More is better. Perfection is the only
acceptable goal. Bigger is best. Enough is never enough.
When did true nobility become about beating everyone
else instead of being better than you used to be?
The constant comparisons, unrealistic desire for perfection and unattainable
pressure to have the perfect body and succeed at everything is causing sensory
overload for our children and for us as adults. Kids today seldom have a spare
minute between after school activities and home- work. As therapists, we know
the next wave of child abuse is indulgence. Kids are no longer encouraged to
explore their inner world in order to establish strong character traits and core
values. Instead they are taught to conquer the outer world and be at the top
of the heap.
As adults, we seldom have time for anything beyond work, stock portfolios and
organizational activities. Between the networking and the Internet, there is
almost no time for imagination, creativity and exploration into the unknown.
Most of us have no idea what it feels like to simply listen to our own inner
guidance, and neither do we identify it as the most important source of information – even
though it is. So what’s the big deal? Isn’t all this good competition
and external motivation exactly what we need to be the best we can be? NO!
Having great values is wonderful, however, how we integrate those and the practices
we set up to incorporate these values into our lives can be adding stress and
can also set us up for failure. For instance, Nelson and Prilleltsky, a couple
of psychologists in New York point out that having a value for personal well-being
is great unless your belief leads to self blame and shame when you are not meeting
goals established by society. If personal well-being is motivated by an internal
locus or center of control, it leads to self-empowerment, greater control on
our choices, enhanced self-esteem and a more positive identity. In other words,
competing with you is the most growth-oriented path to excellence.
I have a plaque on my wall that reads,” Life is not measured by the number
of breaths we take, but rather, by the moments that take our breath away.” The
quality of life you experience is the most important thing. It’s the only
thing you can take with you when you leave this planet. These precious experiences,
moments of deep connection and conscious quantum leaps become the fabric and
fiber of your soul. What good are all those external goodies if you can’t
feel joy and happiness? So if being best and having the most doesn’t get
it, what does?
Most will tell you, positive, supportive relationships, a sense of purpose, participation
in social community and the welfare of the planet and a sense of safety and acceptance
with ourselves is critical to happiness. No matter how sophisticated you are,
the bottom line is that love is the only big deal.
When you have a sense of self-love and acceptance, you are able to move out of
coercive, manipulative and controlling behavior and into compassion. The goal
becomes one of mutual-empowerment and the need for force of any kind dissipates.
When you have a sense of community and love for the rest of humanity, forgiveness
and compassion follow and an understanding is created that removes the sense
of separation and division. When the frenzy, chaos and drama are removed the
body’s immune system can function properly again and health improves.
We are sitting on the edge of a consciousness evolution. Most of you are feeling
it. That voice that keeps asking is this all there is, keeps getting louder.
The sense of never being filled up still growls in the pit of our stomach and
the insufferable sense of separation and isolation even in the midst of relationships
is becoming nearly intolerable.
It’s time to ask what really matters?