The difference between being self-absorbed and loving yourself

033b7ff0d24b5eefd4c2318b632640a4

 

Self absorbed people are the ones who are operating on fear and inner weakness.

They appear to only be thinking about themselves but it’d be more correct to say they’re thinking about everything else in relation to their personal worth.  Being self-absorbed is a bit of a misnomer given that they are completely outside-absorbed; relying on everything outside of them to make them feel good about themselves.

This is why they use others, squander their money, act out for attention and lie to people including themselves.  It’s because they’re trying so hard to feel important, in control, loved, and worthy by attempting to mold the world to benefit them; and of course that ultimately never works.

They may come off as ultra confident and in control, but once something that they rely on fails to support their worth as a person, they begin to break down.  They’re reliant on manipulating everything on the outside and are too afraid to look inside.  They find they are unable to cope and have great difficulty finding value within themselves or having any idea of who they really are.

They are unstable, whether or not they’re aware of it.  Their facade and fortress are made up of things completely out of their control, and huddled behind those walls is someone who is deathly afraid of the truth.  They may appear to be happy, but truly happy people don’t carelessly hurt themselves or others.

On the other hand, people who have self love are operating on inner strength and genuine love and respect for themselves.

They are inner-absorbed in that they are fully aware and focused on what is going on inside of them and generating their own feelings of self-worth and love all on their own.  They ultimately rely on nothing external to keep them going, thus they will not feel the desperate urge to hoard and manipulate people and things to keep themselves afloat.

They understand that by putting effort into working on their own inner conflicts and by being responsible for their actions and perspectives on life — despite what may be going on around them– they become that much more adept and unburdened when actually dealing with the external things.  Because they are so self-fueled they do not buy into the manipulations of drama, societal pressures, or other people’s definition of success.

It’s not that they don’t enjoy and aspire towards wealth, love, and the finer things in life; it’s just that they are able to fully enjoy life with or without these things.  That is the powerful thing within them — that they can fuel their own flame, thus even in cold or dark times they will be able to survive and eventually rebuild themselves.

People who are have self love are the ones doing things because it makes their life fun, productive, and worth living; not waiting for so-called signs of success to show up first before they can enjoy living.  They are truly independent, regardless of their current living situation or bank account.  They are ultimately the ones who are able to give the most to others and the world because they are their own powerhouse and aren’t trying so hard to take from everyone else.

I present these not as black and white, but shades of grey that we all have inside of us.  It’s never about being perfect.  It’s all about simply being aware of why we do what we do and recognizing the power to choose which side of the spectrum we wish to come from.

One of the biggest blocks in my personal self improvement has been getting around the idea that I am being self-absorbed by focusing on my own life before anyone elses; and people I’ve coached have also expressed the same worry.  I know it can feel counterproductive to work on personal thoughts when you have concerns about other people or situations, but everything outside is ultimately interpreted and experienced via who you really are on the inside.

The benefits of cultivating such inner love are so influential and productive that it cannot be seen as just a pretty-sounding ideal.

It is the epitome of true strength and personal independence.

You’re fully upgradable

IMG_20140328_171407

I can’t forget this:

Sometimes I’ll feel like I completely get it.

know what it is that I need to do…and I feel so determined and ready….

…But then before I know it, I find myself slipping back into old patterns, procrastinating, doing the complete opposite of all I was going to do.

What I’ve personally discovered is that there’s a sizeable difference between knowing something and truly internalizing something.  There’s a reason why forcing myself to take action can so easily fizzle out– it’s because my mind needs to catch up and become comfortable with the new external actions and develop new neurological pathways for it.

I often find myself being blindsided by a great epiphany during which I suddenly realize all the changes I need to make to get myself going to where I want.  I write it down, I get lost in introspection about it, I fortify myself with willpower…

And then my friend is inviting me out for drinks or someone says something uninspiring, or I simply wake up the next morning, and I find myself back in my old mindset.

So what happened?  Was it all disillusion?  Am I not strong enough for this?  Am I not worthy of my goals?

What happened was a shift in perspective (powerful stuff) and just experiencing one is groundbreaking enough.

It’s like trying out a demo for a new computer program and getting a taste and feel of a new interface and capabilities.

The thing is that I now need to sit with it for a bit.  Let it churn in the back of my mind throughout the day.

I usually have to think about something for a good long while before I happen to truly feel it inside one day — the readiness of being finally done with the way things are and that I’m ready to make true steps towards change.

