2018 was a crazy ride. Lots of beautiful moments, but also a lot of confrontations with myself. Moments where I questioned (again) the meaning of life, the sense of suffering, the point of powerlessness and desperation.
I don’t have answers to these questions. I only have some ‘life hacks’. Little tricks that help me when I’m having a hard time.
I’m putting them under the Christmas tree.
Take what you find useful, leave what doesn’t speak to you.
#1. Become your own best friend
It’s a cliché, I know. Be nice to yourself, be kind to yourself. You read it in every self-help book.
When we believe our thoughts, we feel those thoughts and we behave accordingly. That goes for everyone. We do our best with the thinking we have in the moment.
Sometimes we’re stuck in unproductive thoughts, but we don’t realize it. We do something stupid and regret it later, wishing we had done something different.
Seeing this, in myself and others, brings a lot of compassion.
#2. Don’t believe everything you think
We cannot not think. Sometimes our thoughts are spinning, sometimes our thinking slows down. Sometimes we can influence this, but most of the time it just goes on and on.
We don’t have to believe everything we think. Some thoughts (all thoughts?) can be taken less seriously.
A new thought is already coming up anyway. No shortage of new thoughts! So why keep believing this one thought, while there’s a hundred others in the pipeline?
#3. Failure is interesting
I’m afraid to make mistakes. I’ll admit it! And I won’t be the only one.
I just notice that, when I’ve made a mistake, my life becomes more interesting. I talk about it with people, I look for interesting literature, I watch a TED talk.
When I make a mistake, I learn something new. And that’s quite interesting.
#4. “If only … then” and “should’ve”
If only I (had enough money, had a meaningful job, had kids, had a partner, had more time, …) then (my life would be beautiful, I would be happy, I would find a partner, I would look for another job, …)
We’re making up these stories and strive for another ‘me’. A better ‘me’, a smarter ‘me’, a richer ‘me’. Fill in what applies to you.
See life hack #2, the question is whether that’s true.
The ‘if only … then’ ensures that we keep looking for something that isn’t there right now.
Byron Katie says : “When I argue with reality, I lose—but only 100% of the time”.
Same for ‘should’ve’ and ‘mustn’t’. These thoughts are so deeply ingrained, that sometimes it’s really hard to believe something else is possible.
Experiment with it : if you have a “should’ve” on your mind … Is this true?
And … who would you be without that thought?
#5. Do what works for you
I use these life hacks because they work for me. I realize they may not work for you. Try it out, experiment with these and other life hacks!
And also trust your gut feeling, that soft voice that whispers what the next little step could be.
Happy new year!
Want to know more about how these life hacks work? (cf The inside out understanding)
Send me a little Veilig Beschermd, I’m looking forward to exploring with you how these insights can change your life too!