It Ain’t Easy

There was a person who told me the only thing that stops me in life is me. I was told that my complications are only illusions that are exaggerated by my fears and my connection to old concerns and biases.
“But it’s okay,” they said.
“You can come out now.”

I was told the hardest thing for us to do is to stay out of our own way—and rest assured (as it was suggested to me) it’s only us that stand in our way.  Anything else is only a need to adjust our approach, our actions, behaviors, or the plans we have, which I get it. This is fine to say but still, in the thick of disappointments, it is hard to see the clearing or the road ahead.

It is clear that not everything goes according to plan. It is equally (if not abundantly) clear that there are the antagonists of the world. There are the critics and those who’ve personally taken affront to people who look to advance or improve. It is true that there are conflicts of interest. There are clashes between us. There are personal differences. And put simply, there are people in this world who do not play well in the sandbox. This is part of home life and work life too. This is unavoidable but that does not mean this has to be detrimental to us.

There are people who believe they are in a win or lose battle. There are the victims. There are those who only notice their opposition and challenges. There are people whose understanding is at a different level. They understand that they will win some and lose some. Maybe there are some who are less threatened than the victim; however, their vision is still blurred by insecurity and imposter-like concerns and that lead them to worry about their position in life.

The worst place to be is here:
Stuck in your head. You can’t think clearly. Your mind is trapped in the sludge of resentful thoughts—you find yourself rehearsing what you’ll say next and who you’ll say it to. Your thoughts are in constant defense mode. there is no way to unwind or relax.

You find yourself relitigating the past—you’re rehearsing old conversations that happened before, and to change their outcome, you find yourself speaking out loud—and you’re literally performing what you wished you said. Next, we find ourselves back in the past. We are reliving old arguments and re-feeling old sentiments to create the chemical phenomena of emotion. We think along the lines of revenge or getting back what was taken from us; as if words could create such a theft.

This is all in the mind. This is all the smoke and mirrors of unresolved tensions. This is what challenges our core beliefs about us and the people in our life. Therefore, this is situational but situations have their way of compiling—and one after another, we can find ourselves overwhelmed by resentments. Our tensions that grow, like weeds, and eventually this suffocates our potential. Eventually, we become the victims of our own thinking.

There is a very basic and helpful truth:
people who feel better are able to work better.
So what does this say about people who do not feel good about themselves? What does this mean for the people whose struggle is a bit deeper than surface level challenges?

This is why I was told the only thing that stands in the way of me is me. These were the quandaries within my head. Who likes me? Who is against me? Who is looking to stop me from my dreams? Who wants to hurt me? Who is looking to expose me? Who is looking to laugh at my expense? Who will keep me down just so they can rise above me. I say this all because I had given most of my life to this way of thinking. This took a lot of work to improve from where I was, which is why I share this with you and hope this is helpful.

I saw a word posted on social media last night. The word is atelophobia. I have heard of this before. I compare this with other disorders such as imposter syndrome or Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria or RSD. Atelophobia is an excessive fear of imperfection; constant worrying, fear, low self-esteem, pessimistic views, sensitivity to criticism, always waiting for the bad news or living with the feeling of impending doom, high anxiety, unrealistic standards, and ultimately, always feeling defeated, dispirited, discouraged and disheartened.

Meanwhile, I have news about this type of thinking; albeit intense, there is nothing abnormal about this. There is nothing more than human nature which says, “Hey, I get it.” Life hurts. But man, when you’re in it; this is a really lonesome place to be.

You and I have had a past which might have been unfortunate and cruel—maybe this is attributed to our PTSD moments of bullying. Maybe this is due to our past dealings with body shaming or exposure or feelings of humiliation, or, maybe this is due to the traumas of our life, of losing people, of the pains from our past, or maybe this is connected to our list of insecurities, which might be why we are so hard on ourselves. (Because we judge us.) Maybe this is why we have a hard time looking at the light at the end of the tunnel because we are afraid that the light might burn out when we reach it—and then what? What happens then?
Maybe we don’t share anything of ourselves because what happens if we share what we have and find out that it’s not worth anything?

I used to write books of poetry and I would never share them with anyone because to me, they were amazing. What would happen if I shared them with someone and they put this down?
What would I have then?
And I use this as an analogy that goes beyond my thoughts with pen and paper.

There are billions of people in this world and yet, we often find ourselves tangled with the people who serve us the least instead of the most. And why? What is this fascination with failure or the supposed appearance of failure?
Why are we so caught up in appearance?

Well, it would be easy to say, “Just don’t think this way.”
But if it were that easy, then nobody would ever be insecure, depressed or anxious. So, then what do we do?

  • Replace thought with action. Find a routine that allows for a transfer of energy (By the way, as I type this, my fingers are stabbing at the keys like the sound of a machine gun because this is all true to me.)
  • Look for beneficial ways to find positive reinforcement.
  • Learn ways to create a better sense of positive detachment.
  • Learn about personal mindfulness.
  • Learn ways to improve cognitive behavioral skills.
  • Look for resources and create a good circle of influence that is made of people who are able to assist with the appropriate level of support.
  • Keep your network close.
  • Always look for the appropriate levels of care. Although everyone has an opinion, not everyone is a professional.

Here we are, about to embark on another day in the life. There is no way to it but through it—and although there are challenges, I know that there is always a way to improve. It’s not always easy to see it this way but this doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Trust me, a little help goes a long way.

2 thoughts on “It Ain’t Easy

  1. I find I have no control over what rises in the conditioned stream of thought. It chatters on and on. What I did find is that I do well when remembering thoughts are not real, do not indicate what’s real, and will always be metaphor. I hope someday you share your poetry. People are always going to have an opinion, and five minutes later have forgotten it. But those who like your work will benifit from it. Thanks for this interesting sharing.

    • Thank you and I agree. I’ve put out 5 books during the pandemic shutdown. I’ve learned (similar to you) that thoughts are only thoughts

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