Our conscious mind likes to hide stuff from our unconscious as a way of protecting ourselves, but only short-term. In the long-term of things, it actually severely destroys us. It’s not like I’m an expert when it comes to culture — but I have noticed that the American culture seems to be all about putting on a happy face and pretending everything is okay… numbing ourselves with overeating and pain medications… the perfect family portrait. I don’t know, surely it’s not exclusive to the USA (probably all first-world nations), I think it is a universal human trait to see things through filters. But it does seem like we overemphasize it here. It creates a lack of empathy when we only see the best in others and can’t imagine what they may be going through behind all that.
To “go against your intuition” is to deny yourself, to be dishonest with yourself, about… not just happiness… but what gives you a sense of purpose and what makes you live life to the fullest.
I have definitely experienced this myself. Please don’t worry, recently, I feel like I have been more connected to my true self than I have in years. I’m still letting fear get in the way from time to time, I still have my struggles and doubts, but I feel myself going upwards no matters how many setbacks I may face. Don’t worry about me because if I was still 100% in this phase then I would not even be able to write this post! I have seen other people go through this too. These are little things we all need to think about on a daily basis because it is way too easy to fall back in a schlump.
Here are little signs that you may be going against your intuition, that you need to get out of your comfort zone and make some changes:
- A different type of exhaustion. It doesn’t matter what you do or how much caffeine you consume. You’re just always tired. You may blame it on how busy you are, or how tiring your responsibilities are. All of your “obligations” should be giving you energy, not draining you. The body is capable of so much more strength and endurance than we realize — it’s the mind that tires us. Think about situations when your adrenaline was pumping and you performed fantastically, verses times you had to drag your feet just to complete a basic task.
- Unable to clean — messy home, messy car, messy life… Believe it or not, cleaning is a form of meditation: it forces you to be in the moment, be aware of your surroundings, be with your thoughts. Sure cleaning is not very fun, especially if you’re tired or someone else is telling you to. It’s not like you have to scrub the whole bathroom every single day as soon as you get home from work. But if you can’t even put something in a trash can then that’s pretty bad.
- I believe the psychology behind this is that you are stuck in short-term thinking, disliking the work that is put into cleaning, unable to think long-term and imagine how much better you will feel in a cleaner environment. And short-term thinking is what prevents you from making scary changes that will benefit long-term.
- In constant, I also want to add that OVER-CLEANING is just as bad. I think it’s due to control issues — taking charge of your environment but in an obsessive way. Unable to accept the fact that life is messy and nothing is perfect.
- Stop taking care of yourself. No more working out, no more moisturizing your skin, poor hygienic habits, unhealthy diet. You make “tired-ness” or “busy-ness” or “aging” an excuse. It’s not simply about looking good, it’s about feeling good, which will naturally make you more attractive.
- Making passive aggressive comments without even realizing it, without even meaning to hurt someone. This is a way of our subconscious telling us that we have anger: towards someone, or maybe multiple people, or towards a situation, or perhaps only yourself. But then our conscious mind says, “well I didn’t mean to say that! I would never try to offend someone like that on purpose!” Lies, lies, LIES!!! The anger is slipping out but you are not fully letting it escape.
- Unhealthy sleeping patterns — either sleeping way too much, not getting nearly enough, constantly napping, insomnia, waking up in the middle of the night wide awake, etc. etc. This is probably the most obvious symptom.
- You have no hobbies or skills. Even worse, you have hobbies in mind but you never seem to “get around” to them. Basically, you just watch TV. You know way too many characters and plot lines. Hey, there is nothing wrong with a Netflix binge here and there, that’s fun! But if you do not take the time and effort to challenge yourself, even just on occasion, then your brain turns to mush.
- You’re scared — little things scare you more than they really should, you let fear control you, and you worry about everything. The thought of leaving your comfort zone doesn’t even cross your mind.
- A different type of headache. It’s like something is tugging on your mind as you try your best to ignore it. The smallest things make you irritable for no good reason. You might randomly snap without warning and make a huge public scene.
- You’re waiting for things to get better. Life is happening right now. “The future” is always going to be “the future”… if that makes sense (this one is hardest to explain). If something feels off in the moment then how much is that really going to change? Time is an illusion and doesn’t even exist. For example, your teens and twenties may seem young, but no matter your age (even 5-years old!) you are the oldest you have ever been. You can imagine yourself a few years down the road, but it will always be just an “imagining,” and so it’s easy to lie to yourself and say that you will feel differently in the future.
And so I’d like to end on a positive note. Denial is more powerful than we realize even though it comes with good intentions — it just wants to protect you. You have to show your denial that you don’t need protection, that you are strong enough for truth. Face your denial like a friend, not an enemy. Understand the good intentions it came with. But make it understand, with care, that you are much better off without it.