If I love myself, is this really true?
It has been sixth self-improvement video on youtube I have watched in last two hours with similar frequent and impulsive visits to the fridge and somehow all the exciting work I was so eager to complete in the morning is still sitting untouched. Then a moment of weird anxiety starts to creep in. Suddenly mind starts to be somehow all over the place and my internal judge, the cruelest judge of all judges out there starts to give me a lot of shit how I have wasted last three hours doing stuff that seems to be now totally irrelevant. How come a minute ago I felt like I am productive doing “interesting work” and now I feel like shit and useless procrastinator. Welcome into viscious cycle of self-hate and self-beating of your worst fan, your worst judge, your own mind. If your mind would be a psycho-therapist, you would put on a lawsuit against it after first session and never visit again. Yet, we put on with this negative counselling on day to day basis, tolerating our own self-beating.
So there you are in the middle of your crisis of beating yourself up how much work you have to do and how you have been distracted by other stuff, how disappointed you are with yourself and how unproductive you have been. Now your energy and motivation to do some creative meaningful work is even lower, other responsibilities are slowly getting in as time goes by leaving you ever more frustrated. In the evening you kind of look at your infinite todo list, move incomplete tasks from today to tomorrow and hope that tomorrow you will be better human being because today you have completed only 17 out 69 tasks and you feel like failure.
Ok. Now lets imagine you have a time-machine and you can return back in your day just before watching that 2nd youtube video and start observing nuances that drive you slowly towards that 6th video and 3rd visit of the fridge. If you start observing your mind, there is some uncertainty that you try to deal with before start doing the real work. I mean you feel like working already but not really. That uncertainty has usually some underlying root cause fear that is driving you towards safe distraction. It can be fear of worrying that you wont be smart enough to complete the task, or not fast enough because you want to accomplish so much in a day. You kind of wanna feel good about yourself at the end of the day in front of your internal judge, or you feel you need more information or better software to perform the task effectively. So you start doing things to that makes you feel more certain, more in control, you start to do seamingly useful things that feel safe. You start doing stuff that makes you feel good about yourself not noticing that you actually facing uncertainty the wrong way. In my case it can be educational youtube video, in your case it can be reading email or doing the laundry. Anything what seems “productive” but safe so you can feel good about yourself for the moment. In any case, it is the uncertainty and its root cause fear that drives us to take control in ways that are totally unrelated to a task we initially wanted to accomplish. Great! Now what?
In order to break the viscious cycle, one has great tool to observe this pattern. Self-awareness. it sounds kinda voodoo but its actuslly much simpler than it sounds. The moment you start watching your 3rd youtube video, doing laundry or reading that email, just pause, slow down, breathe slower than usual and for a moment just ask yourself: what is the uncertainty root cause I am dealing with right now? What do I fear of when doing the work? Then just observe the answer. Fancy word is meditate on the answer, but it is nothing else than just observing answer to your question. While observing, meditating in that state, when you receive your answer, whatever the answer it is, ask yourself:
“If I love myself, is this really true?”
In most cases, the answer will be no. We are here for the experience, for the process, not the outcome, not the goal. Since time is just a construct that does not exist anyway, we must stop putting so much pressure on ourself and remember we are here to enjoy the experience, experience called life. Moment by moment, not waiting for some magical end where we can be finally happy but by enjoying every step of the experience, both good and bad. Because no other moment, then this very moment does exist. Moment of experience. Everything else is just our own self-beating, our own suffering, our own self doubt we impose on ourself. So stop beating yourself up, face the uncertainty by asking the right questions, observe the answer to find out that your underlying fear is not real and then, do the work with love for the moment, love for the experience, not the the fear of the outcome. Because in the end nothing else matter, just the joy of the experience.