Over the last year and a half, we’ve had plenty of time, frankly too much time, to sit around thinking about our lives. Why is this happening to me? Where did I go wrong? How did I get here? What does it all mean?
Aside from gaining fifteen or twenty pounds, drinking too much, and becoming socially anxious, what effect has the pandemic had on your sense of self-understanding. In other words, “How did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”
As far as we know, humans are the only animals that have the ability to plan and reason. For this gift, we pay a heavy price called “egoic suicide.” While other animals do kill themselves, like lemmings off a cliff or whales on the beach, scientists believe these are unconscious decisions.
While the jury is still out regarding the effects of the pandemic on our collective mental health, suicide rates are up 35% over the last twenty years, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Why are so many of us willing to sacrifice everything?
Examining the psychology of people is a far greater task than a simple blog post. We want to discuss how people view themselves and help you gain a bit of perspective.
Whether you feel like Ed Norton in Fight Club or you’re moving through life like Arthur Fonzarelli, knowing the right questions to ask yourself can make all the difference in the world.
What story are you telling yourself?
Every single person lives in two worlds. First, there’s the world around us called, “What’s really happening.” And then there’s the one in our heads, “What we believe is happening.” You can think of them as the story and the narrator.
The narrator tells the story with all the intrigue, conflict, and drama of a great movie. After all, isn’t what happens on an episode of Breaking Bad far more interesting than everyday life? In real life, we’re Walter White, but in our head, we’re Heisenberg.
This continuous narration makes our lives more complicated than necessary. Our stories often include embellishments that trigger emotions and deliver unreal expectations. But our worst storytelling faux pas is telling ourselves that we’re not good enough or somehow lacking a necessary trait.
Think about the story of you as told by you. Is it true, or are you taking creative liberties?
What do you want?
This is an alternative question to the one most of us ask ourselves, “What should I do?” You may also replace it with “What do I think other people think I should do?”
This question goes straight to the heart of your happiness. Are you constantly living your life for other people? Am I chasing somebody else’s dream, or am I doing what makes me happy?
It’s okay to be selfish occasionally and act in your own best interest. It can be tough to do what makes you happy, but it’s indispensable to leading a healthy, fulfilling life.
What one thing would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
Fear of failure is our most common barrier to living the life we desire. Too often, we weigh the downside of risk heavier than the upside of success. Many psychologists believe that our deepest desires lie just under the surface of our strongest fears. Some people fear success more than failure and use it as a crutch.
Think back to that feeling of exhilaration you experienced the last time you faced your fear. Take it another step further and unpack how you felt the last time you failed. Was failure as devastating as you imagined it would be? Probably not. Did it somehow create a stronger will and greater sense of resilience? Probably so.
Not trying is failure in disguise. Don’ let fear keep you from your dreams.
What can I do right now that will change my life tomorrow?
Whatever you want out of this life depends on what you do right now. The most important step you’ll take is the next one. Most life changes aren’t drastic turns of fortune but small incremental actions leading to exponential results. Success is the accumulation of good decisions.
If you want to become healthier tomorrow, get some exercise today. Maybe losing fifty pounds is important. Drive past the fast-food restaurant and eat a piece of fruit instead. Do you want to write a book? Start with a sentence. Lose the “I’ll start tomorrow or Monday mentality” and take immediate action.
“A good rule of thumb is that whatever seems easy at the moment makes the future harder and whatever seems harder at the moment makes the future easier.” – Shane Parrish
Do I realize that I’m dying?
That’s right! You’re dying. The process of death begins at the moment of birth. Every second that passes is one that you will never get back. For a handy visual representation of your life timeline, check out the Your Life in Weeks at Wait But Why.
Why are you operating like you have all the time in the world? The famous question, “What would you do if you have XX weeks to live?” isn’t hypothetical. We all only have XX weeks to live! How many exactly? Not sure, but that’s life.
Take care, even down there.
If you or someone you love needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention, and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.
Share this Post