The Stress Of Making Something Out Of Nothing
(Image courtesy of Sasin Tipchai.)
The untrained mind always wants to make EVERYTHING mean something.
I'm not talking about learning lessons and gaining wisdom from our experiences. I’m a firm believer that Spirit is always presenting us with both good and bad experiences so that we can learn and grow as spiritual beings.
We can create meaning and understanding from even the shittiest of situations.
However, the mind ALWAYS wants to take it to the next level.
Your mind wants to make everything a personal judgment about you and your worth. It doesn’t really discern the difference between the practical learning of a life lesson and determining who you ARE as a person.
For example, take financial debt. Most people have experienced debt in some way, shape, or form.
Debt is actually quite neutral despite its reputation. Sometimes you are faced with an emergency and are grateful to be able to have a credit card to put a lump sum on.
Granted, you will have to pay it back in installments and with some interest, but in an emergency, this can be a huge support.
If you own a house and have a mortgage, that is debt. Most people need to have a mortgage if they want to own their own home.
And then you have the kind of debt due to spending more than your means, which can indeed create a sticky situation.
But what the monkey mind does is start to create JUDGEMENTS about YOU around it.
The critical voice in your head says debt is bad. If you have debt that means you suck at managing money. If you have debt that means you are poor and broke. You then doubt your confidence with money and avoid your financial obligations.
The mind has essentially taken something that is quite neutral and made it mean something negative about who you ARE.
And worse yet, we are listening to it!
Staying In A Job You Hate
Let’s talk careers.
You’ve probably had a job at one point in your life where you recognized that a particular role was NOT for you.
You see others around you that seem to love it and it flows for them. But for you? Well, you would rather have a root canal than show up for work yet another day.
So when we are in a career we hate and dread going to work, it’s a lesson to learn around finding a fulfilling purpose as well as learning to work within our gifts and zone of genius.
This experience is saying, “maybe you should reflect on this and make some adjustments!”
But now the mind tells you that because you aren’t quite making it in this chosen job or career, that there’s something wrong with you. That you don’t measure up. That you will waste your precious degree if you leave. That you can’t leave because the money is too good and if you take a pay cut, you won’t be successful.
How Are Your Relationships?
One last example. Most everybody has experienced an unhealthy relationship.
This is how we learn to make the distinction between people who are supportive and those who are toxic. We are then able to discern what kind of relationships we want to have.
I believe that Spirit gives us challenging relationships to help us learn, grow, understand, and then hopefully make the decision to only surround ourselves with those who we deem fit.
The mind, however, will decide that you aren’t worthy of love based on a failed relationship. That this is all that you deserve. That you aren’t good at being in a relationship. And that there’s something wrong with you, therefore you will be alone forever.
Making Something From Truly NOTHING
Sometimes our struggle is 100% made-up and self-inflicted.
You allow someone who is rude to you at the grocery store to ruin your entire day when in reality that person’s rudeness means nothing. It’s not personal to you; it’s about them and what happens to be going on in their life at that moment.
You allow rain to ruin your wedding day because you’ve made rain on your wedding day mean that the celebration is ruined and that it’s a bad sign. You then wonder if you should be getting married at all!
Depending on the situation, your mind can totally convince you that the Universe is downright punishing you!
The monkey mind truly enjoys making something judgmental out of nothing. And all this does is create emotional distress, worry, and anxiety. We literally create our own suffering.
Why does the mind play these games?
Well, to try and keep us safe. Safety is engaging in what is familiar. So even if our current experience sucks ass, we know what to expect from it.
Also, if we doubt ourselves, then we don't risk trying something new and possibly failing.
I know, it's very backasswards.
But if you start to understand this game your monkey-mind plays, you can make the choice to thank it for "trying" to help (sigh), but then let your somethings be nothing.
Note any practical lessons to be learned (if applicable), and then let it go. It’s quite freeing!