When we perceive there’s a problem, we create one

words by Brian Thompson, photo by Jennifer Picard Photography.

Have you ever noticed how if you grasp at a random, passing thought and dwell on it for a bit, it begins to feel real? The longer you hold on to it and ponder it, the more you believe it to be true — no matter what it might be.

If you keep telling yourself how depressed you are, you’ll never get out of bed. If you keep saying how angry you are, you’ll work yourself into a red-faced frenzy. If you keep thinking how nervous you are, you’ll make yourself sick to the stomach. If you keep telling yourself how useless you are, you’ll never find the will to try harder. If you keep thinking how someone is doing you wrong, then the more convinced you will be.

You convince yourself of many crazy things.

The more you believe those self-critical thoughts that pop into your mind, the more you'll perpetuate your overall discontent.

Many of the things you suffer from you've projected onto yourself by engaging in this sort of dialogue with your “self”. At first, you might believe you’re simply tending to areas of your inner self that need some attention. But realize that when it comes to your ego, it's always a no-win debate — there’s absolutely nothing to gain.

The thoughts you have of your “self" betray you, and if you engage with them you'll soon find yourself filled with sadness and self-doubt.

This is tricky stuff. On the one hand, we need to be aware of areas of ourself which we want to improve (such as our health, or behaviours we want to change, or new skills we want to learn). But on the other hand, we need to be aware of our inner-narcissist who’s only concerned with vanity and how things might appear.

Our ego is always trying to convince us that things should be different than what they currently are — that WE should be different that we currently we are. Its expectations are unreal — and when the present moment doesn’t meet up to the ego's expectations, we experience disappointment.

Disappointment is nothing more than an unfilled desire. So if we expect less, we’ll suffer less.

Indeed, it is our perception of the current moment that often makes us unhappy. When we resist whatever the moment brings, we introduce struggle and conflict into our minds.

When we perceive there’s a problem, we create one.

Our ego wants every moment to be all about us, this is its self-centered nature. Every moment, every experience, every conversation, every thought… it wants them all to revolve around “me”. But the world doesn’t cater to our every whim, nor should it. We are a part of all things, not sitting on top.

Our happiness and wellbeing is found when we interact harmoniously with everything around us. It can never be found by trying to dominate every circumstance so that it bends to our idealized vision of how we think it should be.

If we change how we respond to the present moment and if we accept it for what it is, without wanting to change it, then our entire mood instantly changes. Expectations vanish. Anger dissolves. Frustrations disappear. Desire fades. Self-criticism wanes. Living in such a way, we interact only with reality itself, not with preconceived illusions of mind.

We mustn’t let our self-talk convince us of things that do not exist. Our ego is an illusion factory, nothing more. We must learn to distinguish between which of our thoughts are there to help us, and which are there to merely distract us.

Thankfully, an ignored thought soon disappears and will no longer have any control over you. So become the watcher of your thoughts. Disregard any self-crictisim the moment it appears.

Think outside of yourself to the wonderful world of here and now, rather than only dwelling on narcissistic thoughts within.