Then I’ll go through a jagged line-graph of executing and then falling back a little, then taking major action, then resting a bit, and endless fluctuation until the new way of life has fully taken hold.

It’s like getting an enormous new powerful software that can take weeks, months, or years to fully install.

But as it slowly does, I can start to make use of what new functions it gives me.

So don’t see it as a failure if you’re not taking full control yet.

The biggest thing is that you understand it and you really really want it.

Just because things “aren’t happening” yet doesn’t mean they’re never going to, or that you’re not cut out for it.

If you’re thinking about it on a daily basis it’s already working it’s way into your system.

How quickly it gets in there is up to you, but don’t get dismayed if you’re not seeing you life metamorph yet.

It takes time to be fully ready to quit something that’s making you unhappy, get something really started, or make big changes with things you previously thought were ingrained in you.

What matters is knowing that you can be defragmented, reprogrammed, and can create amazing things with said new programming.  All powerful changes start within.

You’re fully upgradable.

Care about normal people

Untitled-2.jpg_effected

I’ve always been really into people.

Not so much in a people-person way, but in a curious way.

It’s talked about how we have more people on the planet than ever before, and yet there are so many people who often feel alone.  Somehow that concerns me the most– that right now there’s a grown person who’s feeling like no one relates or cares.  Or they feel like there’s no excuse for them to feel so confused and conflicted, and maybe something’s wrong with them.

It seems like there’s always something going on to help babies, children, animals, homeless, etc….  But what about everyone else? What about the people who are considered too normal and healthy to need help?  They are the people who are supposed to be impacting, guiding, and helping those in need; but who’s caring about them?

They’re being told that they’re supposed to be happy and successful in every way because they have no excuse.  But they do — they’re fully alive.  They have jobs, significant others, families, pressures from everything in society.  They have too much to think about, choose from, measure themselves against.

We make sure we are properly schooled, healthy, fully-functioning…but then what?

If you are reading this, you know what I mean.  When was the last time someone asked, with the care of a true friend and concern of a doctor, how you were feeling about life?  Someone who didn’t try to change you but instead help you to understand yourself and just be you?

What I see is that every living being just wants to be loved and accepted for exactly what they are.  They may not show it and it often seems like they’re striving for the exact opposite, but it all stems from the same place.

Care about the people around you.

They’re the ones who have the power to make big changes for themselves, you, those in need, and the world.

*Listen to them without criticism or advice and interjection.  Sometimes they just need to think aloud and express themselves with another human being.  

*Try to look past their (often obnoxious/annoying) exterior actions and see where they’re coming from beneath it.  It’s never about you, it’s always about how they’re feeling about themselves.  

*Allow them to make mistakes, feel shitty about themselves, or cry.  It’s what we do in order to be able to grow.

*We all judge each other.  What we can do differently is to leave our judgments wide open for change and understanding.  See how we have often times acted in a similar way, and why.

*Many people won’t seem to like or appreciate your caring, or even want it at all.  That’s completely fine, respect that.

*We’re all the same at the core.  We just express things differently from each other because we live unique lives — that’s the fun part.

Everything I write here is foremost for myself to be reminded of all of this, because it is so easily lost in the hectic grind of life.

It reminds me to care for myself because when I’m at my best I can be there fully for the world.

When I’m at my best I love being inquisitive, asking dorky questions about people’s lives, hearing them talk about the things that they care about, and of course  anything they consider weird about themselves. Formalities scare me a little bit.

It’s the little things that are so intriguing: the silliness, the quirks, the things we consider embarrassing or weak about ourselves, and the things we are secretly proud about.  This is what makes people people.

 

Question Everything

287ebfd90fd3fb065851e98801e54315

I have a snippet of memory as a 5 year old.

The classroom is dark and empty while yelps of joy from outside recess provide a sunny contrast.  Slits of light make little glowing lines across the walls, but I am staring at a single vertical illuminated crack because I am standing with my face against the classroom backdoor.

What did I do to deserve it this time?  I don’t exactly remember and I have a hunch that back then I wasn’t sure.  At this particular private school it could’ve been anything from daydreaming to writing on the wrong piece of paper.  All I remember is not feeling guilty or angry, more so just afraid and confused.

Halfway through recess someone enters briefly.  It’s another kid, one of the good ones I guess, sent to check on me to make sure I was still standing in the corner.  Here I was.  The kid quickly leaves to get back to the fun while he still could.

