I feel anxiety when someone builds my reputation up. If I have a really solid interaction where the person compliments me and I can tell thinks highly of me, I don’t want to ruin this newfound image I’ve created. I now have something to live up to and feel I can only go down from there. I may be able to go up, but there is so much room to go down that I get anxiety. I believe ego is a major source of this problem, go figure. My ego has deceived someone and wants to keep the charade going. Another source of this problem is not accepting who I truly am. It’s almost as if I don’t want to show people who I truly am, and if they like me it must be because they’ve fallen for this character. If they knew who I truly was they surely wouldn’t like me. This is my subconscious thought process, not how I feel on the surface.
My ego fears my imperfections and resents them with maximum force. My ego does not want to admit that I have problems, so it chooses to hide them and attempts to transform me into a person without these problems. The issue is that I DO have these problems and I need to accept them as part of who I am. So what are these problems? They are social anxiety, lack of social skills, and lack of confidence. It can be tough to combat my ego’s fears in social situations when my problems are social problems. I need to learn to disarm my ego, accept who I am, and appreciate my existence and everything around me.
This sounds really fucking harsh, but when someone tells me about someone with “not a lot going for them” and says, “Well he’s very ‘aware’ of a lot of things,” I just think, “Oh just another person who thinks a lot. That’s not exactly a positive thing.” Well alone it’s not, but I believe someone who is aware and proactive is someone who has the ability for great change. And I believe my awareness in this scenario is valuable, but that’s all I have in this case, awareness, and I don’t know where to go from here to continue on my journey to ego death (or close to it) and self acceptance.
I really want to try ayahuasca, and definitely want to go on some more mushroom trips soon, but I want to put other efforts towards these goals. Also, I am not looking for some magical solution with these hallucinogenics, but I believe they are tools which can give me a better understanding of myself, and ultimately assist me on this journey.
Has anyone been through a similar situation and made a transformation? I’d love to hear stories and advice. Thank you for reading and I love all of you!
Yes I have been there. Long story short – I spent the majority of my life in a vicious cycle of achievement-addiction combined with an ever present fear and feeling of never being good enough. The cycle has been broken now.
You are absolutely correct that the ‘ego’ is generating these feelings of worthlessness or anxiety regarding future interactions.
- Step 1: Read the ‘Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle and then shortly thereafter read ‘Conversations with God (Parts 1 -> 3)’ by Neale Donald Walsch – these books offer profound insight into the ‘ego’ and how to lovingly and peacefully release yourself from it’s bonds.
- Step 2: Love yourself. Read this post: Self-love. Do not love your ‘ego’ which is a insane perpetual thought about your supposed self-worth. I mean love YOURSELF -> the observer -> the soul -> whatever you want to call it.
- Step 3: Meditate. Realize that thoughts arise and fade within this one space of consciousness (the ever present moment of now). Yet, there must be a thought creator (Hint: it’s you) and as with all creation, one can consciously decide to continue creating or cease creation for a period of time. Simply decide to stop thinking. Start with 2 minutes…slowly work up to 20, or 30 minutes….soon an hour seems like an eye-blink.
Hallucinogens might help – I did ‘shrooms at a much earlier point in my life – far before any real spiritual development had occurred, and I enjoyed the experience. Who knows…maybe it set the stage for the ‘awakening’ that occurred 6 years later.
The above suggestions might seem repetitive and not exactly earth shattering, but what I have found is that simple actions repeated habitually (i.e., self-love exercises and meditation) have resulted in massive shifts in my life/consciousness. I reference an ‘awakening’ above, but it was certainly not a singular moment – it was simply the first time in my life where I reached ‘base camp’ (after years of occasional progress mixed with aimless wandering) and finally got a glimpse of the ‘view above the clouds’.
Some days this view is clearer than others. But please – allow yourself to enjoy all aspects of your existence – from the most animalistic/primal urges to the most enlightened/spiritual thoughts and behaviors.
All is beautiful. And you are loved.
Quite an amazing post. You took the words that I could never have come up with right out of my mouth. “Achievement addiction combined with an ever present fear and feeling of never being good enough.” I have this perfectionist mindset and it just leads me to never feeling like I’m doing enough and I get anxiety because of it. It is great that we are so relatable and you have this amazing story of success.
I have read the Power of Now and I loved it. Everything he talked about resonated with me very well. I will check out the other suggestion of Conversations with God.
I was meditating twice daily for about a month, and then I went on vacation and when I came back a lot of things fell apart. With my perfectionist mindset comes this all-or-nothing mindset as well. So I have to either be doing everything to develop myself or I do nothing. I understand this is a flawed mindset and am working via my awareness and practice to change it. But when I came back from vacation I stopped doing most things that were self-developing, including meditation. I really would like to get back into it. I know there are tons of resources everywhere, but could you go into a bit more detail personally about how your experiences with meditation helped you defeat your ego?
Thank you so much for this post. It really means a lot.
Hey, you nailed the first major issue in any meditation habit – seeking perfection.
Be comfortable as thoughts wander through your mind, observe, but don’t judge them. By removing judgement and the associated emotions, these thoughts become far less intrusive and soon wither away. At this point, you will achieve the true ‘no-mind’ state that Eastern spiritual teachers mention. This may not happen every time you meditate, but a brief experience is all you really need.
The next step in any meditation habit is to realize that it’s simply a tool. I find it unfortunate that some people see meditation as the finish line or final stage. I used meditation as a stepping stone on my way up the ‘mountain’.
At a certain point, the benefits of the typical seated, quiet mediation start to ‘lose their luster’. It is at this point that you realize that the mediation exercise was only there to help give you a glimpse of the ideal state of human consciousness (‘no-mind’).
Expand the practice to walking meditation and other various forms. Until, finally, your entire life unfolds in this beautiful meditative rhythm of pure awareness.
At this point, you are no longer ‘performing meditation’ – you are simply alive.
This may not be much help but I have the same exact problem! I am interested in seeing what other suggest. Whenever someone gives me a compliment or praises me I get very anxious and blurt out something stupid/ruin the moment. I have been looking for some solution/understanding for a while now and i think i may have found a start. I have realized that whenever this anxiety occurs my mind instantly rushes about and i am not “in the moment”. So someone will say “you look really swole today” and i will say “thanks”…. bad example but i find that when i give my answer i often just respond reactively but not consciously. And then a moment after my response i will realize i had responded rejoining the conversation. Therefore my goal to overcome this problem is put myself into social situations more often, and to become more conscious of everything i do.
Hey! You ended up giving some advice in the end, there you go, thanks! I found your example hilarious, I definitely get that a lot too ;). I believe getting yourself in more social situations will help you in general. But trying to be present in the moment doesn’t really seem to work. I think via certain practices away from social situations, such as reading certain books or meditating, you can better understand and accept yourself which will prove to be the most beneficial for living in the moment in social situations, in my opinion.
Yes my friend, you have the key: self awareness. That’s half of the battle. The other part is actually taking action. @jzic123 lays out a good path for self-acceptance and focusing on the present. I would also invite you to partially disassociate yourself from the views that others hold of you. It’s not easy, nor healthy in my opinion, to completely disconnect yourself from others. However, you seem to be too attached to what they think or perceive of you. Just realize that the image they create of you (your reputation, what they expect, etc.) is their own creation and therefore, their own problem to deal with, not yours. Combine these two themes of self acceptance and partial disassociation from the views of others and you’ll be on your way to feeling more comfortable with who you are.