Without committing the fallacy of Hasty generalization, I can safely assume that most of my readers wish to be the master of their minds.
This is because many of us already feel boxed in by the expectations of society, family, friends, school, religion, and employers. There is a great desire to have that small space over which we exert full authority.
Sometimes, it gets so bad that people wish to be different, stand out in a bid to assert their individuality. Unfortunately, people wish to be different without realizing that human traits exist on a continuum. None of us is as unique as we fancy ourselves to be.
What does Hailey mean by such an audacious assertion? I almost heard you ask. I mean that there are approximately 7 billion humans on earth and I don’t know the number that has lived before me. This means that for each thing you are doing in a bid to be unique, there is probably someone else, living or dead who has done that thing.
I once read on Wikipedia that the social psychologist, Erich Fromm stated that behavior of any kind, even that wholly in accord with societal mores, is authentic if it results from personal understanding and approval of its drives and origins, rather than merely from conformity with the received wisdom of the society. From this, it is easy to see that you can be authentic without striving to be different.
You might recall I mentioned it is not possible for a human being to do only what he wants to do. Unfortunately, some people do not realize this and rebel against authority in a bid to be different. This gives rise to deviant behaviour, subcultures, and people generally trying to vent their frustration on others. Conflict ensues and world peace is pushed further into the future.
What does this mean for you? If you have any form of psychological discomfort from an unacceptable (by society) behaviour of yours, be it Homosexuality, Childfree by choice, irreligiosity, or a mental health condition, you would probably be honest enough with yourself to practice mindfulness and radical acceptance of the behaviour and the attendant feelings of discomfort.
This is preferable to trying to ameliorate your psychological discomfort by getting others to accept the normalcy of such behavior, with the belief that when people see being gay as a normal thing, your psychological discomfort will cease. In many cases, they won’t and you end up venting your resentment onto the next person you try to persuade. A vicious cycle.
Like I mentioned earlier on in this post, many of us wish to be masters of our minds, but don’t want to accept that it is not possible for a human being to do only what he wants to do. This lack of acceptance causes our habitual responses to authority, one of which is a schema called subjugation. Do stay with me to get the gist of what I mean.
The type of subjugation I’m referring to is mostly internal, where we have mental archetypes from our daily experiences that tell us what, who, when, where, and how we should feel and think. You might call it self-talk, I call it the thought police!
How does this archetype operate? In your childhood, you may have been brought up in a straitlaced brand of religion, that had many shoulds and musts for a member to enter the Elysian Fields. You spent many hours studying your sacred texts which told you it is a sin to feel anger, to think of divorcing your wife, to want to wear jewelry… anything!
Or you may have another archetype of the sum total of the negative statements and interactions you had with your peers, their telling you how stupid, lame, and weird you were.
Another archetype could even be based on the books you read, maybe on psychology, relationships, self-improvement that told you for you to get X results in your life, you need to do Y!
So these archetypes operate in your mind as your self-talk, telling you Oh, Jane you shouldn’t think of doing that! Jane, you just had a baby boy. You should be happy! Why are you feeling overwhelmed? Jane, you need to believe X to be able to do Y correctly otherwise, your efforts will be futile! Jane, Jane, Jane…
This particular archetype is the critical archetype, always following you about and censoring your every move. Every thought, every desire, every emotion… This critical archetype needs to approve of it before you can act!
It gets worse when you realize that most of us, myself inclusive try to think and feel in accordance with what these archetypes society, family, religion, school, workplace, or other forms of authority assert is the right way for a human being to feel and think! This is why we sometimes feel guilt when we feel an emotion, or an appropriate emotion at an intensity the rational part of our mind thinks is not appropriate for the circumstances, situation, person, or thing.
So how can you try being the master of my mind and not being ruled by the thought police? You can try practicing self-compassion, where you replace these archetypes with a compassionate archetype comprised of the sum total of all the kind things people have said to you in the past. This is made a lot easier to achieve when you talk to yourself in the third person.
Whereas previously you would say It was very stupid of me to have done that, you can tell yourself Ross made a mistake by doing that but it doesn’t mean he is stupid. This method of talking to yourself helps you attain psychological distance from your stupid behaviour, much like a kind friend would tell you.
An added benefit of this method is it helps you associate your name with pleasant emotions. Many of us have childhood memories of a parent calling us by our real name whenever we did something wrong. Hailey, come here! Did you take the meat from the pot when I told you not to?
The sum total of being a master of your mind is when you realize what my friend, William Moore told me: many people feel oppressed (angry, sad, happy, jealous) because they have been told they should feel oppressed (angry, sad, happy, jealous) in so and so situation!
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