One of the biggest issues for me over the years has been how to make the mind an ally instead of an enemy. Everyday suffering is largely mental. We obsess and worry. We are haunted by old hurts and anticipate new ones with anxiety. For many people, the same four questions keep cropping up to exacerbate these feelings:
1. "What's wrong with me?"
2. "What's going to happen?"
3. "How will I ever get out of this?"
4. "Where will the money come from?"
Making these thoughts go away is extremely difficult. They are persistent and never seem to resolve themselves. The solutions we try to find don't work either. We ignore the nagging questions—a form of denial—or we reassure ourselves that there is nothing actually wrong, which, ironically, only stokes the worry and doubt. Another tactic? We try to offset our anxiety by proving our worth through the pursuit of money, power and accomplishment. This can result in riches and success, but it doesn't put end to the fear or the idea that the future holds something dreadful and unknown.
It's necessary to try a new way, one that allows our mind be our friend and not our enemy. To do that, we have to move from the level of the problem to the level of the solution. The first step is to take an honest look at what the four questions are doing to you and where they come from.
"What's wrong with me?"
This thought arises from personal insecurity, self-doubt, and judgment against yourself. When people wrestle with self-doubt, they generally get stuck saying opposite things to themselves: "There's nothing wrong with me" one day and "I'm a mess. Everything is wrong with me" the next, as circumstances swing from good to bad. Neither extreme is true, but that's not the point. The false answer becomes a ritual, a fixed response that gets nowhere. Other ritualistic thoughts would include "I keep doing this to myself," "I'm stupid," "I'm all alone," "I never get a break" and so on.
The problem is that you're trying to answer a question that is self-defeating to begin with. Instead, you must look at why the question arose and solve that problem—which is insecurity. You are giving away your power. Security comes from being centered in the self.
Next: How to stop questioning the future