How many times have you been discouraged when you see how far you have to go in order to be where you want to be? Whether it’s getting out of debt, losing that last 15 pounds, or finding your soul mate, the end can seem painfully distant. We create anxiety and despair when we focus on the gap between where we are and where we want to be.
We place a premium on outcomes. These imagined future outcomes are preconceived solutions to what we see as problems in the present. If I were with someone special I wouldn’t be lonely anymore. If I can get through this graduate program, I can get a job that pays decent and then I’ll be happy. If I could just learn how to control my anger, I’d have a chance at getting my wife back.
Humans need to feel seen, heard, and cared about by other humans. It's a need, not a want or a luxury. It's completely possible to totally hate people or think at some points that most of them are too stupid to live and that you would be better off in total isolation, while also carrying a secret longing for community. Running away to the woods or mountains with no human interaction might be a fantasy for some introverts, especially those harmed by the harshness of the human race. Some extroverts on the other hand, may equally despise people, but unwittingly long for the energy-giving presence of others. The interesting thing to me is that no matter your temperament, be it introverted or extroverted, our longing to commune with others in an authentic and meaningful way, seems to be integral to our survival as a species.
The Fourth of July signifies an important turning point in history where Americans became free from the reign of English monarchy. Though the nation gained their freedom, the individuals within the nation are still being ruled by thoughts, emotions, and external pressures from society. I know I can be controlled by thoughts that tell me I’m not good enough. I can be a slave to my emotions like anger and frustration. I can be bound to what society deems as “normal” and try to fit in by rejecting parts of myself for fear of being rejected by others. I live in a free country, the land of the free, but in many ways I remain in chains.
Obtaining personal freedom is easier than it seems and starts with an awareness of the ways in which we are not free. When it comes to our thoughts, a simple way to gain a little freedom is to practice mindfulness. I know, it is loaded word filled with expectations and visions of monks in robes sitting in lotus pose, but beyond the ideas we may have about mindfulness, there is simplicity underneath it all.
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Here you will find articles contributed by members of our team. We hope to provide helpful information here to inspire mindful living and general wellness. The information provided here is not a substitue for professional mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need to speak to a professional regarding your mental health, please make an appointment.