The Best Way to Introspection

writing-a-diary (1)

For a while now I have been listening to various people talk about various stuff psyche related, and I have heard a few times now writing a diary is one of the best things to do. I never understood why until today.

I have tried writing diaries in the past but usually abandoned the idea within a few days. As much as I love writing, handwriting annoys me, I find it too slow, my thoughts are a few words ahead of what my hand can write in the same time and I feel frustrated.

Also, I have always found writing bits about my daily life boring. Until today.

Spurred on by all these people’s recommendation to start writing a diary, I decided to try again a few days ago. I gave it some thought first, thinking how to write it, trying to decide the best visual for me (I am all about visual/sounds these days), get the right quality paper and pen to make it as painless as possible and launched myself.

They say it’s best to write it in the morning, and I thought I would write mine in the evenings instead. I am rarely focused enough in the mornings to think clearly. I also didn’t see the point writing before the day had happened – what would I write about?

So, with a few ideas under my belt how to write the damn thing, I started this new task a few days ago.

One of the first things I noticed was how difficult it felt finding the time. I always felt I had something better to do than sit down and write about my day. It’s funny really, what could be more important than me? I now realise. How precious it is to have time just for yourself with yourself. So I decided to apply only one constraint: write daily, evening or morning, which ever feels right. That really made a difference. Now writing my diary doesn’t feel a chore and is developing into something so much more than I had expected:

  • Introspection

As I write about each day (whether the same evening or the following morning), I ponder about feelings, thoughts, situations, events that have occurred. I highlight the important thought or realisation of the day (with highlighter pen).

I push myself to reflect on every aspect of the day, I was going to write the positive and the negative but those concepts don’t apply when I write about me, everything is a learned or learning experience and so cannot be negative or positive. What I lay down on paper just is. It makes me realise how much of life just is.

  • Self-discovery

I am also discovering what my life really is through this diary. It’s funny isn’t it, you spend every woken moment living your life but rarely stop and look what your life really is. When I jot down a particular aspect of the day (I use bullet points), I do it quite impersonally – eg such and such happened. And then I reflect on it – adding notes below the bullet point if necessary.

When I look back at the bullet points of the day, I realise quite how rich life is. Or can be if you stopped and paused to look at it. A diary enables you to do that, another benefit I hadn’t expected.

As I reflect on each point as I write them, I discover so much about myself. I learn what makes me happy, what upsets me, all kind of emotions come through and seeing them there, black (or red – depending on the pen at hand when I get started) on white, gives me a great tool to understand myself better and thus now properly start on this self-actualization business. It gives me food about myself, my strengths and failings, and I now have something concrete to work on.

I have been listening to others talk about various subjects for a while now and recently started to suffer from mental fatigue. My mind started to shut down and not want “noise” anymore, I would fall asleep early evening within minutes of putting on a new talk to listen to for instance and started not to want to listen to talks during my dog walkies, sometimes even preferring silence to music. So I decided to take a break for a couple of days. I now realise why this happened: I was missing a part of the puzzle.

It’s all well and good learning new stuff about human behaviour every day but if you can’t apply it to yourself, it’s wasted.

I found the missing piece: writing this diary.

Then you can start to relate what you have learned to your Self through introspection. Perfect tool and great platform to launch you on to being your best self. Which is really what this journey I have undertaken is about.

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Realisation about this disease they call loneliness.

lonely

There seems to be a new epidemic: more and more people are unhappy. So the media tells us and so I have observed around me.

Many things are being blamed for this but in this post, I am going to concentrate on one: loneliness.

I have struggled with it directly myself, and I see how people I have come across, either via the net or in real life, view it: being alone would be the end of your world. Enough to be the main cause of depression if I am not mistaken.

Due to my vested interest in the subject, I have been mulling the concept over for a while now and today I have finally had a realisation on this issue.

See for a few months now, I have learned to be alone and like it. I actually love it now. And I have been wondering if it is a good thing and also how I got there as, trust me, I was always one to be surrounded by people. In fact, my “song” in Canada, within our group of friends (before the dynamics all fucked up after my husband and I split) was “All by Myself” – because everyone knew I could never be all by myself. Hated it.

