Happiness and social significance

I was reading this article by Tony Robbins the other day. He says that every person has 6 basic needs, and these are what motivate us. If we are present and know ourselves, we will seek to fulfill these needs in healthy ways; if not, we might use means that get the job done, but create new problems.

“Significance” was one of the needs that he listed. It was interesting to me that he treated this need as one equal to something like “love and connection,” because in so many personal development and spiritual articles and books, the idea that we may need to feel important is treated almost as something that needs to be quelled. We understand through these texts that self-worth, value and importance are inherent, we don’t need to cultivate them because they are ever-present, yet it’s something that so many of us simply don’t feel.

We have a desperate need to feel big, valued, important, but the most useful advice we’re given is to quiet down and meditate, because we should know that we already are.

Even though that can work, it still glosses over the acknowledgment that feeling important is important.

Why is this so hard to admit?

Because searching for self-importance is demonized. We are told that we shouldn’t feed our egos, we should be small, pleasant, agreeable, and no one likes a show-off. We shouldn’t do anything for attention.

Learning that feeling important is essential to my happiness not only gave a reason for some of my behaviours, but it allowed me to let myself off the hook for them.

For the past few weeks I’ve been practising yoga every day, and I feel great. But I contemplated the possibility that I would feel different about my practice, or maybe wouldn’t have one at all, if I didn’t think that I’d gain some sort of social benefit from it. Yoga is super popular and even though I believe I genuinely love it, and even though I hardly tell anyone about it, there is a possibility that I sort of envision myself as held higher in others’ regard for doing it.

I think it’s totally fine that this factors in to why I feel motivated to practise every day. I’m getting stronger and I feel happier. But I think it’s worth considering that my practice might be serving more than one need, one of them being significance, for three reasons:

  1. What if people stop venerating yogis in popular culture? My need for significance would not be served and I would need to find a different avenue. I’d much rather do this consciously than risk engaging in rash or unhealthy behaviours.
  2. I want to be honest with myself and always evaluate the value of something independently of whatever significance I think I’m finding from it.
  3. I feel very sad to consider the possibility that I am missing out on activities that could bring me so much joy, if I were only able to open myself up to them without concern for how they would make me look to others. I want to be able to do what is good for me despite what other people think, and trust the nudges that I get without first judging them for how much recognition they will get me.

This work is so subtle, but so essential. I want to not only be open to appreciating my own intrinsic value, but that of the bazillions of opportunities in the world that have the potential to be magical.

 

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Arrive

I was doing a yoga video the other day, and the teacher instructed viewers to “arrive” on our mats. This idea has stuck with me since, even though it’s a concept that, really, we’ve all heard over and over. “Be present.” “Be in the moment.” “Your power is in the now.”

But that day, I really heard it. If you’ve decided on a course of action, it’s because you think you’ll receive some payoff from it. But if you don’t “arrive”, you block yourself off from the very thing you wanted from it in the first place.

I wasn’t going to feel the benefits of my practice if I was still fighting against the idea of doing it. If I was thinking about the dishes I still had to wash when I went back to the kitchen, or the phone call I missed while I was in the shower. Even innocent thoughts would cause me to miss out on the entire point of what I had chosen to do.

What’s the point of doing anything if you haven’t arrived?

Pretty much across the board, it feels worse to fight against what is currently happening, and it’s foolish to take yourself out of something you’ve specifically chosen to feel better.

Since that class, I’ve caught myself many times in the pursuit of my goals, my arms and legs moving, but my mind elsewhere. Simply allowing my mind to catch up with my body, to arrive, was like allowing something to click into place. It takes one moment of intention and it makes all the difference.

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Thoughts a single person might find annoying

I’ve been in a relationship with the same person while feeling a range of different ways about myself. And so, being told and shown that I am loved has made me feel a range of different things.

