I Did It Too! How To Change Bad Mental Habits!
I always thought if I could just get a screenplay I’d written into production I’d feel happier, more fulfilled, more confident and like I could finally let go of the need to impress people.
Well, a screenplay of mine is in production. Yet I still feel anxious, self-doubting and the need for approval from my family, friends and barrista.
This new circumstance hasn’t changed how I feel overall as dramatically as I thought it would. Thank the universe, I’ve discovered a counter-intuitive philosophy that makes me okay with that.
I’ve stopped giving a f#@k about feeling anxious, self-doubting and inadequate.
I’ve accepted that having these feelings is simply a part of being human and denying them just inflames them. In our culture, we’re force-fed the idea that we should constantly strive for perfect happiness by being perfect. And that we should strive to completely vanquish “negative” feelings like stress, anger, anxiety, self-doubt and more.
Furthermore, it seems that the internet is also largely to blame for our feelings of inadequacy.
Social media predominantly tells us that everyone else is much happier and more fulfilled than we are.
The people in our thread certainly don’t seem to be having the same “negative” feelings we’re having. So, not only do we believe that other people don’t have as many challenges or “negative” emotions as we do; but we’ve been brainwashed to believe that having “negative” emotions at all means we’re doing life wrong.
On top of that, we judge ourselves for having “negative” emotions, which only makes it impossible to process and let them go.
In his book; “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck,” author Mark Manson describes this mindset as The Feedback Loop From Hell. He writes:
“Let’s say you have an anger problem. You get pissed off at the stupidest stuff, and you have no idea why. And the fact you get pissed off so easily starts to piss you off even more … you’re angry at yourself for getting angry.
“Or you feel so guilty for every mistake you make that you begin to feel guilty about how guilty you’re feeling. Or you’re so worried about doing the right thing all the time that you become worried about how much you’re worrying.
“Or you get sad and feel alone so often that it makes you feel even more sad and alone;just thinking about it.”
Manson says the way to disrupt thisFeedback Loop from Hell is to not give a f#@k you feel angry, worried, guilty or sad.
He says, “Back in Grandpa’s day, he would feel like shit and think to himself, ‘Gee whiz, I sure do feel like a cow turd today. But hey, I guess that’s just life. Back to shoveling hay.'”
Don’t Let “The Feedback Loop From Hell” Become a Habit That Keeps You Feeling Like Crap!
What’s been helpful for me in adopting the attitude that “negative” emotions are unavoidable and okay — as long as we don’t act out on them in ways that are hurtful to ourselves and others — is that I feel more self-acceptance and self-love.
I’ve been very good at beating myself up for having “negative” emotions, failures and for making mistakes. What I’m learning is that “negative” emotions, failures and making mistakes are essential to spiritual growth and success.
If I hadn’t failed at three important romantic relationships in my youth, I wouldn’t have achieved success in my current marriage. (Which, by the way, isn’t perfect.)
If my early screenwriting career hadn’t ultimately failed, I wouldn’t have started blogging, which made me a much better writer and less married to every single word I write.
My experience with blogging has made me a much better collaborator in my second go-round with screenwriting.
My failure to become a successful actress helped me succeed in my personal growth and recovery from a childhood where I thought I had to be perfect to be loved. I failed to be consistently self-supporting as an actress and people loved me anyway. (Inconceivable!)
I can look back on so many of my mistakes and failures (somewhere around 10,496 mistakes and double that in failures) and see the kernels of wisdom I earned because of them.
They’ve given me faith that future failures and mistakes (which are unavoidable) will bring even more enlightenment and humility (from which many true successes are born).
Here is my message of hope, love and solidarity for the day:
We’re all f-ed up; even the most successful of us are treading water as fast as we can. Failure, mistakes and “negative” emotions are inescapable and often the message bearers that light the way to personal growth and unexpected successes if we allow them to be.
So, when you find yourself at the mercy of The Feedback Loop From Hell, snap out of it by practicing the subtle art of not giving a f@#k. You’re only human, just like the rest of us. Onward ho!
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