Life starts from a place of assuming that the world is your oyster.
When we are born, we are completely open and accepting of love and attention. Babies soak that stuff up like there is no limited supply. As a wee one, you did not question our value, or if you mattered, you simply were alive and a part of the world around us. You instinctively knew to drink up the protective, loving nourishment from our caregivers to survive. At some point, we all develop a random meter that tells us if we “deserve” something or not.
Today’s blog is about this poisonous idea of deserving anything.
I mean, think about it. Who ultimately gets to decide if you deserve something or not? Do we get some memo from the sky? ( if you happen to get that memo, please leave a comment in the chat.) Thinking that you deserve anything is a Western Culture thought error. In Buddist teaching, they accept the world as it exists. “Life is suffering.” Thus, although the world is broken and messy, you only suffer more if you fight this reality. This is not appealing to hear, but exploring the idea is a very freeing concept. It is not your job to defy reality, and if you fight reality, you sound like a righteous person on Facebook, which feels terrible. A much more useful application of your brainpower is to accept and then ask how you can help from a place of loving-kindness.
Coming into awareness.
What if we wiped this whole question of whether you “deserve” something off the table? Every time you hear yourself asking this question, tell yourself that this is the wrong question. Replace the sentence with “Do I want this?” and a follow-up question is “Why do I want this”?
Do you deserve to be in a loving relationship, or is that something you want? Do you deserve to have a successful career? Or is that something you want? And are you willing to permit yourself to want these things in your life?
When we overindulge in things we want to stop indulging in, this sneaky question comes into our heads. Trust me, I have this discussion often in my head over many things, like chocolate, snacks, and wine.
Do you “deserve” that second glass of wine after a hard day at work? Or do you want that second glass of wine? And why do you want it? Are you going to enjoy the wine, or are you going after the numbing effects of the wine? What is happening here is that the “deserve” question is automatic and keeps me in the unconscious. If I ask if I really want the wine and why I want it, it brings me into awareness. It is the awareness that myself and the readers of this blog are after.
React or Respond.
I love Jon Kabat-Zinn’s explanation of how we deal with stress, fatigue, fear, sadness, and other negative emotions. We can either React or Respond. Reacting comes easily, automatically. Responding takes time to learn and condition yourself to do. We live in a pill/alcohol/substance loving society that encourages numbing or changing our emotions through chemicals, which is hurting us. It is not really hard to learn how to respond with your brilliant brain to a stressful world rather than react, but it takes intention, and willingness to slow down, look, and be honest with ourselves, our neighbors, and how we live each moment.
Accept that nothing lasts forever.
One final Buddist teaching that is super helpful. Nothing in this life is permanent, and our emotions are very fleeting. Sometimes if you allow the vibration of the stress to be in your body, without “fixing it,” it goes away. The average emotion lasts 90 seconds. I dare you to breathe through it, time it, and see if you survive it.
If you are interested in learning more about how hypnosis helps your brain regulate emotions, click here to schedule a discovery session with Elaine.