So how on earth did I turn around?

I think it started with the realisation that my life was what it was now. Pretty much alone, single, no kids, and no family around. Know a couple of people in town, and I don’t mix business (work) with private life.

It was actually quite a powerful realisation: Acceptance.

You know, I have realised people put a lot of effort chasing dreams because they cannot accept their reality. Always wanting more, something better, something/someone who might make them happier. Or they escape from their reality as much as they can, numb themselves with brainless activity, TV, Video games or substances.

I didn’t want to do that anymore. I realised that’s what I had been doing all my life and it landed me in shitty situations. And that sure didn’t make me happier.

I then started to try and understand what it was about loneliness that was so hard. “They” (the experts) say it is to do with disconnection and isolation. Aaaah right, so if I don’t have someone in my life, I “should” feel bad.

Parallel to this, I was investigating my attachment issues which I mentioned previously I discovered earlier this year.

During my search to better understand those attachment issues, I realised why all my previous relationships had failed. All my fault ultimately. Not in a victimized way, more in a “I take full responsibility for my actions/behaviour” way.

So I realised I had work to do on myself to get to the bottom of why I did those things. This also made me realise that I just couldn’t be in a relationship whilst I am doing this search, for I needed space and clarity. Another bad relationship wouldn’t give me that.

And so I started to feel grateful I was on my own, as I could spend all the time in the world finding out who I truly was – apparently that helps to know what you truly want as well ;-).

Then I purposefully disconnected from the Facebook world as it is used, I realised there was too much noise on there from my facebook friends’ crap that was ultimately their own crap to deal with and I had no need to be exposed to it, or seeing how they were trying to fool themselves, or get validation, how great their life truly was. That coupled with the new anonymous account just to participate in groups has meant that I could fully control the noise I was exposed to.

It got me thinking that people who are feeling lonely are feeling so because they are disconnected from their “self”. They live their self through a vision they are given on how things should be. Not through their own vision.

Being alive is ultimately all you need to be able to be happy. The rest is entirely up to you.

Granted, in some situations, this isn’t quite as easy as that. I am lucky: I am healthy enough, have a roof over my head, money in the bank, and a job I enjoy. What more could I “need” for?

I now realise the Wants are entirely up to me. It is quite an empowering feeling.

Four years ago, when I lost my world and wasn’t coping well with loneliness, someone I knew said to me when I was complaining I had no support: “If you can get through this on your own two feet, you will be thankful in the future”.

That phrase helped me none then, apart from maybe pushing me to hang in there some more, but now, I completely get it.

Ultimately, your life is about you and lived by you. Only you can make it happen. Relying on other people to carry you on will only set you up for falls. If you can get yourself to carry yourself on then you’re sorted for ever.

I read a lot of confusion about what isolation means. Many people think it’s a bad thing, another way to escape the world, and for many (the ones who suffer from loneliness), it certainly feels a bad thing. They feel let down, they hate the world, their life etc.

The sooner you understand how you are responsible for your life, the sooner you will realise that being isolated from the world is a great way to reconnect with yourself. Observe the world, learn from it and other people, sort out your shit and then you can connect to the world on your OWN level.

All this was prompted by a video I saw this morning, which I watched after seeing some pretty negative, some even pretty aggressive, comments, about the poster the site had with the video:

isolation
Like me, many felt enraged by this quote. Then I saw a couple of comments saying people ought to watch the video, so I decided to watch it. You should too:

 

 

Although this wasn’t necessarily the point of the video, one of my first thoughts watching it was how being part of the masses actually and paradoxically means being isolated:

What the masses want, think or do, you want, think or do. No matter whether it is right or not, no matter whether it aligns with your true self or not. In fact, you don’t have a true self, you are just a part of the masses. How can you know yourself if you always listen to the masses? And the masses come in all shapes and sizes these days. Any Pro, Anti movement becomes the masses.

