As a person who moves between cultures, cities, and disciplines, I can’t help but notice the degree of misconceptions and illusions we people have. Doesn’t it struck you that almost every person holds on to a belief and reject all others, not only to himself but to the entire humanity? How can they possibly think they got the correct answers, and everybody else got it wrong?
Circumstances you didn’t control shaped your thoughts and emotions. You were born in some country, raised by one or two parents, had relatives, teachers and neighbours all installing ideas in your head about right and wrong, good and bad, beautiful and ugly, and what it takes to be happy. You innocently believed everything they told you, and now “your” concept of life, happiness, fulfilment might be making you and others miserable, pretty much like this:
Currently, my main thought influencers are Alain de Botton, Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, and Noah ElKrief. Yesterday, I had a Skype call with Noah and he really helped me understand the power or thoughts on our emotions. The main revelation for me is that people often mix facts with thoughts, our emotions are created by our thoughts and not by facts. We’re spending our lives trying to solve imaginary problems, instead of relaxing and living in peace.
Of course we can always work harder, seek love, and aspire for more, as long as we let go of the associated feelings of stress, anxiety, not being enough. Who said we are not enough, not beautiful enough, smart enough, attractive enough, rich enough..etc. What is enough? Who can define it? What does it look like? These are the misconceptions I talked about earlier, the illusions.
We’ve been mixing the means with the goals all along. Do we want this job or do we want to be considered successful? Do we want to be successful or do we want to feel fulfilled? If fulfilment and wholeness is what we really want, then not getting a certain job wouldn’t matter, cause there are other means and we are here to explore all the means. Meanwhile, just let go of your thoughts. I know it’s hard to pick a certain thought, or delete a thought.. that’s exactly why you shouldn’t let them control how you feel, you didn’t create them, everything else around you did. Let’s not spend our lives trying to fill gaps that don’t exist to fit into someone’s idea of perfect. Alright?
It’s a hard message to hold on to, because we are constantly being told other things. but we got to remind ourselves that it’s all relative. We are not brilliant, stupid, fat, or attractive, we just are. Just be.
Now tell me, after reading this post where in this diagram do you see yourself?
p.s. All illustrations above are works by David Shrigley, who is fuckin brilliant in mixing art and psychology with not-so-subtle irony.