Hello my friend! I wanted to share with you something small that has really helped me gain control of myself, and improve my outlook as I tumble through this existence we call life. Life can be very painful sometimes and I learned that the more you analyze yourself (though it requires more effort) makes it easier to keep going.
One bad habit I have is living in absolutes. Black-and-white thinking. It is so subtle I only realized I am a victim to it when I asked myself: “why do my failures or attempts hurt so much?” It was because I set it up every attempt to either be “the-greatest-thing-that-will-change-my-life” or “the-worst-thing-ever-put-out-by-a-human-I don’t-have-any-talent-God-why”.
Learning to let things sit in a grey area has helped a lot.
I learned to stay away from deleting, cutting things off, quitting, and instead leaning towards putting things on pause, going on a break, or giving space.
I learned to stay away from saying I completely failed or *everything’s* a mess but rather maybe today is a bad day. Maybe right now I’m hungry and exhausted, or maybe and I’m moody and it’s not the best time to be analyzing my life. Or maybe this specific project wasn’t my best.
It’s never one day you wake up and all your problems are sorted out. There are years of slow trickling into my life. Slowly, the pieces will come together. So I’ve been trying to remind myself to not prematurely give a verdict to my life because of whatever outcome I’m in right now. It’s never all or nothing.
As the Days go by
On the same note, when it comes to my art, I’ve been trying to remind myself it’s not one thing that will lead me to my desired destination, but an accumulation of work, all varying in quality, style, and effort. Expecting every execution to be perfect is a form of absolute that doesn’t help the journey.
To me it’s a sign of immaturity to think everything’s a mess. It’s not. Identify what’s wrong. Is it the colour? Is it the shape? Are my expectations realistic? Bringing myself out of self-pity and zeroing in on the root of the issue has changed things for me. Identifying the correct emotions and the correct problems makes it so when I fall, it isn’t the end of the world.
Two things that aided in shaking off this habit and rewiring my thinking has been two things: my Routine & the guards: shurk and sabr.
I was always felt I was too “free-spirited” for a routine but helps me stay consistent, even when I don’t feel like it. Routine allows me to stay on track with the goals I set for myself. It feels tempting to stop on the days when you don’t feel like things are working or moving. But routine forces you to keep doing the same thing over and over again. So even on the days I do succumb to this thinking again, it doesn’t actually manifest into my life. And when I reach the days I do feel confident again, instead of feeling sad that I stopped and destroyed everything during that slump, I find myself saying “thank God I inched forward”
Shukr & Sabr
I feel like I speak about this way too much but it’s like I came across a lake, and every day I see that the there more are depths and depths to this lake, each with it is own gems. I keep learning about how beneficial sabr is.
Sabr is like the reigns of my heart, preventing me from going to high (ego) or too low (despair). I’m either pulling down one or tugging on the other. It helps me to stay in the middle, away from either extremes.
All in all,
Black and white thinking doesn’t help because it’s not true. When I hold a ruler up to my life, measuring it, I try to stay away from the end points. Life is not pass or fail. When I miss the mark there’ll always be more chances to get it right. There’s always tomorrow.
So whenever a failure hurts, I say “asli, remember to stay from absolutes”