Do you at times have feelings of loneliness, boredom, and feelings of inadequacy? Do you sometimes just feel down on yourself? Everyone else seems happy or at least happier than you’re feeling. They appear more involved in life, more engaged with fun people. What if there is a truth to all of this but that it runs a bit deeper. What if this lack of connection is really a lack of connection with yourself?
The brain experiences itself as a relationship. When you stop experiencing yourself fully, you will start evaluating yourself as an object. Inevitably, this lack of fullness is judged negatively. To truly engage with that five-year-old little boy or girl inside of you, you must experience and engage with your spiritual essence. You can join with this same essence in people around you and its desire to add to the greater good. Experiencing yourself in this way can begin the excitement of a personal renaissance, learning to live authentically and engage with yourself mindfully, creatively, actively, and happily.
Live Authentically to Stop Feeling Down on Yourself
Within this authentic way of living lies the success we can all share in creative engagement. We are not typically taught to do the “same” thing differently, rather we are too often told to repeat things until we don’t have to think about them anymore. Once we “achieve this level of accomplishment” we are often afraid to make changes for fear of doing it less well.
While seeking such perfection, we get frozen by the thought of our imperfection. Initially, when learning a new task, we may follow directions. However, over time you can allow your efforts to expand and become more authentic. Allowing yourself such freedom keeps each moment new, enjoyable and produces results that others notice.
Evaluations and Possibilities
Your subconscious mind, through your many experiences, explores how you see the world, or even what you choose to see. Although it may not be easy to try something new not knowing the outcome, the process can teach you that not knowing the outcome can be preferable. It has the additional benefit of allowing you to be less self-conscious as there is no outcome that you are comparing yourself to. The evaluations of others, both good and bad, are not the focus of your attention and needn’t shape your choices.
When you do make or accept these evaluations you block the creativity of your subconscious mind. The flow of possibilities stops. Other options, other opinions become unavailable to you and that part of your mind lays dormant. Allowing for unknown outcomes leads to ongoing changes to any opinion and is particularly effective as you gain experience. Knowing that all opinions are context dependent frees your subconscious mind to explore more carefully and deeply leading to many more possibilities.
Here are a few suggestions from my podcast with Dr. Ellen Langer and from her book, “On becoming an artist”:
- The motivations of others are much more complex than they seem. We tend to simplify them in ways that serve us at the time.
- Immediate evaluations of ourselves and others tend to stick. These superficial evaluations are something we use to make ourselves happy but over time are self-defeating.
- When you were young you may have been told that you weren’t talented. You weren’t yet aware of the context of these judgements and their limited ability to assess your true abilities. These types of judgements are particularly damaging when given gradually and existing over time.
- Knowing that your behavior can be seen in many different ways can free you from the negative judgements you or others make.
- When trying to predict future outcomes it is best to know what motivated you and others in the past rather than actual behaviors.
- When making a mistake, reconsider potential outcomes and look for ways to take advantage of the “mistake”.
- Avoid simply “hoping things will get better” as may hinder creative engagements that may actually make things better.
- Many times, you can simply alter the way you see something, changing nothing else, to create the happiness that you seek. Doing this early and often frees you and others for more artistic engagement.
- We are all different universes. Leave room for alternative motivations to any behavior others make to free yourself for more successful and authentic relationships.
- You can be discriminating without being evaluative. Everyone has reasons for their behavior or they wouldn’t do it. Understanding the motivations improves your discrimination.
Listen to my podcast with Dr. Langer to learn more.