Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have an ego. And sometimes that can be a good thing, it may push us to get up and take action, or motivate ourselves to do more than we are because we know we can do better. But many times it gets in the way of listening to ourselves and what we really need. It’s like a bull running amok in our minds, sometimes with dire results. Even when I was at my lowest my ego would still get in my way, causing me to spiral down further because I thought I was better, too good to admit I was beat, or to do the work to get myself on a better path. I still thought I was a piece of crap, but I was a the biggest piece of crap you were ever going to meet! Even today, even though I love myself today, my ego can step in and try to run the show, telling me I deserve better than I have, or more, I can do better because I’m not doing enough, or should be doing more, or by just talking loud enough that it drowns out that voice inside of me that cares for my well-being and self-care. The ego is like a suction cup that attaches itself to anything we care about, an object, a goal, a dream, an idea, a person, it’s just clamps itself right on there and hangs on for dear life, never satisfied, and always boastful. So, how do we keep the ego in check and get it to release it’s grip? We practice detachment.
Detachment is tricky, because we all live in a results oriented world, as far back as our childhood, there were prizes for sports, academics, even popularity, we are taught to want to seek out that prize, to be first, to be the best, and whether we ever got it or not, it was always dangled in front of us. But what if we weren’t motivated by being the best, but by being our best selves? By doing the best we can each day and knowing that is enough, that that is our prize. Every day brings new challenges. We aren’t working with the same tools each and every day. We may be tired, injured, distracted, hungry, or just having an off day, no two days are the same, so why do we expect that we should react or have the same amount to give each day. Detachment is about staying out of the results. Doing the best we can and being proud of that. Of that being enough. Did that just make a shiver do down your spine SLAYER? What if you stopped beating yourself up for what you couldn’t or didn’t do and were proud for what you did? What if you didn’t have expectations going in and just accepted it for what is was, and kept yourself open to what it could be? What if you trust you are exactly where you are supposed to be, and experiencing what you are supposed to? What if, instead of beating yourself up, you asked yourself what you learned? Easier said than done? Well, here are a few ways to practice detachment.
1) Take Note Of Your Thoughts. Learn to listen to the chatter in your head, make note of what it’s saying, and when it’s typically saying it. Notice what you feel, do you feel anxious, jealous, anger, hopeless, proud, vain, beaten. Notice what it does to your physical body. Look for the patterns of when it flairs up, and why it seems important to you.
2) What Are The Facts? Take note of what is the ego saying and what the actual facts of the situation are. If you didn’t get a job your ego may tell you your career is over, when in fact you’re just disappointed. The ego likes to embellish and tell you the stakes are much higher than they are, and the ego likes to live in the future and the past, but in the present, everything is still OK, nothing changed. Stay present and focus on the facts.
3) Let Go Of Expectations. Learn to live in the moment and look at the uncertainty of what’s next be exciting, find a way to embrace it. There is no security of what comes next, no one knows what that is, so learn to find strength and stability in the now, and take each step as it comes, when we stay present we have a much stronger foundation than if we’re only focused on the future and missing the direction and signs along the way.
4) Check In With Yourself. Find a way to quiet your mind and check in with yourself, look for the patterns that keep coming up and asking yourself why you’re making them so important. Work to let them go by practising ways to calm the mind, whether through breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, a walk, whatever connects you to the inner you and allows you to listen to your thoughts.
5) Allow Yourself To Make Mistakes. We are all human, we are all learning, we all make mistakes. Allow yourself to stumble, that’s how we learn. That’s not a moment to beat yourself up, it’s a victory that you recognized where you went wrong, and it gives the opportunity to do it right or better next time. Don’t let your ego tell you failed. You only fail when you listen to your ego.
Learning to detach from our ego offers us a freedom to just be, to be whomever we are at any given moment without putting limitations or expectations on what it’s supposed to look like or what we’re supposed to accomplish. Just do your best in each moment, and know that is more than enough. SLAY on.
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you place unrealistic expectations on yourself to always win or be the best? Why do you think you do this? Do you think that is serving you? How do you think it’s harming you? What can you do to stop harming yourself? Do you get caught up in other people’s expectations and trying to live up to them? Do you get caught up in your own? If you fall short, do you beat yourself up? Practice detachment SLAYER. Practice believing that you are more than enough, that what you are able to do in each moment is enough, that doing your best is more than enough. You’re already a winner SLAYER, just for showing up today.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you