Do You Judge Yourself To Be Better?

As I observe life I’ve come to realize that many of us take great pleasure in not only thinking we are better than others, but by pointing out this fact. Nowhere has this been more prevalent than in my attempts at online dating. Anyone who knows me, knows I can talk to a brick wall. This is how I approached my online dating life. If someone chatted with me, nine times out of ten I would chat back. I thought I would get the same in return.

I learned quickly, that was definitely not the case. I was often ignored. There were numerous times I was greeted with a curt, “not interested” which I never understood. Not interested? Not interested in what? A friendly greeting? In one of my final forays before deleting all of my accounts, I asked the uninterested party, why they said, “not interested” when nothing but a simple hello was offered. Their response, “look at you, and then look at me, be realistic, bro.” Of course my ego shot straight to the forefront and defended my wounded pride. I am not proud of everything I said. And, ironically, I was more offended by this person than I was by the person that randomly messaged me to say, “you’re too fat and old to be on here, you’re gross go away.” Perhaps that one was easier to stomach because I had not approached them first. Perhaps it was because my ire had been spiked by numerous other slights that had been building up. No matter the reasoning I was angry.

Now, often in these situations I will linger on the cruel remarks and play them over and over again in my head. My first response was to be angry at the arrogance and shallowness of the affronting party. Then, my ego started to buy into the lies. Over and over in my head I kept saying, “you are a worthless sack of shit, why would you even say hello to a guy like that? Look at him and look at you! What were you thinking?” This went round and round for a few days until finally, I stopped the madness.  My first realization was that I was diminished by my own thoughts, but he was equally diminished by his. 

What I finally settled on was a simple question, Why have we allowed ourselves to create an ego based self that thrives on being better than others? I will admit, I am guilty of this. I in no way claim to be perfect.  I often feel I’m better than someone based on intellect, looks, or personality.  I don’t voice that belief, but I often catch myself enthralled by these thoughts.  Perhaps I have so many run-ins with overinflated egos thanks to Karmic vengeance.  But, I gives me great pause and the opportunity to reflect on our need to not only be better than someone, but to prove it and rub it in their face.  

Now that this realization has punched me hard in the gut I will be far more mindful of my own ego’s tendency to harshly judge others as being less than me.  No one is less than any other.  The moment you think you are better than someone else is the moment you are weakened by ego.  The moment you allow someone to make you feel less adequate is the moment your inadequacy becomes reality.

The Devine gave us each the gift of love.  Therefore no one can take that away from us. We are all worthy of the Devine’s love and have no right to diminish that in others or ourselves.  We can start by being mindful and standing up to our egos.  Don’t allow yourself to alter someone else’s self-image to improve your own.

Make this your new affirmation: “I am powerful and worthy of Devine love.”  Go on, give it a try.

Namasté
Matthew

Feel The Fear

We are often taught that fear is for cowards.  For so long I believed, when I felt that growing pit of anxiety in my gut, that I was incapable of being courageous.  Fear was my greatest nemesis.  I recognize that fear often stems from the unknown.  A favorite quote of mine which happens to be from a Disney song has always been, “We don’t like what we don’t understand; in fact it scares us.”  Fear can stop us dead in our tracks.

Don’t get me wrong, there are healthy amounts of fear.  The prickle on the back of our necks when someone approaches in a menacing manner.  The fear of physical or emotional harm that allows us to remain alert. Let’s also not forget our love affair with being scared.  Horror films rake in millions of dollars each year.  We will watch Saw 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10… (I know there aren’t this many but you get the idea).  Freddie and Jason still haunt my nightmares and I’ve never even seen one of their movies.  We have a love/hate relationship with fear.

Now, I ask you to contemplate this question.  Can you sit with your fear?  I don’t mean your fear that comes from the movies you watch or the books you read, I mean the fear that cripples you.  The fear of public speaking.  The fear of heights.  The fear of being alone.  The fear of losing your financial stability.  The fear of failure.  The fear of success.  The fear of death.  Step one is to pinpoint your fear.  What are you most afraid of?  Once you figure that out, stop and take a deep breath.  What feelings are stirring inside of yourself?  Do you have the urge to think of any topic other than your fear?  Are you in flight or fight mode without even thinking about it?  Use your meditation techniques to bring awareness to these feelings.  Don’t shy away from them.  Don’t allow judgement to overtake you.

Often what gives fear its power is the judgements we place on it.  Your mind tells you that you are weak because you have this feeling.  Emotions, like fear, are neither good nor bad; positive nor negative.  Emotions just are.  So take a moment to sit with the fear and anxiety you are beginning to feel.  If it begins to overwhelm you stop and focus on your breathing.  When you feel stronger begin to let your mind fall back into the awareness of your emotions again.

Now, it’s time to delve a little deeper.  What is the root of your particular fear?  Abandonment?  Poor relationships?  Absent father or mother?  The loss of loved ones?  Be honest with yourself.  You cannot glean the lesson if you are not willing to be honest with yourself.  This may take several meditation sittings.  You may never completely lose your fear. But discovering the root causes of your fear and your ability to sit with it without judgement will take you a long way in dealing with the fear (or any emotions for that matter) that keeps your from growing mindfully and spiritually.

Fear can be debilitating.  It can also be the key that unlocks your greatest potential.  If you learn to embrace your fear and move beyond it you have the power to accomplish greatness.  Make a daily or weekly appointment with your fear (or again any emotion you’d like to “conquer”) and truly take the time to sit with it.  Get to know it, embrace it as an old friend.  The fastest way to abolish fear is to get to know it intimately.  Years ago my mother bought me a book that still sticks with me, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.”  I don’t actually remember much about the book itself but the title and what it means has never been lost on me.  Embrace your fear and move beyond.

Namasté
Matthew