Have you ever considered why you make the decisions you make? Why do you do what you do? We often want to do something, but then we do not. We have dreams and illusions, but in the day to day “we throw away”. Why? I point to the left but I go to the right. Something fails. Let’s look at these reasons and how we can focus more on a stable course that is consistent with what you really want.
Why do you do what you do?
I propose something to you: For two days you ask people about the reason for what they have done and why they have not done it but they said they would.
I anticipate what you will see:
“I thought”, “I was excited”, “I did not feel like it”, “I was bored”, “if I did not feel guilty”, “I was overwhelmed”, “I love it”, etc.
Our favorite compass is broken.
We take our emotions/sensations and thoughts as a thrust of action, but it turns out that nobody controls what they think or what they feel.
And so we do things we do not want and stop doing things that we know are very good and would make us very happy, but for some strange reason, we let it go. I will make you a better person.
The two “I’s” that fight in your head
In the vastness of the ocean come together all kinds of seas and weather changes affect the experience of that sea is pleasant and peaceful or a terrifying afternoon of waves like “The perfect storm.”
The experience of that sea changes, but not the sea itself, nor the ocean that includes all those seas, waves and paradisiacal beaches where there are no glimpses of waves.
Time does not affect the ocean, only the experience on the surface changes.
Behind this profound and precious Buddhist metaphor hides powerful teaching on practical psychology that affects you every day.
You are an ocean and you live hooked in the waves. The waves of that ocean are emotions, sensations, appetites, cravings, impulses, thoughts, etc, that “without rhyme or reason” appear in your mind.
The cause of a huge wave can be a good storm at a certain point. Storms occur in our lives in the form of ruptures, economic problems, illness of a loved one, etc.
These storms generate effects that can come to us in the experience of good mental agitation.
“We can not control the waves but we can learn to surf”
That famous quote from the father of mindfulness, John Kabat-Zinn expresses the two “you” that is in your mind:
- The one who surfs.
- The one that identifies with the waves.
- We live 99% of the time on autopilot.
We are hooked to everything that our mind is throwing at us and that is why we respond “inadvertently” in the directions that the waves mark.
You forget who is there behind all that. Who’s behind you have dreams in your life. Who will feel proud or not of the experiences that accumulate over the years and the directions that are taken in life?
The “observing me”. The authentic you
Psychology has changed a lot in recent decades and new therapies (Third Generation Therapies), among which Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) stands out, and approaches based on Mindfulness speak of two “I’s” within the “I” observer “and the” content self “.
The “contained self” is everything that arises in automatic mode without any will. The waves of the ocean.
The “observing self” is the one that marks the paths that you do not follow afterward due to the effect of the “contained self”. He is the one who has crushed over and over again for not doing the things he wants, that has desires and values to cultivate in life. The ocean after the waves.
The “observer me” is the surfer who can (and should) take the board to surf the obstacles of our automatic habits and thoughts.
Your self-esteem and your happiness depend on your paying attention to the “authentic self”.
Living in touch with your “I observer” is the only way that your day to day aligns with your values and has meaning, that years pass through your life and in addition to gray you accumulate wisdom, self-knowledge, experiences worth remembering.
A life in coherence with yourself is one of the pillars of healthy self-esteem.
Go home finding the “I am an observer”
We go with some experience because after all, it is the only thing that really has the power to transform things.
Promise me you’re going to spend 1 minute doing this exercise. I trust you!
Choose anything that you are aware of: a sound, a smell, thoughts, a movement … Whatever. Concentrate on it for a few seconds. I invite you to observe it with as much detail as possible as if you were a curious scientist who perceives that sound or sees that object or perceives that physical sensation for the first time. Imagine that you could approach your nose metaphorically to see it in great detail.
This is how much you should do.
And then, at this moment when someone there is voluntarily moving the flashlight that means attention, it’s you. The real you, you need to loosen the noise to really see. Immerse yourself under the waves to see all the life that is in there.
It is comforting to know that you are always there and that you are instantly accessible to you whenever you want.
It is enough to be aware of what is happening and what the boss chooses at this moment.
What do you choose, here and now?
One of the traditional ways to strengthen that authentic self that is behind the waves of the mind, is the practice of meditation and mindfulness, where you train again and again your ability to observe the infinite loop of thoughts and sensations that operates 24h / day, while you explore it from a different position, simply observing, knowing and not reacting.
By meditating you train your ability not to get caught up in fights against the waves. You return to the “observing me” every time you perceive that you splash against what arises and that you suffer the waves instead of surfing them, being aware and experiencing that in reality, they are nothing.
The content of your mind that comes and goes. If you are still not clear about what it is to meditate, I invite you to read this post, and if you think you can not leave your mind blank and have already tried to meditate but can not, then I will tell you that you are being victim of 2 of the frequent myths about meditation , so read this post to stop boycotting. You can not meditate badly, it is impossible. Those thoughts are due to a bad understanding of meditation.
A second way to strengthen yourself is to start playing with your daily experience in a subtly different way. It is practical and applicable to all areas of your life.
Learn to meditate
ACT strategy so you can take charge of your life. The acceptance that there are more pleasant and less pleasant storms and times in life is fundamental.
So is the understanding that there is no wind to get you out of your way if you are aware of yourself and keep your attention on yourself, your values and this here and now, where you have the reins of your life.
It is not necessary to enter into conflict with what is being and what we do not like.
It is enough to have enough strength and contact with you to be able to withdraw your attention and follow your path in what is worthwhile.
I propose you something: When you feel that you are caught in a loop on automatic pilot, that your mind attacks you with unpleasant things or that you get caught up in some emotion, stop and ask yourself a question:
Is this thought useful? Are you telling me something interesting or what I can learn?
Yes, perfect. Pay attention to see what you can extract from that situation. It can be unpleasant, but it will help you to know yourself and make good decisions.
Frequently it is not useful, so it is necessary to implement another plan: Here the plan is reduced to the acronym “ACT”.
A = Accept your internal experience.
C = Connect and choose a meaningful address.
T = Take the reins and act.
The first thing is to accept the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that are here and now. Make room for them as they are in the experience of this moment without entering into war against them or trying to remove them.
After all, they will leave if not battles. Has any thought been present in your mind for eternity?
We can help the experience of acceptance by making slow breaths paying special attention to the exhalation and trying to lengthen it one or two seconds more than the inhalation.
With this breathing a little slower, we help our nervous system to return to its equilibrium and not become overstressed. In this way, we make it easier for our body and our mind not to attack those emotions or thoughts that we do not want to keep in touch with you.
The more tense burdens, the narrower there will be in your perspective and the harder it will be to “come back to you”.
You can practice this slow breathing and meditation with this mindfulness exercise designed to reconnect with you and loosen the tension to facilitate opening.
Practicing mindfulness to strengthen your “I observer” every time you will have less chatter because you do not stop your step to discuss with them. This commitment to yourself will bring a sense of stability, confidence, and self-esteem. The experience of acceptance is light and from this peace and commitment to your life, you are more easily there, accessible to you.