What if you knew that most, if not all, of the stress and overwhelm you feel is the result of believing in things that aren't true? What if the myths you believe cause you unnecessary struggle?
In this article, we'll explore three false assumptions that most of us live by and simple ways to overcome them all. In the end, you'll discover that you have inherent capacities that are much greater than you might think!
1. The Myth of Being Yourself
Consciously and subconsciously, you subscribe to certain ideas about "who we are." This may include roles you play, physical characteristics, or character traits. "You" may also include thoughts, feelings, beliefs, preferences, and things you do. You have a sense of yourself as being, more or less, a conglomeration of all these things.
It's also likely that you have an idea about who you "should be." This is based on what's acceptable in your family and your culture or on the potential you have to be "something." You are supposed to become something specific, stable, and definable, so you and others know exactly "who you are."
Yet, what if "who you are" is actually something fundamentally different than all of that? Something much less defined and more open, clear, and spacious? What if trying to be "something" is not only inaccurate to who you really are, but it is also a major cause of unnecessary stress? What might happen if you could let that go?
2. The Myth That Life Should Be Different
Just as you have ideas about who you should be, you have ideas about how life should be. What if thinking life "should be a certain way" dramatically escalates the stress you feel?
You can test this out for yourself the next time you feel stressed out. Simply ask yourself, "How am I thinking things should be?"
For example, if you are running late, stuck in a traffic jam, and feeling your anger and frustration building, what if you paused and asked "How am I thinking things should be?"
You might come up with thoughts like "These people should be moving faster. Or, I should have left sooner." The more you think that things should be different than they are, the more stress you feel.
Now, what if you turned those thoughts around. What if you listed all the reasons for why things should be exactly the way they are?
"It's Monday morning, it's 7:30am, and everyone is going to work. This is a highly-desirable place to live and more people are on the road. This road is the most direct route into the city. Actually, given all of that, traffic should be this way.
I was up late last night getting that project done. I slept in to get a little more rest. I wanted to take time to make breakfast for my family. Actually, given all of that, I should have left exactly when I did."
Now you might think, "Those are just excuses."
Yet, what if, instead, it is just being real about "what is actually happening," rather than thinking that it should be different? What if completely accepting "what is" releases stress and puts you in the best position to take effective action? You may or may not "do better next time," but what really matters is what you do now.
3. The Myth of a Predictable Future
We generally believe in an oversimplified view of cause and effect. If we do certain things, other things are sure to happen. If we work hard, we'll be successful. If we do the right thing, we'll be rewarded. Good things happen to good people.
Yet, how many times have you worked hard at something and not been successful? How many times have you done the right thing and not gotten the reward? How many times do "bad things" happen to "good people"?
We tend to over-simplify things. In reality, causality is infinitely complex and the future has many possible outcomes.
For example, why was our son Will born 4 months prematurely? Was it the genetic shape of my wife's uterus? The way her doctor did an internal exam? Something my wife did or didn't do? Was it the weather, the altitude, or the alignment of the planets? Was it Will's destiny to battle for his life? Was this really a blessing in disguise? Why did Will survive, when over 90 percent of those born at that age didn't? Why was Will eventually relatively healthy when most of the few who survived weren't?
Causality is complex. The future is unknown.
What if you do all the right things and still get cancer? What if you do all the right things and still don't get the job? What if you do all the right things and still get in an accident?
In real life, how often do things happen differently than you expected, planned, or thought they should?
What if you were O.K. with that? What if it led you to a deeper truth?
What if you were able to accept, embrace, and appreciate that you don't fit in any box, life shouldn't be different than it is, and the future is unknown? What if those insights released your stress and enabled you to relax and work with what is actually happening now?
And, what if letting go of those false assumptions gives you an amazing feeling of freedom? In that freedom, you are able to connect with a deeper, underlying, inherent Goodness that is a sure guide in all situations? What if, underneath it all, you are a pure Loving Presence who knows exactly what to do?