For the most part, we want good lives. We want to be safe, happy and relaxed. That’s why we put so much focus on science and technology to make our arduous tasks easier or automated and to solve problems.
However, if we were to observe our day to day lives, we might find something quite different. We, in fact, make life harder for ourselves and there’s a myriad of ways we do this.
For example, we play it safe. We are afraid to do what we want to do and so we simply don’t do it. We aren’t doing ourselves any favours by living like this, but we’d rather be safe than be comfortable.
Another example is that we want to be righteous. By being righteous, we can crap on everyone who doesn’t think like us and act like us. We aren’t doing ourselves any favours by living like this, but in your mind, the only way you can know that you’re worth anything is in comparison to others. But this has the opposite effect when people judge you — you start to feel bad.
Yet another (but somewhat similar) example is that we are afraid of being bad. We can’t bear the thought of being in the wrong or of making a mistake. So we constantly monitor, judge and shame ourselves for any possible thought, word or deed that could be interpreted as negative. We aren’t doing ourselves any favours by living like this, but we’d rather be in other people’s good book and risk being comfortable.
Overall, living in this way is a way of life. It’s normative. However, the implication of this spells disaster.
If you are given the insight that could lead you to a more comfortable existence, you’ll never take it. You may even agree with the insight, but you’ll never adopt it. Why? Because being comfortable is out of your comfort zone. All you know is discomfort. Most of us live in a malaise that we can’t trace back to the original source because there are so many sources.
I’m sure you’ve given advice to people who decided to stick to what they were doing and it only brought them ruin, but I’m willing to wager that you’re no different. I’ve been there myself. It seems like people know you better than you know yourself, but that is not necessarily the case.
Ultimately, you just don’t want to let go of life being uncomfortable. You’re used to it, and as a matter of fact, you’ve developed an identity or role from it — and that is exactly how you break the spell: You have to decide to drop the role/identity of that thing that is causing you to stay in the discomfort.
For example, I realized I was playing the role of someone who was searching for the end of my suffering. What I failed to realize was that because I was trying to end suffering, I became very self-critical. I always assumed something was wrong. When legitimate problems arose, I blew them out of proportion. Other times, things just appeared to be problems when they weren’t but I tried to combat them.
I had to drop the role of searching for the end of suffering, and as it turned out, I stopped suffering. I was shocked to realize that everyone was right about me. I really was too hard of myself.
For someone else, they could have weak boundaries. Their life is never comfortable because they let people treat them in any way they want. They could have an identity of a “giver” so to speak. They just give, give and give some more. When people take too much, they claim they get over it, when in reality they’re suffering.
If they drop the role of a giver, they would automatically establish stronger boundaries and maintain what they want and give what they’re comfortable giving.
Yet another example could be that you have the identity of a predictor. You have all these fantastical ideas and ideals about how things are going to be, but when they don’t happen, you get upset.
However, if you dropped the identity or role of figuring out how the future will pan out, you’ll naturally become more comfortable because you’re not banking your happiness on being Nostradamus. You can allow things to unfold, which makes a lot more sense because it doesn’t trap you in the snare of expectation.
This is a simple but effective way of stepping out of your self-created hell. We might not know when or how we developed our complexes, but once we find them, we are well on our way to the comfort that our complexes promised to locate but never could.