Coping vs Thriving
How often do you check in with yourself to see where you're at in life? What do you think is important? What constitutes living a "good life?" There are so many different ideas and belief systems that allow us to feel as though our lives are a success and have meaning. When I think of a good life, I think of it as always living in a state of higher thinking. What is higher thinking? When one can think without being glued to a "group thought" or stuck on society norms. Higher thoughts don't come about from anything mainstream. The mainstream is terrified to even put out any points that illustrate depth or nuance because there are too many people in our world who are such polarized individuals that they wouldn't be able to read into a point that has several levels. They can't condone even the slightest bit of some ideas because one bastard will take it literally and end up killing a bunch of people because "the TV told me to do it!" Most things on television require very little thinking to enjoy and also promote group thinking.
If you were to stop and look at yourself while in this state of higher thinking, you will definitely know if you are thriving or coping. The denial begins to fade away and you can either accept where you're at or choose to thrive. Are you making improvements to yourself daily? Or are you slowly declining? Could you come home from work and read a book for an hour after dinner instead of drinking some beer or wine while you shut your brain off to some TV? Have you been taking care of your body with diet and exercise? I think the easiest way to know if you're living in more of a coping state, is if your forward progression is outweighed by your desires. I am constituting desires as things we turn to for survival outside of our basic needs. Substance, TV, videogames, relationships/socializing, shitty foods, drama, sex and all things associated with it, religion, etc.
Before I get too far on this, I just want to say that I'm constantly fighting all of these coping mechanisms and fighting against myself to keep my mind active and hopefully keep working towards becoming the best version of myself that I can. It's easy to sound condescending when you're pointing out people's flaws. Just realize that the only reason I know about this stuff is because I'm talking about me and the people closest to me. I'm not above any of this, I'm just slightly more aware than the average Joe... hopefully. (Also, take a second to think about what a completely mainstream group thinker would think about what I'm writing right now. They see that I mention religion is being used a crutch and take it as I hate such and such denomination of a religion if they're really reaching).
In my case in particular, I should constantly be writing new material and practicing my instruments. Instead, I usually end up hanging out with friends, going out for drinks, watching a sporting event, or doing whatever I possibly can that allows me to go onto autopilot. (It's not that I don't get joy out of these things, or that they aren't valuable, it's that they are keeping me from doing what I should be doing). I also realized that I was fully addicted to my phone. Checking updates, trying to find anything to avert my attention. So, I decided to download some books and whenever I get the itch to get my fix, I have to go to whatever book I am currently reading and use it for my distraction. A bit more productive than seeing that Jim went to the gym and Steph ate Chipotle for lunch.
Now, just because you're in a coping phase of your life, it doesn't mean you can't be happy. Some of the times I've felt most comfortable I was most definitely coping. For me, I realized that I would never reach my potential if I kept watching too much TV and wasn't making moves to put myself ahead in the world. Does everybody need to do this? No. If you can get by and have a family and be in debt your whole life and be happy in all that, by all means go for it. The problem is that the ignorance doesn't last forever. And once you realize how unconscious you've been, you're faced with a choice to either turn back off and continue cheering for that local sports team, going to church or turn the page and realize that these are all ways to keep people in the proper rankings in society. (Do you have to stop cheering for that team or going to church? NO! Just make sure that what consumes your thoughts are ways to make yours and the lives of the people around you better).
This is going to be a long post, I feel like I need to cover more points, but also bring it home with a positive narrative of what I'm trying to say. Bear with me.
Will everyone who stops group thinking and puts their energy towards becoming the best version of themselves become extremely successful? Maybe, but probably not. Does that mean that they can't live a thriving, self-actualized life? No. The way I look at it, is if you are making steps towards taking better care of your body, stimulating your mind with new knowledge, learning how to cultivate relationships and be a positive energy to everyone you meet, is the perfect example of thriving. The chances of you doing all these things and not being happy with your life are pretty slim. And these are all very easy things to do for yourself. Did you go to the gym today? Did you substitute that candy bar for vegetables? Did you read a book? Did you spend time with people close to you and contribute in conscious ideas and viewpoints? Are you learning how to be more present in every moment and connect with people on a more primal level because you are so grounded in your own body?
Anyways, I hope we all find balance and ways to continue to find ways to enrich the human experience. Take on your flaws, don't disguise them. Accept yourself, while continuing to grow. All of this is easier said than done. I'm with you on this journey. Don't let the mainstream dictate your ideas and realize that they have to be very choosy with their points because they're meant to be digested by a certain demographic. Cultivate the present and keep on, keepin on.