I have been shown love and it has bounced right off me because I didn’t feel it. I have been shown love and it has comforted me in the same kind of addictive way ice cream does, and I’ve gobbled it down hungrily instead of facing what was actually bothering me. The first situation is a bit of a tragedy, because the love is there but it isn’t being received. The second has the potential to get unhealthy by creating a giver-and-taker situation, because the taker’s soul doesn’t have the capacity to give anything in return.

I was thinking today that the really wonderful thing about having a partner is not that you get to be loved, but that you have the opportunity to love. It’s in moments of loving, of simply imagining him and feeling fuzzy for example, that I realize I’m not thinking about myself anymore, I’m thinking about him. This might happen because I’m just feeling and thinking less things about myself altogether, but I do think that being genuinely happy with who you are, as infrequent as it may be, expands your capacity for loving others. Being loved in those moments is just extra.

It’s like we’ve all been getting it wrong. I know for sure that I’ve been in a place where my primary desire was to find a great romance. I just find it interesting now that the best thing about my relationship is being able to love him.

It’s funny though, because if loving is the best part of a relationship, and loving is free and loving is legal, you could teeeeechnically do that without being in a relationship, right?

Not willing to test it out just yet though. 🙂

 

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One thing I know

What is one thing that you want SO BADLY?

Aaaaand back to scrolling absent-mindedly because that feels way better than thinking about that question, am I right? I AM you, gurl.

But seriously, what is that thing that you want?

What is the smallest possible step you could take towards it? Like so small it barely feels like a step. So small it feels like cheating to call it a step.

Plan to do that tomorrow.

& repeat.

xxx

P.S. Hi! It’s been almost two years. This blog post is that step for me.

 

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A simple guide to feeling productive

I spend a lot of time trying to simplify things for myself. It’s actually kind of complicated, but sometimes I come up with something that is truly helpful.

The happiness I am looking for lately is in action. In progress; feeling like I’m getting somewhere. Arriving at a destination quickly is tempting, but sometimes it just feels so great to be in pursuit of something.

1. Spend as much time as you can doing or thinking things that make you feel like your bigger, higher, greater self. This will help you magnetize what you want. There are a few ways to do this. You can clear your energy field by relaxing, getting a massage, or meditating. You can indulge in dreaming about your desires by watching shows that inspire you, or reading books that give you ideas. And you can take action by doing doing yoga, cleaning, paying your bills, or by doing whatever you know you need to do to feel great, to feel like you’re living like the person you want to be.

2. Prepare for the opportunities you want to have. This requires focus, action and faith that it will pay off. It also requires that some mental clutter be cleared because here you are pushing against your boundaries. Hopefully, though, this will mostly be fun.

3. Always say thank you. Having idealized “the pursuit,” it’s easy to forget that that means being okay with not having what you want, yet. Being patient. Loving what you have right now, because that means more of #1, which means more attraction of what you want.

Have a great day.

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Hi! Sadness strikes again.

It’s been a while since I’ve felt this shitty. Some sort of correlation between my writing and my emotions that I can’t quite put my finger on…

A few embarrassing social moments that my mind won’t let go of. Truthfully, though, I indulged really hardcore this time, spent the whole of yesterday crying and starving myself–because when I’m sad, I figure that eating can make me gain weight, and if that happens, I’ll get sadder. Do not do this. This is bad logic, and using it will be bad for you. Especially since being hungry tends to make me more depressed.

Played three songs on loop (Square One, How Long Will I Love You, and Swans and the Swimming–I have a history of looping this one for hours on end). Got up once to pee, and finally got up again to eat when my boyfriend said he’d take me out. Small glimmer.

Literally TWO things rocked my world, in a bad way. I was at a party my boyfriend had invited me to. 

1. An awkward conversation with one of my boyfriend’s friends. He was trying to be funny, I tried to be funny back, but it all fell flat as a pancake. He looked so uncomfortable. I thought he probably thought of me as hard to talk to, or unfunny, or something. I’m not entirely sure.