What the hell DID I do?

I don’t remember.  I remember wishing that Care Bears would come and rescue me from the classroom.  Show up and cuddle me and make me feel better. I was probably wondering if this was bad enough to tell my parents.  I don’t know what I did.

I know a year later I was spanked in front of the class because I didn’t answer what my favorite Christmas gift was because I was torn between two things and didn’t want to lie.

I wasn’t a rebellious troublemaker.  Ok maybe I was a little spacey and I wasn’t the sharpest kid ever, but I tried to be good. Yet here I was, a 5 year old little girl standing alone in a dark corner during recess.

It still makes me a little angry but I’m glad it happened because it confused me.  I didn’t see what was so punishable about such trivial things.  While I was being told I was wrong, I saw reasons why I may have been right.

As I got older it got harder to think that way.  I saw how nicer it was to just make sure I was fitting in and doing the right things and make people like me.

What will society think?  What will family think?  What will professors think?  How will you make money, find a proper spouse, raise perfect children, be an upstanding citizen, if you can’t pass your math class?

I yearned for someone who would ask me what I thought about me, my life, what I really wanted to do.  Someone who wouldn’t judge me, just help me understand how to best be honest to myself in the frame of this life.  I was the moody teenage girl with pink hair who spend a lot of time alone in her room.  I’d like to think I was trying to figure it out for myself whilst procrastinating on everything else.

Proper education is great, but having a balance of being educated about oneself is even greater.  True joy, satisfaction and love does not come from facts and figures.  I passionately believe that many many deep-seated problems in society today would be drastically lessened if people were to put as much emphasis on discovering who they really were and how they really work as they do on education and success.

It’s so important to question everything — about self, about life, beliefs about people.  So many things were hammered into us throughout youth that we’ve lost the ability to separate that conditioning from our true feelings.

* Why do we really think something is so important?
* Why does it matter what that person thinks?
* Why are we so bothered by things that don’t directly involve us?
* Are we really acting in a loving way towards those we love?
* Why do we let our opinions of our own body cause us so much pain?
* Why are we depending on someone else’s behavior to make us happy?
*Will this even matter a year from now?

* Would we still buy that expensive thing if no one else would ever know we had it?

Some things do bring us true joy, but so many things are fleeting, unnecessary, and end up bringing more stress.

It’s time to undo the part of the education that doesn’t work for us and choose what we want to think for ourselves.

I will no longer stand alone in a dark corner, physically or mentally, if I don’t want to.  No one is forcing me.  I’m choosing for myself, doing it my way.

Finding the source of drama

44908891589f995f921638bb2f1f604e

Life is more than just what happens to us.

If we pay attention to the details and our choices — no matter how big or small — we’ll see how it comes together, how we can made little differences in the way we feel and live it just by making a few adjustments.

Some people notice this early on in life and have learned how to best work with themselves, others don’t realize it until later on, and some people never even know such a view is possible.

A lot about making life count is by simply noticing it’s there and where it’s really happening.

It’s not so much about what’s happening to and around us, and rather than what is being processed inside that really matters.

Sometimes it feels simply like existing.  But that can be remedied.

Paying attention to our interpretation skills — the way we are able to make meaning of the world around us– is how we can tune in and realize exactly how and why we are experiencing life the way we are.

It’s difficult to stop blaming everything around us because we’ve been trained to expect it to affect us.  Our current culture celebrates drama in all media forms.  We’re taught that it’s normal to be pissed off at an event or person and to broadcast it socially and get attention as a reward.  TV shows often rely on weaving elaborate tales of human conflict and woe to keep us interested in what’ll happen next.

We all know of someone who tends to seek and create drama in their life just to keep things interesting and have something to talk about.

As a teenager my boyfriend and I would break up and get back together so many times without even questioning it that re-reading my journal from that time made me want to beat myself over the head with it.  Back then I guess I figured that such constant drama was normal and even exciting (isn’t that why they sing songs about it and base shows around it?), and thus I didn’t even care to look deeper to recognize my destructive patterns.  Crying and bitching about it was way more fun.  And easy.

Even now as I fancy myself to be way past all that, I still notice little ways in which I fight urges to give-in to building a dramatic situation out of something that just needs to be looked at closer.  Only upon very close inspection do I finally see that the drama is really just with myself and there’s always an issue or insecurity within me, and ultimately it really is the only thing in the situation that is causing me such stress.

