I am the first one to admit to overwhelm. Since the time I was a small child and remember saving a delicious moment until I was home and alone in my bedroom to give it thought, I realized I’m easily inundated with too much information and too much stimulation. I’m pretty sure you can relate on some level- more or less. But what about the persistent temptation to self-medicate to alleviate the stress? For many of us, that’s never too far off. Age has helped me navigate the complexity of all of this but mindfulness has been the most useful tool by far.
I’ve noticed however that some people are quite forthright with terms like ‘wasted’, ‘smashed’, and ‘hungover’ to describe this temporary lapse in judgement whereas in my day (when kids walked 10 miles to school in the snow) admitting to such shortcomings wasn’t something you’d discuss in public.
But backing up a step or two, let’s discuss options for when you do become buried by the expectations of life and you are desperate for relief. You’ve once again made decisions you aren’t necessarily proud of but have awakened the next morning nonetheless. Should you:
- go back to bed after a quick check to make sure your phone and car are where they should be
- get up and have another drink before getting ready for work
- turn on something loud enough you don’t have to think about last night
- Flog yourself mercilessly all day, telling everyone about your bad judgement
- drag your ass out of bed, vow to do better next time and move forward
So all of the above are options – some better than others of course. But meditation has at least taught me one thing – it isn’t necessary or helpful to judge your behavior. You’re probably not so proud nor does your body feel great and chances are that this type of thing is happening a little too regularly. I won’t tell you you’re a victim of your culture however there is some truth to that. All the more reason you really have 2 choices along with #5 above (possibly the best choice) – get help or help yourself. And they are both just as valid and viable. You decide what’s best.
But action IS required unless you intend to wake up on another morning, years from now, and realize that this destructive pattern has been with you way too long and needs to change. So don’t beat yourself up – in fact congratulate yourself for being wise enough to realize there’s a problem. And don’t ignore the issue if you even have a glimmer of self-discernment.
We are humans and we are far from perfect. We must accept that but also forgive ourselves for our actions. There’s nothing to gain from a self-inflicted flogging. Growing up and taking responsibility is a long process and it isn’t linear.
The practice is the same, day in and day out. Get up and start anew. Some days will be better than others but the will becomes stronger with practice. It’s called will power for a reason. The will is like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. One foot in front of the other, again and again.