note: we link to our free guide to mindfulness and meditation at the end of this article (no email required).
Many of us react defensively when we're told something can benefit us (you know, like strengthening awareness through mindfulness and meditation).
This defensiveness manifests in common objections:
This is a trap we fall into.
Our minds work hard to convince us we are different:
As a result, we often feel like we're alone on an island, overwhelmed by problems only we face.
This outlook - that we are unique and separate from everyone else - gives rise to self-judgment:
If you are caught in this trap and you believe what your mind tells you, it will lead you into a pit of despair. You end up lamenting the past. You get lost in regrets about things you did - and didn't - do. And, you lose hope for (and worry endlessly about) the future.
It's a stressful way to live! But, what's the alternative?
Years ago, a wise man gave me some advice that had a profound effect on me. He told me
"We all experience the joys and sorrows of the world. Your own particular drama is pretty generic - don't take it too personally."
Why is this important?
Because, compassion for others begins with compassion for ourselves. And, compassion for ourselves begins with the realization that we aren't the only ones suffering.
"But, I'm in therapy."
"I take medication."
"My boss is 'this,' and my family situation is 'that'."
None of this negates the fact that we all face similar struggles. Once you acknowledge this fact, you can stop believing your mind when it tells you "that won't work for me because I'm different."
Or, when it tries to convince you that you need to cling tightly to some belief or crutch, and continue weathering the storm because "this is your lot in life."
It's not. So, stop indulging the self-judgment from that voice in your head. The good news is, a consistent meditation practice will help you do this.
Realize you're not a victim. And, go forward with the knowledge that you aren't alone on an island!
Many of the concepts above are related to mindfulness and meditation. We have a free guide that will teach you how to do it (and, tell you why you should). You don't need to register or provide any information - just go read it.
Every experience you will ever have is shaped by your mind. And, your mind has a bigger impact on your overall health and well-being than any other factor in your life. It quite literally determines the quality of your existence (read more...)