Who told you that you weren’t enough?

Kalki Koechlin in Margarita With a Straw (2014)

Think about it….

Time’s up, it was YOU.

The more time I spend with my thoughts, the more I begin to realize that the only home I ever needed was the home within myself. The very home that I had thrown eggs at, toilet papered and graffiti-ed my whole life to the point that the internal state of my mind more or less resembled a crack house.

Okay, here’s the thing. Your mental palace, bungalow, crack house, whatever it is, might be in shambles right now. But if you think about it, it is the only space in the world that is truly yours. That quote, “wherever you go, there you are” really hits this on the nail. Because you can’t uproot all your physical possessions and take them wherever you go in this world. Neither can you take your home or your car everywhere. The one thing you get to take everywhere is the state of your mind.

Which is why I say you have to love your crack house of a mind. Because once you start loving it, you can start renovating it. You can give it that paint job it so desperately needs, fix up the boarded up windows, install a new lighting system and acknowledge that god awful graffiti that has built up over the years.

Yes, you made your mind into the state that it is today, which is in turn influencing how you are reacting to reality and then how reality reacts to you. It’s a mobius strip in a sense, an infinite loop of your own making. But once you objectively realize that You. Are.Not.Your.Thoughts, this is it. This is the path towards liberation.

You are not your thoughts. You chose to identify with your thoughts because before you were mindful, you took your subjective appraisals of the world as objective truths, internalized them, repeated them ad infinitum and created the mental barriers and blockades that leave you feeling panicky and restless these days because you feel like you’re not living up to your full potential and feel too overwhelmed by everything to effect any change.

You in effect became those caged tigers in zoos; you know the ones I’m talking about. The ones that prowl around their glass enclosure, clearly frustrated by the invisible boundaries between themselves and the delicious human fiesta. They’re probably beating themselves up internally like: holy shit. I can literally see and smell freedom from where I’m standing. But why is my stupid ass trapped in here when I could be ripping that dude’s head off? This is so frustrating.

But unlike tigers in zoos, our blockades aren’t physical in nature but mental, and can, with practice become easier to conquer.

If a university student goes through their academic life acing all of their courses, but repeating to themselves the sentence “I’m actually so stupid, and these successes were just flukes” then it does not matter that they pulled an A in Calculus, Organic Chemistry or any other notoriously hard subject. They will believe themselves to be stupid, incompetent and unworthy of praise because they have identified with and created a reality out of the sentence they have repeated in their mind. This subjective sentence has become their objective reality because of their mental repetition. Similarly, the most beautiful model in the world who has received international accolades and social media recognition for her looks will never believe that she is beautiful if her internal state is in shambles.

What I’m driving home: if your internal state is in chaos, which causes you to look outwards for approval and value, you are playing a zero sum game that you will invariably always lose. Because there is a fundamental misalignment occurring between your internal state and your external state and you will never have enough validation from the external environment to correct your mental state. This would require you to have an almost steady stream of input from the external world in order to maintain your baseline level of self esteem. This would cause you to seek out toxic relationships in which you are codependent on the other person for the attention, affection and love you are depriving yourself of. Hardly sustainable.

But once you accept the way of the world, that this is how things are for good or worse and you start objectively noticing your thoughts from afar, you can begin the process of taking apart your thoughts and asking yourself “who put this here and why? What were my life circumstances that caused me to believe this? Was it because I was young, naive and impressionable? Why am I letting this baggage from my childhood effect me now?

Some ways I like to become an objective appraiser of my thoughts is by utilizing imagery to visualize them as something that is separate from my self. For instance, I glance in the mirror and hear the thought: “you’re ugly and would be much more attractive if only you had x, y, z.” Instead of identifying with this thought and feeling like shit, I imagine this thought floating above me like a banner attached to an advertisement plane, or as a particularly colorful piece of graffiti on an alleyway I commonly pass by on my evening walks. The more creative you can get with this process, the better.

Imagine, if we could go through our lives with our minds as the best tool in our tool kit. I liken it to walking around with a hammer. You wouldn’t walk around, hammer in hand and aimlessly pound things with it (unless you’re into that sort of thing?) But once you find a use for the hammer, say, you see a nail that needs to be pounded in, you’ll pull it from your arsenal and use it. Then you’ll put it back in your tool kit.

What if we could use our minds like this? Instead of reacting to the thoughts in our heads and being pushed and pulled by the heady temptress that is our emotions, what if we lived in the moment and called forth the power of our minds only whenever we required it?

Just how unstoppable would you be?