Why is it so hard to simply be? We have believed for so long that doing the "right" things, living out new experiences, and orchestrating our lives just so will bring us lasting happiness. But how can something made of impermanent parts be lasting?
We are praised from an early age when we do something good. So we believe that doing good makes us good. And so in turn learn that doing something wrong or bad makes us bad. It makes sense, then, that to simply be is not easy.
We've been trained our entire lives that our worth is based on what we do, whether that came from parents, teachers, peers, and so on. So, when we finally do try to stop and just be, it feels uncomfortable, like an ill-fitting pair of shoes. This uncomfortable feeling is our heart aching to feel better, less lonely, more okay. It yearns for this.
Deep down we know that constant doing and chasing is not a sustainable path toward well-being, that owning the "being" in Human Being has a much more worthwhile profundity that is worth exploring. This exploration I'm advocating for has a great deal to do with connecting to our own innate goodness.
Innate goodness (or wholeness) is not performance-based. It doesn't care if we aced the test or got the big promotion. It is ever-present. When we understand this, then we are aren't so hard on ourselves, we are more authentic in our relationships, and we can see others as innately whole as well.
Unfortunately, it seems that a crucial impediment to innate goodness is compulsive doing, in addition to negative self-talk and judgements. All different ways we evade our selves. The good news is there are ways to erode and extinguish these deep-rooted habits. Mindful awareness and compassion are just two of the ways I feel are incredibly effective in doing this.
For many, however, stopping and being mindful feels uncomfortable. But this is actually a good thing. That discomfort - as far as I understand it - is the barrier between us and our truest happiness. So, you see, that barrier is also our doorway, our path.
It is our ability to warm-heartedly be with that uncomfortable barrier that brings us closer to fundamental peace. This is self-compassion.
Another way to think of this discomfort from stopping doing, is knowing it to be our heart's yearning. Our hearts yearn for a lost love, a lost peace, a fundamental okayness from which it was separated long ago. Some say this separation occurred when we were infants, when our minds first began to cognize subject and object, self and other. Prior to this - I'm told - we lived in unity with the world and the aforementioned fundamental peace and love was infused in that unity (and I trust it still is).
Since we have been removed from that original source of unity and love, without even knowing it, we spend the rest of our lives trying to get back to it. So we look for it in others, romantic partners, approval from family, drugs, food, and so on. And since none of these ever satisfy in an unconditional way, we may live from a place of "I'm not enough," "I'm not lovable," or the deep-rooted question, "Am I good enough?"
As someone who really enjoys getting approval from others, it's helpful for me to remember this:
Self-love and happiness are not dependent on "a job well done."
Doesn't chasing feelings create more anxiety, anyway?