I came to the conclusion that Isolation is the best way to properly connect with the world, nothing to be feared of, nothing to be depressed about, nothing to be lonely about: it prepares you to “Go out in the world and fuck it up beautifully”, to quote the chap in the video (Quote starts at 11:11).

 Great-minds-think-alone

A lonely girl looking out of a high-rise flat.

Do-Be-Do-Be-Do-Be

I think I have finally discovered my life passion 🙂

Up to now, if people would ask me what gets me passionate, I just wouldn’t know what to answer. I would always admire people who would have a passion too, whether it be being an artist, or a keen reader or writer, a traveller, a horse rider, a mum even! Anything that really grabs you. The ultimate escape to the Now moment. You know, the kind of activity you are so engrossed in, you forget “time”.

Well, I have realised that I have finally found my passion, and I am pretty pleased with it too because I have a feeling it is going to take me a long time before I can get bored of it.

I inadvertently fell on “my passion” recently: self-actualizing, probably a month ago or two ago, I cannot recall (see it’s already working, so engrossed I have lost track of time), when I started wanting to self-actualize.

Growyourself

See, to self-actualized, you have to understand everything about you. What makes you, what breaks you, why – the emotional side and the scientific side. And when you finally get all that, you “self-actualize”. It’s not quite becoming enlightened but I suspect it’s as close as it gets.

I am sure there are many a better definition for the term, but here’s a simple one: ” Psychology 1. the achievement of one’s full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world.”

light

To be honest, I don’t even care for the end result, the journey to me is most amazing.

I think to self-actualize, you need certain “talents”:

  • Curiosity – lashes off, you need to want to find out all there is to know about a given subject.
  • Open mindedness: you need to be able to put all your preconceived ideas away and receive new ones. You need to be able to listen to other people’s point of views to really understand what they mean, not merely just to put your point across.
  • Critical thinking – you cannot and should never “believe” the first thing you read on a given subject. You need to look for the opposite view, you need to see those individuals in debates, read a ton, listen to podcasts etc. You need to be able to make your OWN mind up. The only way to do this, for me, is to have all the available facts I can.
  • Don’t bullshit yourself (I stole that one from Leo from the actualized.org site, more about that below): Be critical of your own thoughts and behaviour, don’t just excuse them.
  • Do-Be-Do-Be-Do-Be: this is an expression I heard yesterday from a chap called Amit Gosomething. I think this is probably the most important part of the process: do (the work) and be (relax) on alternate basis.

The work for me currently is to listen to other people’s opinions/reasoning/point of views on a subject and sometimes see how it compares to mine. Doing this often takes me to a different subject. As I listen, I make notes of stuff I need to revisit. My list of things to revisit is growing, here is a taster, in no order:

  • the Ego – My Ego
  • Tolerance
  • Betrayal
  • Life purpose
  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Psychosis
  • Manifestation
  • Synchronicity
  • Transcendence
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Quantum physics (in relation to the psyche)
  • Islam/Religions
  • +

When I start on a subject, I look up what “people in the know” have to say about it – mainly youtube, ebooks or mp3 format that I can take with me when I walk. And as I go along in my research, I sometimes get answers on another subject, or I get more questions that need investigating, the fun never ends! My pad is always at the ready for me to jot down notes too, organised in sections as much as possible that make some sense, or I have my phone to make electronic mental notes of stuff I need to look up/get my head around when I am out and about.

And then I am learning to “be” as well.

When I feel the need to be, I listen to chill out music, try meditation, take my friend’s dog for a walk every evening after work, write my blog on occasion, check out my new facebook account see if there is anything fun or interesting there, read a novel, clean my house, go to lunch with friends, work, take a break to the seaside….here too the list seems endless. Funnily though, I haven’t watched TV or Netflix since starting this journey.

I have finally realised what had been wrong with me all these years: my brain badly needed stimulating, stretching, learning, discovering on an ongoing basis. There’s nothing better to accomplish this than study the mind/consciousness. Luckily, I now have all the space and time to do this at my own pace 🙂

If you are interested in self-actualizing, here is a great site to get you started: Actualized.org

As a taster, albeit a long one, of Leo’s ways, here is a video he released today:

Masculinity vs Femininity