2. An awkward handshake with my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend (6-year relationship, intimidating or what?) where she introduced herself after she had been trying to get my attention. I guess I sort of realized she was waving at me, but I was also talking to someone, and I didn’t know how to split my attention. Then, after we quickly shook hands, I went back to talking to the person. My boyfriend said he saw her turn around with an “okay, I don’t really know what to do” face and leave the room. I got sad because I thought she probably saw me see her waving, and pegged me as rude for ignoring her. I also thought maybe I had cut the interaction short by going back to my original conversation after saying hi, and I imagined that she thought I was purposely trying to be bitchy and avoid her.

I want people to like me. I want to be friends with my boyfriend’s friends. I like them. I want more friends that I like, especially since most of my friends don’t live where I do.

I was looking forward to meeting his ex, because she seems cool and I want us to be friendly. She left the party shortly after our handshake, affording me no time to “redeem” myself.

I failed. His friends think I suck, and his ex thinks I’m the worst.

I created these stories, I’m aware, but they hurt, and way more than I understand why. Started catastrophizing, and spiralling. I looked at my upcoming schedule, and I wanted to do none of it. Hating everything, wanting to start fresh. Now that I think of it, in the past I have had trouble with the idea that I could have misrepresented myself in some way. I haven’t been able to stand the idea that people I really wanted to become friends with, or guys I’ve liked or dated, could think of me in a way that did not align with who I know I am at my core. Judgments. We all have to make judgments in order to make sense of our world, and I can’t blame anyone for it, so what am I doing, crying about it? Especially since I know they change as we accumulate more information?

I have to be at peace with this. I can’t control what people think. I can only control what I think, and what kind of experiences I attract. That is ALL me.

What can I do, me?

1. Focus on loving yourself more. I imagined that How Long Will I Love You was “mama universe” singing to me. I forget that the universe wants to help me, and that unconditional love exists. And FOR ME! I cried because this love made me realize how much I was abandoning myself in this moment of crisis. I was believing these judgements about me that I had MADE UP. I had forgotten that, even if I HAD done wrong here, I was loved.

2. Forgive. All it took was a reminder in some blog post or something that forgiveness is a thing. Use it on yourself, and the other.

3. Act on your highest excitement until you can go no further. Gotta take this more seriously.

4. Pray. Just ask for what you want. Ask the universe, ask those who love you. You don’t have to do it alone.

5. Be helpful. Learn, and then teach what you know. Have fun.

6. Allow. Allow what happens to happen. Desperately wanting something pushes it away. Wanting friends, wanting perfect social interactions, etc. It won’t come if you need it. Allow it to come, or not. Also, feelings are harmless. The thoughts causing them seem real and true, they always do! But they can change, you can create whatever you want. If you just breathe and allow the feelings to happen, they will subside, and newer, more peaceful thoughts will come to you. 

And maybe the most important one…

7. Love what you get. It’s really the only way to be happy.

I’m grateful for the tools I’ve been given to keep myself happy. These dips don’t last very long anymore. Allow, allow, allow.

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I do not apologize.

I got this idea from Courtney at The Rule Breaker’s Club. This is so cathartic, a highly recommended exercise.

I do not apologize for being tender.

I do not apologize for being sensitive.

I do not apologize for being afraid.

I do not apologize for being weird.

I do not apologize for being the weirdest person you’ve ever met.

I do not apologize for not liking myself.

I do not apologize for loving myself despite not being loveable.

I do not apologize for loving myself despite not being who I want to be yet.

I do not apologize for being patient towards myself.

I do not apologize for not being there yet.

I do not apologize for being daring.

I do not apologize for putting myself in difficult situations.

I do not apologize for feeling everything deeply.

I do not apologize for being human.

I do not apologize for panic attacks in the middle of a conversation, even if they make me seem like a crazy person.

I do not apologize for needing to learn lessons the hard way.

I do not apologize for trusting the wrong person with my heart.

I do not apologize for not being the strong woman of my dreams.

I do not apologize for being weak.

I do not apologize for being in transition.

I do not apologize for being different than you thought.

I do not apologize for changing.

I do not apologize for getting worse.

I do not apologize for getting better.

I do not apologize for being me, every version of me.

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