I've been struggling a lot lately with self confidence, and pretending, and being radically honest with myself…
Lets start with the radical honesty. It's challenging to be honest to yourself—completely, 100%, no holds-barred honest. Our egos get in the way, and try to convince us of things that just completely aren't true. We make up stories to justify the way things are—stories that are often untrue, and only there to help make us feel better about the deeper aspect of what is really happening.
We listen to the stories, and believe them because we WANT to believe them—they're better than hearing what's true—easier to handle and they justify YOU. They make you think YOU'RE right, and that you are better than the other… The stories we create help us believe we are unique, and individual. Now, you may not think this sounds like anything you do… but it can be so subtle that we aren't even aware of it, and don't notice that it's happening.
Before you shrug off the idea and believe that you're special, and you are someone who doesn't do this (say "hi" to your ego if you're feeling this way), I urge you to investigate your actions for the next hour or so… witness your thoughts to see when you might justifying something, and investigate the purpose of those thoughts.
My stories lately have been consisting of ideas that I'm responsible for the actions of others… I take responsibility for the choices they make, and choose to berate, and punish myself mentally because of it… My reactionary, ego-driven response is to blame myself, and oppress future actions out of fear that they will cause emotional reactions in others.
No one is responsible for the actions of another person. Each person makes their own choices—to respond mindfully, or react out of fear (instinct, intuition… whatever). Just as it's their choice to react or respond the way they do, it's my choice to take it personally or not. If I choose to take it personally, more often than not it's because I've begun telling myself stories about WHY the other person responded or reacted the way they did, and these stories usually contain ME. Why wouldn't they? Don't you like to include yourself in stories you create? But are they true, or just fueled by fear?
Fear can completely take over our lives! It's how our ego holds onto us—how it keeps control, and makes sure we don't make waves in the status-quo. The part of us that is afraid wants to keep others afraid as well—fear feeds on fear and needs others to verify its story in order to feel justified in it's place. BUT IT'S ALL JUST A STORY—A LIE to make us feel like our fear is justified. Fear keeps us stuck—standing still and un-alive. When I'm afraid, life is not being lived—I'm wrapped up in the things I'm afraid of, rather than experiencing the moment, and all the beautiful things that are happening.
So, what is true?
Now, isn't that an age-old question?
Right now, all I think to be true is that there are sounds—there's movement—my fingers are moving—there's an ache in my back—my throat feels dry…
These things are what I can pretty much trust as being true… now, if I start telling myself that those noises are birds, or that the ache in my back is because I'm sitting funny, or that I'm typing a blog post, or that I'm dehydrated and need to drink some water—those are ALL stories. Things we begin to tell ourselves to bring ourselves away from feeling what IS HAPPENING in the moment. We try to understand them, and analyze them in an effort to make them into something other than what they are. We give them labels of things we think we understand in order to shrug them off rather than BE with them.
If I begin thinking about the pain in my back, and tell myself it's there because I'm sitting funny, then I'm no longer WITH the pain in my back… I'm now with my thoughts, trying to figure out what caused the pain in my back. Once I figure out what caused it, I can then take actions toward changing it in order to make the pain stop—or at least that's what I *think* I'm doing. It could also be my ego trying to make it think it's special, and that it *knows* something and that it can do something about it—when really, it just IS. That's it. Life just IS. BE WITH IT.
The sounds outside… they're birds—birds that are talking back and forth to each other, torturing my cat… or they are vibrations that enter my ear.
I may make it sound easy to recognize and understand the stories our ego creates to help keep us stuck, but that ego is a sly one, and it knows how to fool us. I encourage you to get to know your ego as well as it knows you. Be aware and watch—see when a story arrives, but don't judge—judging is just another story.
Breathe and just BE—or don't. Whatever… everything you just read may be wrong.