But it’s always the first step.  Just sitting and noticing.  Then looking closer.  And closer.

Where is the real drama?  Is it really taking place around us, or is it what’s going on inside our head?

What if excess drama was frowned upon in society?  What if every time we go on a rant about how awful the steak at Swanky’s was, instead of amused and head-nodding comments we were met with rolling eyes and clicking tongues annoyed with our utter preoccupation with such a thing.

Are we tempted towards drama because of a real problem, or because it’s a quick emotional charge, an attempt at getting attention, or just taking the easy way out?

What I learned from a Japanese hotel room

IMG_5659

A few months ago I went to Japan.

While some of my favorite memories consist of a gorgeous garden, riding a Ferris wheel over the Yokohama harbor, and eating horse sashimi; I also learned something about myself that shaped the direction of my habits over the following months.

We arrived at our hotel in the middle of the night, and the hotel lobby was small yet classy enough and appeared to cater towards Japanese businessmen and tourists alike.

When we got to our room though, I was somewhat surprised.

It was tiny.

Pictures of Heiwa Plaza Hotel - Hotel Photos

This is where we’d be staying for a week?

Unlike my thoroughly modern first taste of Japan over a decade ago, this wasn’t the Hyatt.  It reminded me of a ship cabin. The closet-sized bathroom was as compact as one could get, and the sink and bathtub shared a faucet. We squeezed to walk between the bed and the walls, and my boyfriend had to initially push the bed away from the desk to sit down and do comfortable work. The closet was a narrow space between the wall and the back of the bathroom. Outside the window was the gray brick of the building across the street.

During the days that followed I surprised myself by my growing fondness for the little room. After being over-stimulated by the mild culture shock of being in a completely new world, the utter utilitarian simplicity of the room was a comforting capsule to return to.

I had been reduced to a child again — spitting out smatterings of disjointed Japanese, mentally flagellating myself for not being more dedicated to my classes back in elementary school.  I clumsily counted out my yen and got lost wandering around the city alone for hours while trying to find Chinatown.

But at the end of the day I would revel in the comfort of being surrounded by all I ever really wanted — a hot shower, fresh bottom (bidet toilet!), clean bed, and cheap but decent rice balls and drinks in the fridge. I loved and appreciated the little water-heating cup that allowed me to make tea in the morning. I enjoyed the Japanese-style robes and the bathroom slippers and how the long and narrow closet let me hang up my sink-washed socks and underwear to dry. My boyfriend and I worked a few feet apart, as opposed to separate rooms, and with no TV or even so much as wall art as a distraction I found my mind shockingly clear for the first time.

I was content and happy and focused.  I fantasized about living out of my suitcase. It felt so freeing to be happy with the comfort of simplicity and convenience.

It was the Occam’s Razor of epiphanies. A line from the Tetrapharmakos stuck out in my brain, “What’s good is easy to get”, and all else just clutters our minds and lives and subconsciously adds stress.

If I lived in such a space, I would spend less time lounging around and more time going out into the world. Going on more walks because I wouldn’t have a patio to semi-fulfill my need for fresh air and nature. Meeting more people and doing more things because there’s nothing at home to idle away the day with.   I’d also be reading more, sleeping more, saving more by buying just enough instead of too much random crap.

Not long after Japan, we happened to take a separate trip to stay at Disney World in an upgraded “concierge” Disney Resort hotel, where upon we had a beautifully detailed room with french doors on the balcony and complimentary meals in the dining room. While the entire experience was lovely the enjoyment of it all seemed too forced, as if I were pressured to have a good time, and I came no where to the same feeling of blissful freedom of that tiny Japan hotel room.

Perhaps I never felt as peacefully content anywhere because my surroundings have been setting a standard for me.   A simplistic living space is never just another construct of society demanding false perfection and attainment.

It was this experience that made me realize that although I thought I had simplified during the past few years of moving around it wasn’t nearly enough, and as I have begun to make progress of cleaning up my lifestyle I have felt a noticeable difference in the way I feel.

My dream is to have exactly what I love and need to live comfortably and happily, and nothing more. Not exactly going minimalist, but minimizing. Being aware of what I choose to keep around me in life and how it affects everything.

