“I believe in special things, in great romances and uncoincidences. I believe that pain is a challenge, with victory to be had. I believe in infinity, and that some things are eternal.”
2014: There I was, biting the end of my 0.4 G-Tec, the one I knew I would have already lost by this same time next week. I think I tweeted the above quote… no, I put it as a Facebook status. Hoping that the likes would encourage my workaholic self and make it believe that I’m not tired.
I’m not tired. I’m not. I’m fulfilled and passionate and super okay… right?
In the shadow of a wave of impending deadlines, at the cusp of panic and way too much caffeine, I needed something to hold on to. They’re just words, but the idea is that I had to believe in something, somehow, to get through what I felt to be the end of the world in my mind.
The more I work, the better I feel, because I’m being a productive member of society. That’s how it’s supposed to go. I’m supposed to be okay, because I’m working so hard.
Back then, I was going home way later than my body would like, but it was no one’s fault but my own. I liked working very late. I was productive and, well, it made me feel fulfilled… in the way that you convince yourself a cup of coffee is tantamount to a breakfast buffet.
To do more than what was asked of me, to prove to myself that I could still power through, that I had a lot to give and that I was giving it, mind and body.
Sleep is for the weak.
I forgot what sleep felt like on weekdays. Sleep, and only sleep, is for the weekends.
Back when humanity used horses to get around, the poor animals weren’t given a carrot to follow. They were given blinders. Blinders are these small rectangles placed at either end of a horse’s line of sight. It narrows his vision, keeps the world fairly small. So, the horse just keeps going forward, without getting any ideas.
At that time, I didn’t know it but I was giving myself blinders by creating this formula: life = work. It can be different for others. Sometimes it looks like life = validation, life = ambition, life = comfort, life = happiness. When we create an equation like this, then we stake our lives at the existence of this one thing. And if we don’t have this thing, well.
So I started to step back, from myself, my work, my perceived life back then. I backed off, slowly, and with great resistance from the part of me that was angry that I was changing my personal status quo.
Sometimes, we need to back away from what is consuming our lives. You will end up craving what you always eat, and the hunger you satisfy is the hunger you feed.
What are you feeding in your life, right now?
Are you feeding your need for validation, success, power? Are you feeding your need to feel always loved and adored and accepted? Are you feeding your anger, bitterness, your greed, or discontentment? Are you feeding a part of you that you shouldn’t be feeding?
If your life feeds—or focuses—too much on the wrong things, then you are letting unhealthy desires consume you.
And if you end up craving the wrong things, it’ll hurt you in the long run.
At the time that I wrote the creed above, I was feeding too much of my need to feel worthwhile. I equated my work too greatly to my identity, and as a result, I started to crumble the moment anything went wrong with my work. I started crumbling every which way, overly-baked in the heat of self-inflicted pressure.
The first step I took to fix my situation was to write down the things that I believed in. The things that I actually wanted to focus on, instead of the things I was focusing on at the time. Then, intentionally and with great effort, I started to let go.
Let go of my mistakes, big and small. Let go of anxieties that told me I wasn’t good enough or wasn’t doing enough. Let go of my need to feel validated, approved, and worthwhile. Slowly, my equation started to change, and turn into a more balanced formula for life, which included relationships, meaning, fulfilment, sacrifice, service, faith, and more.
I’m still in the process of letting go. I think everyone has something to let go of, something to refocus in their lives. As long as you know what you believe in, let those things dictate what aspects of yourself you should feed.