30 Mar Let Go of Illusions to Become Happier in Life
This week I’m actually on holiday, but I didn’t want to miss a blog post. Due to the wonders of technology and my fabulous digital marketing manager Tamara I know my content can be prescheduled and published when I want it, but that of course still means I actually have to WRITE the posts ahead of time.
I’ve always been a last minute kind of girl – you know, staying up to 3am the night before the essay deadline after weeks of procrastination, but somehow pulling it off. I’m just the same these days, and I like to write about what’s current for me and relevant at that moment in time which means I have lots of resistance to writing ahead.
These last two weeks have also been crazy for the whole family. All five of us from the eldest (me) at 47, to the youngest at 9 have had a lot of deadlines, tests, commitments, demands and different places to be. It’s felt like a logistical jigsaw puzzle and sanity test.
I’ve been following through with my desire to have the family, and me, taking top priority which has helped massively in solving the puzzle and keeping me with a sense of humour and perspective, but also has meant some things, like the blog, potentially slip from ‘will get done before the holiday’, to ‘will get done if there’s still time after x,y and z’.
So, I’ve found a compromise.
Instead of creating all new original content for this post, and the next, I’d like to share with you some of the writing of one of the people I use to keep me grounded – one of the few bloggers I follow and make sure I take the time to read, because I’ve learned so much from his journey. Fortunately for me, his content is uncopyrighted and he’s very happy for it to be shared, so consider it to be like a guest post, he just doesn’t know he’s done it.
So this week I’m delighted to share a post from the remarkable Leo Babauta of Zenhabits:
The Girl Who Saw Through the Illusions
By Leo Babauta
The girl was at work when one of her coworkers said something demeaning about her work, and she immediately got upset, felt defensive, and thought all day about how the coworker was wrong and how she could prove it to him.
At home, her boyfriend left his dirty dishes in the sink and the trash was overflowing and she felt irritated by his lack of consideration. She thought about how wrong he was, and why couldn’t he just do these little things to be more considerate?
As she was stewing in her anger over these two people who had wronged her … she wondered what was going on. Why did she have to be so frustrated, angry, irritated, by these little comments and actions?
The next day, she went to work, and noticed other people also frustrated and stressed out and angry at different times in the day. She saw it in the faces of strangers on the street, then in the complaints of her friends when they went out for a bite to eat after work.
What was going on?
Then she began to see something strange.
What she saw was this: each person had a treasure they were protecting. A beautiful gem that no one else could see, but that they felt was really valuable and that needed guarding. An Inner Gem.
When one person would interact with the other, even if the actions or conversations had nothing to do with the Inner Gem … each person would worry that the other was trying to attack their Inner Gem. Everything became about guarding the gem, protecting it from attack, making sure it was safe.
The girl realized that the gems didn’t really exist. She realized that we just imagine them to be real, and don’t realize we’re doing it.
She realized that it’s all an illusion.
And it’s making us unhappy.
So that day, she stopped trying to protect an imaginary gem. She stopped trying to be right, to be seen as good and competent and smart and perfect, to see herself as a good person at all times. She stopped thinking that other people’s words and actions had anything to do with what she imagined herself to be. She stopped trying to protect her position and self-image.
And, gently letting go of these illusions, she became happier. She would smile when someone else would start protecting their imaginary gem, and realize that their frustration or rudeness had nothing to do with her, but everything to do with the gem they were protecting. She would go about her day, enjoying herself, and trying to make the world a better place.