IMG_5659

Sankei-en Garden

Versus

Minimizing vs Minimalisim
Practice vs Perusal
Contentment vs Control

c9f44a47d20b2881eeaced492fc73bc6

“It simply means the capacity to learn, the availability to learn, the receptivity to learn.  Hence the word disciple.  Disciple means one who is ready to drop his old prejudices, to put his mind aside, and look into the matter without any prejudice, without any a priori conception.” 
–Osho, on discipline

In the beginning it is imperative to simplify. It’s not about minimalism, but minimizing. I do not have to live in a cave and renounce all worldly comforts in order to reach a mental state in which I feel true happiness and peace. This crazy modern life is not inherently bad, it is the thoughts that I choose to have which contain the potential for unhappiness. The only thing I have control over is the way I live my life within this world. So before pointing my finger at all the horrible things out there, I point within.

Minimizing happens both outside and inside. I’ve had to experience firsthand to understand that no matter what I buy or where I go, I am still the same person. Thinking that something external will change how I feel about life is a facade and a bandaid over a wound that will remain wet and unhealed until properly attended to. Having and relying on too many physical things adds stress visually and mentally and breeds false dependence.

That being said, there are many things in life that do provide much comfort and happiness and the trick is to know the difference between these things and the objects I think will provide joy but really do not. This is a major project at the moment.

And of course minimizing inside is the even bigger and more important project that will last my lifetime. This is the whole point of my philosophy. The mind indulges in crazy stories that results in a chaotic and confused life. Without maintenance and proper care, I begin to become a mental hoarder. Just as it is important to keep physical surroundings under control, my mind needs to be sorted through and cleaned up in order for it to function well. This is the secret to true peace and happiness.

Daily devotion is required. Just as the religious study their books, attend church and have visual reminders of their faith; daily practice is essential for any mindset appliance. It is parallel to physical training for a triathlon or working towards a professional skill — I cannot just expect to “get it” by reading some books and then waiting for my life to change.

If something is bothering me I stop and take a good long look at what it is inside that is triggering being upset. I am tough on myself to not blame others or the outside for my misery, but I am gentle when I do have emotional moments. All I require is that I take responsibility for how I feel and work on taking steps for improvement. I don’t rush myself, I don’t want perfection — just awareness and growth.

Just as I want to look presentable before I go out into the world, I want to be presentable mentally and emotionally. A half hour of mental cleansing first thing the in the morning does wonders for me, as does adequate time alone.

I keep physical and computerized notebooks as bibles to jot down ideas, things I read, quotes I find, pictures I like, and records of thoughts to keep me focused and motivated. Staying openminded to new ideas and philosophies are also a big part of my life and I highlight and tab books that I find particularly insightful.

Loosening up and getting back to what I understood before I understood much else. Basically not being so anal about everything. It may seem opposite of the mindfulness discussed above but it compliments it. I’m not out to control the people and events of my life, rather only the way that I perceive and react to them.

When things aren’t supposed to be a particular way, the world gets more fun and easy going. People who truly get it internally are not serious and uptight, they are easy going and fun to be around because they’re not so preoccupied with trying so hard to find external joy. It’s always right in front of me.

As a child I would come home on Friday and feel like I had two entire days of adventure and freedom ahead of me. I wouldn’t see it as fleeting time, I would see it as so much time to seize and enjoy and play. I would put away all the stresses of school and get back into my own head and my own little projects and flit from one thing to another guided by joy. I didn’t wake up and say “I should ride my bike today for some cardio. Then it should be social with my sisters after, and then maybe plan having lunch”. I sprang out of bed and naturally did what felt most fun and joyful to me. And often times it involved me learning and growing at the same time. I doubt many people look back on moments of true enjoyment with regret.

I am me and you are you and it’s ok. The basic thing I knew when I was little but sometimes find difficult now. Why do adults become so cynical and judgmental? Is it because I am taught that the world is a bad place and thus I think I must become hard and serious to face it? Why can’t I just face the basics that I knew as a kid — we are all different and that’s ok; some things are good for the world, others are bad, and I just need to be a good person and carry on with life. I figure it’s fine to discuss good and bad points about people and the reasons behind it, but then letting it go after. It’s not about being naive, it’s about not letting it rule my life.

My current formula for life:

Amount of true joy + Amount of good done towards self and others = Success

I believe those two components are they only things that will matter to me in the end…the biggest two that I will want to look back on and feel like I did and lived as full and good as I could. The only thing I can take to the grave — the feeling of peace and happiness.