NEWS FLASH: New Years Resolutions can keep you from being happy.
THE PROBLEM: There is too much hype in the world trying to convince us to be better than who we are today. We use up the scarce resource of time proving to others that we are someone special. We ignore the gifts of life while we are busy criticizing our bodies, our jobs, and anyone who doesn’t treat us like the superhero we will never be. The more concerned we are with how we can master our external world, the more we are burdened by dragging ourselves uphill. “Go faster, try harder, reach the top!” shouts the tyrant known as your ego.
If your days feel like an exhausting race, it could be time to shrug the ego off your back. Generally, we shape our lives to be like someone we admire, or to avoid being like someone we don’t like. We then set aims, intentions, goals, systems of improvement and even morals based on the approval of other people, not ourselves.
You will never have enough energy to dance and love until you release yourself from the world’s expectations that define who you should be. It’s time to doubt your existence.
THE AWARENESS: Pay attention to your emotional reactions throughout the day. How often did you worry, feel impatient or restless, and spend time comparing yourself to someone else? What did you defend today—your decisions, your reputation, or your rules? Did your feelings get hurt? Who disappointed you? What situations triggered your anger?
Many of your emotions are mere defense mechanisms designed to keep you from feeling inferior. Your “survival instinct” fills your brain with these thoughts, hindering curiosity, creativity and playfulness.
THE SOLUTION: It’s time to tell your brain to shut up. If your ego were a house guest, you would have asked this critical, annoying bully to leave a long time ago. Your ego is the barrier between you and the moment. You need to break down this wall to experience life. Quit having to be somebody and making everything so critically important. You’ll find your beautiful, simple soul waiting to be freed underneath the rubble.
BRAIN TIP: Once you can get your brain to shut up, take a moment to relax into the splendor of life all around you. Feel the joy that goes along with not having to be anybody, and the freedom of not having to get things done.
Don’t worry about fading into oblivion. When you let go of trying to fit into a definition, you will still have a personality. You just won’t be restricted by a mold. You will still have desires; you just won’t be controlled by needs. You will still have roles to enact; you just won’t think you are those characters. The more you shed your conditioning, the more you live by choice.
Detaching from your ego requires a lot of courage. Your brain doesn’t like to feel out of control. It is obsessed with making you work to achieve a specific identity and a “successful” persona. The irony is that you won’t be formless if you cast off your need to be more beautiful, stronger, wealthier, more intelligent or more famous. When you quit worrying that you are not enough, your true value emerges. Your dreams, passions and joys become your new shape.
THE TRUTH: When you give up worrying about what people think, and focus on loving them and yourself instead, you find your life improving anyway. Without setting goals, you lose weight, have more time for yourself, accomplish more of what is really important, and spend less money on things you don’t need. The stillness blesses your body with health and your mind with peace. You don’t need to write resolutions. All you need to do is free yourself up for evolutions.
For the New Year, instead of adding items on your to-do list and setting goals to relieve the guilt you have over not doing what you think you should, consider liberating yourself instead. This is the year to be kinder, gentler, and more peaceful with yourself and others.