I haven’t really been active here lately, after telling myself that I wanted to focus on my life and get into doing things in the real world, rather than focusing so much on inner work. Think my last post was about a year or so ago.
Don’t get me wrong – inner work is a staple of transformation and is a lifelong process that doesn’t ever stop. Introspecting, searching for truth in the lies we tell ourselves, feeling emotions that you’d rather not feel, getting comfortable know these emotions…all of this is key in becoming the person you want to be. But there came a point where I realized that it’s very easy to fall into the trap of doing inner work as a way to tell myself I’m not “fully here” yet, and hiding behind that as an excuse to not go all out in realizing my potential. So, no more excuses.
It’s been a crazy fucking year. After finishing school, I got a job in a large company, moved to the capital city here, and started living with my fiancée. She’s still my fiancée, because there hasn’t been time to plan a vacation, let alone a wedding. Writing this, I really do feel my body and mind need a break and I’m looking forward to regenerating with her and getting our minds back to a place of rest and peace. Stress does crazy things to a person, especially if it’s with us long term.
I am in large part responsible for why things have been so stressful, hectic and tiresome. It’s been a period of great growth, both personally and professionally, but it could definitely have been a smoother ride. So on the one hand I can pat myself on the back at how far I’ve come, but on the other hand it could have come at less of a cost. Then again – the stress led to more realizations and personal growth and mental strength, so I guess all is good.
But yeah, we’ve bought an apartment, started refurbishing and doing a home-makeover (it was a really old apartment), I’m in line for a promotion if all goes well, my album is finished (here’s a song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBFU7XicTUs
), I’ve met some very interesting people and cut some people out of my life while building deeper and more meaningful relationships with the people that “made the cut”. My relationship with my parents is much improved as well, though that maybe deserves its own post that might come in the future.
Here are some lessons I learned or things I’ve discovered. There’s no structure to this list, and I’ll write things as they come, so forgive me if I zig when you expect me to zag:
1.) Gratefulness will get you farther on the path of inner peace and self-love than anything I’ve come across. The mind loves to look for problems and complain about what is wrong, but we are so fortunate – just to be able to access the internet and exchange knowledge, have our basic needs met so we can think about things like self-realization, and be moving forward as men and human beings. I loved to complain about how difficult finding an apartment to buy in the current real estate market in Slovakia was (lots of foreign money is pouring in, so people are going crazy), but just realizing how lucky I was to be able to buy an apartment with a woman I love and have money left over to renovate and furnish it gave me energy and peace. Same goes for health (had some health issues, but damn it could’ve been so much worse), money (I can bitch about not having the income I want or be happy that I’m technically upper middle class after one year in university) or fitness (yeah I only bench press 90kg, but fuck that’s the best I’ve ever been!).
It’s extremely easy to fall into complaining and forego gratefulness if you’re in self-improvement mode, because this necessitates being honest with yourself about problems in your life and looking for things to improve. So be thankful for the work you’re putting in and acknowledge the progress you’re making. Improve yourself because you’re a person worth investing in, not to “fix” yourself.
2.) Stress really is the mind, body and spirit killer. Do whatever you can to mitigate its effects, and relax regularly. It sounds unimportant or something that doesn’t have too great of a priority, but energy comes much easier from a relaxed mind, and resistance isn’t as strong when you have the energy to see through its illusion of comfort or safety. I honestly believe not taking stress seriously leads to a majority of health problems we face. And as I learned the hard way this year, you don’t really know what it’s like to not have your health until you don’t have it, and then all other shit becomes very trivial.
3.) Baby steps and compound interest. Moving along on the path of life and becoming the best version of yourself, you have to keep in mind that it’s an extremely slow journey, especially at the start. Meditating? It’ll take months of daily practice to truly feel a small difference, and even then you’re still a beginner. Same goes for fitness, discipline, professional skills, interpersonal skills, etc. But if you trust that the road you’re on is the right one, and if you keep that focus when the ever –present demons of comfort, self-hatred, fear or a lack of energy come along, then you’ll start to see the principle of compound interest in action. That’s when an hour spent on something will move you forward more than 4 hours would to start. That’s when the magic happens. But you need to trust the process to start, because you’ll only be making miniscule baby steps in the beginning, and being with yourself daily will mean you don’t really see it until a large distance has been covered.
Btw, same thing applies in reverse – you don’t really see the weight you’ve gained until you’re way farther along than you’d have liked.
4.) It’s all about instant yet insignificant and temporary gratification vs. delayed yet greater and more permanent reward. Eating your favorite junk food feels good now. You get pleasure instantly. Not having it and choosing the salad instead doesn’t feel good. You’ll only see the effects in time, after you continue to put off the instant gratification that ever so kindly offers itself to you daily. All this talk about inner work, spiritually, self-acceptance, doing what you know you should be doing, is about choosing the delayed reward. Watching Netflix beats meditating, at least in regards to present ease of effort. Staying inside to play video games instead of going outside with a group of people you don’t know well…much easier and comforting. And if your mind ever starts to spin the road of comfort as something that you deserve, or something that is right (as it always does), remember what you feel like after a long period of discipline in the area that is threatening to be contaminated by a need for instant gratification.
Be patient with yourself and the progress you make, and be aware of what a deep feeling of low self-worth can do. It’s much easier to go for delayed reward if you believe that your efforts will actually bring it. Trust yourself.
5.) In my relationship, I’ve found there are a few principles that have kept it where the connection is growing and we’re both able to come out of arguments or difficult life situations stronger:
a) Have your principles, know them, and stick to them at all times. Explain them nicely and a few times if necessary, but don’t waver. And don’t just not waver because it’s what you’re supposed to do to keep her, do it because you have principles you hold to be true and know that not acting on them leads you down a road you don’t want to go down on.
b) Just like oxygen masks in planes, where they tell you to put on your own first, the same applies here. I don’t mean buying food for yourself, or thinking about yourself primarily, I mean taking care of your needs and making that a long-term priority. For me, I know I have to devote time to music, meditate, exercise, hang out with my friends at least a few times a month and occasionally take the psychedelic path. I don’t waver on this, even if it means hearing that I’ve come home late for a few days in a row or that I spent the weekend away when I could’ve spent it with her. So basically relates to point a) as well.
c) Don’t avoid confrontation for the temporary peace that brings. The more you keep things stifled inside, the more they fester, affect your mind, which affects your decision making, which affects your habits, which in turns affects how you feel about yourself and who you are as a person.
d) When you’re with her, be present. I can’t overstate this enough. When listening, listen…and not just to the words she’s saying. This comes much easier when you’re taking care of your own shit and don’t need reassurance or validation from her. Giving, whether attention or time, comes more easily when you’re not coming from a place of internal lack. Insecure people do transactional relationships and do them indirectly. Don’t be that dude. Give without expecting something for that giving – instead give knowing the same will, at some point, come back to you, even if it doesn’t right away, since you have your shit handled.
e) Basically, having a happy relationship (from your end and what you control) entails you being the man that attracted her consistently that consistently turning your potential into tangible results while leading her patiently down the path she knows she should go down on but doesn’t always.
Happy to discuss anything here or to elaborate on it. Keep doing what you’re doing gentlemen, the world is a better place with people that are honestly content with themselves and people that provide real value to society. It’s funny, my journey here started out as a way to get chicks in a more sophisticated manipulative way, and ended up being something else entirely. So don’t begrudge your past, it led you here, and it’s pushing you to change. Be happy with yourself that you choose change regularly and realize you and you alone are worth putting that effort in for.