The Fantastic Life

Your Own Enemy

I know who my biggest enemy is — Me. I am my own biggest obstacle in many areas of my life.  I also know that within me is my own warrior.  So lately I’ve been asking myself, how can I draw my warrior out to fight myself? Below is a fine article on this topic.

Here are a few nice things to work on:

–Meditate more.  Continue to create the skills to manage negative talk and actions.  This is a long-term process.

–No judgement. Life just is. Here is a quote from my Untethered Soul calendar:  “As long as you are defining what you like and what you don’t like, you will open and close.”  You are actively defining your limits.  Let go of the judgement. Enjoy all of life.

–Accept obstacles.  Here’s a great quote by George Orwell:  “Happiness can exist only in acceptance.” 

I am living my best life when I can accept, live without judgement, and continue down my path, taking time each day to meditate and be present in the moment. 

Live your Fantastic Life.

 

Rule # 6    from my book The Fantastic Life: Know Your Story
Knowing your strengths and your weaknesses is pivotal to living a Fantastic Life. It’s only when we are honest with ourselves about our capabilities that we can act. 


Your greatest enemy is the one living in your head


By: Chirs Hutchinson | Published on December 2, 2021

You are the thing in your way. The sooner you step aside, the sooner you’ll find happiness.


Image courtesy of Unsplash, published by S Migaj.

When I first discovered meditation, I remember thinking as if I’d legitimately discovered real-life magic. The way it seemed to free me from the swirling winds of negative thought and doubt was liberating, but as I came to realize over subsequent weeks and months, it wasn’t a permanent fix. At least not without consistent practice.

Even stacked with other good habits to manage your mental health, such as journaling, reading, and a bit of physical activity, meditation will not prevent those negative thoughts from eventually returning. What it will do, however, is give you the skills to manage those feelings.

While I am undeniably healthier and stronger mentally than I was this time last year, I do still have days where I struggle with overwhelming anxiety and stress. Things beyond my control but that have major ramifications and will impact me down the road led me to cycles of rumination where I’d wander down those familiar roads of angst and obsessive frustration.

It was self-defeating.

Although I know I shouldn’t worry over things beyond my control, I still have times where I fail to immediately catch myself as the spiral begins, and thus dip into old, toxic thought patterns. So long as I take note of this and step back, I’m usually able to find my footing again and practice progressive muscle relaxation.

After I’ve collected myself, I try to reinforce that mindfulness by placing greater emphasis on meditation, returning to the practice two or three times over the course of the day. Most of the time, that’s enough to move forward, but sometimes more is needed yet.

One particularly useful resource in my journey to mindfulness has been the philosophy of stoicism. Reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday helped me change the way I approached challenges in my daily life, helping me confront them as opportunities for growth while not making value judgments on the various events or occurrences of the day.

A great example of this is the parable of the Chinese farmerWhen something comes our way, we seek to immediately label it as good or bad to give ourselves perspective and determine how we should respond, but our initial judgments are often wrong and the resulting chain of events can take any number of turns. As such, trying to judge a development as good or bad is inherently an exercise in futility that can only cloud our judgment and prevent us from taking valued action.

I tend to be an overly analytical person, which, paired with a less than healthy dose of anxiety has brought me countless hours of needless suffering in my life. But by remembering the parable of the Chinese farmer and sticking instead to the present moment — free of value judgment — I find myself to be noticeably lighter.

Rather than feeling buried under the weight of stress and worry, I keep my thoughts and attention directed to the present moment, taking things as they come and using valued action that, over time, will allow the future to take care of itself.

It’s done a world of good for me over the past year, allowing me to grow not only as a person — which would be more than good enough in its own right — but in my career as well. By silencing that inner critic, I’ve found my writing and other work to be more relaxed and informal, worrying less about trying to impress someone and more about sharing the experience or relevant information they’re seeking.

For years I agonized over the obstacles in my way, more or less taking offense to their existence as if they were being intentionally placed in my path to prevent me from getting where I wanted to go. Eventually, however, I learned that the problem was the problem, it was my attitude toward the problem; I was the thing in my way, not these obstacles.

Practicing mindfulness and changing the way I viewed the world, in part through stoicism, helped me begin navigating life’s challenges in a more effective, far less stressful way. That doesn’t mean I never face adversity or find myself slipping back into old thought patterns — they are well-worn paths, after all! — but by recognizing when it happens, I’m able to recommit to my virtues and move forward free of the lingering burden that once followed such falls.

If the “voice” in your head is a negative one, either give the megaphone to a more positive one or start re-evaluating the validity of your viewpoint and thought patterns so you can “re-wire” your brain. It might not be easy but you’ll be glad you did once you see how much simpler life can be and get out of your own way.

 

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