You’re letting your situation define who you are
You may be evaluating yourself based on your performance, or you may feel like the people at your work space do not value you. These thoughts have become invested in a “sense of self”. This is the ego, a mind-made “me”. This mentally constructed self feels incomplete and precarious and that’s why fearing and wanting are its predominant emotions and motivating forces.
You are not defined by the value you bring through the work you do. You are not defined by thought. Underneath the layers we’ve added over the years and seasons, there is a simpler version of all of us living within, unconcerned with status and achievement, simply looking for happiness and warmth. You are the experiencer experiencing your journey. You do not need any external validation. There is nothing missing. You are already whole.
You are always seeking
Seeking is the antithesis of happiness. This seeking arises from the ego’s compulsive preoccupation with the future, always seeking this or that to add to itself to feel more complete. Practice spotting yourself living for the next moment. Once you realize this, you have stepped out of the egoic mind pattern and this gives you the ability to give your full attention to this moment, right here, right now.
You are always worried about how big your to-do list is
Sure, massive to-do lists can be daunting, but stop yourself for a second and ask, “How can I give more attention to the doing than to the future result that I want to achieve through it?” Forget about how much you have to do and focus on the quality of the doing. When we stop reducing every task to just being a means to an end, we become present and our doing then becomes not only a great deal more effective, but infinitely more fulfilling and joyful.
You take your thoughts too seriously
When each thought absorbs your attention completely, it means you identify with the voice in your head. Thought then becomes invested with a sense of self. This is the ego, a mind-made “me” that mentally constructed self feels incomplete and precarious. That is why fearing and wanting are its predominant emotions and motivating forces.
You can’t surrender to what is
Sometimes we find ourselves in unfortunate situations. Economic crises, pandemics, unwanted drama, the list can go on and on. Yes, these can be terrible things, but we get to control how we react to them. Surrender is a purely inner phenomenon. It does not mean that on the outer level you cannot take action and change the situation. In fact, it is not the overall situation that you need to accept when you surrender, but just the tiny segment called the Now.
For example, if you were stuck in the mud somewhere, you wouldn’t say, “Okay, I resign myself to being stuck in the mud.” Resignation is not surrender. You don’t need to accept an undesirable or unpleasant life situation. Nor do you need to deceive yourself and say that there is nothing wrong with being stuck in the mud. No. You recognize fully that you want to get out of it. You then narrow your attention down to the present moment without mentally labeling it in any way. This means that there is no judgment of the Now. Therefore, there is no resistance, no emotional negativity. You accept the “isness” of this moment. Then you take action and do all that you can to get out of the mud. Such action is called positive action. It is far more effective than negative action, which arises out of anger, despair, or frustration. Until you achieve the desired result, you continue to practice surrender by refraining from labeling the Now.
You believe that joy comes from what you do
Joy does not come from what you do, it comes from how you do it. Oftentimes, when we can’t find joy, it is not the “what” that needs to change, but the “how”. When you say I enjoy doing this or that, it is really a misconception. It makes it appear that the joy comes from what you do. That is not the case. Joy does not come from what you do, it flows into what you do and thus into this world from deep within you. The misconception that joy comes from what you do is normal and also dangerous, because it creates the belief that joy is something that can be derived from something else such as an activity or a thing. We then look to the world to bring us joy or happiness, but it cannot do that. This is why people live in constant frustration. The world is not giving them what they need. Then what is the relationship between something that you do and the state of joy? You will enjoy any activity in which you are fully present. Any activity that is not just a means to an end. It is not the activity that you enjoy, but the deep sense of aliveness that flows into it. That aliveness is one with who you are. So when you enjoy what you do, you are actually experiencing the joy of being in its dynamic aspect.
You are human!
The constant thinking, the emotions, the complexity of everything, the simplicity of everything. It is all part of being human. Feeling like shit is inevitable. You don’t have to let that affect you all that much though. You can transcend your suffering. Transcending it does not mean that it goes away, it just means that you accept it for what it is; a part of being human. It is possible to be sad and at peace at the same time. Peace comes from within. It never leaves you. Sometimes it’s harder to be at peace than other times, but it’s there, always. You just have to practice finding it.
Remember, you are the master of your reality. Everything is what you make it to be 🙂