter long enough, and yet, here you are – knowing better, yet not living better. Writing a recipe has never fed a soul.