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Might you be treating yourself like a quarry?

Happiness & Fulfilment

This morning I felt on top of the world. I decided to go for a quick walk to get outside in the beautiful chilly Melbourne sun before getting back to work.

Along the walk I realised that my mind was not ok with how inspired I felt.

During the walk I noticed myself trying to convert my happy feeling into something useful for others. I wanted to turn back from my walk to write all the insights I was having down in a blog post, or into some material for my upcoming mindfulness challenge.

My mind wasn’t having a bar of “wasting” this happy, inspired feeling on, er, just feeling happy and inspired.

WTF Andrea,

don’t you know your happiness is only worthwhile if you make something out of it?

Who are you to enjoy your happiness willy nilly with no concern for how it could benefit others?

I’ve observed this tendency before, but rarely so strongly as I’d purposely left my phone and paper at home so I had no way to turn my inspiration into a productive endeavour.

I had no choice but to walk through the botanic gardens enjoying my random moment of happiness.

But it didn’t last long before a war began in my head, my mind trying to map out a blog post, and another part of me observing the drama and calmly saying “no, we’re practicing just enjoying the happiness for ourself Neville, chill out.”

At which point Neville became engrossed in mapping out my upcoming mindfulness challenge. Until I noticed what he was doing and brought my attention back to the crazy cactuses I was walking past.

As an entrepreneur and a writer/ creator of things, there are some days where you just can’t be arsed, there’s not a skerrick of inspiration in you (tee hee, skerrick), and so you just can’t create anything decent to save yourself. These days can last weeks, sometimes months.

So when inspiration strikes, the tendency is to quickly jump on the back of it and create the bejaysus out of it, til it runs out and we’re back to stucky meh-ness.

I’ve realised that I’ve been turning myself into a factory farm of happiness – I can’t just be inspired and happy for the sake of it, I have to make use of it, it’s never just for me.

Who knew that the mind was such a bloody slave driver.

I’m certain that since I do this to myself on a nearly-daily basis, that you must too, in some way, in part of your life.

Perhaps every time you feel a bit motivated, you quickly put on the washing, start ironing things, sweeping decks, writing reports, and making budgets so as to maximise your motivated mood before it slips back to meh.

We’re taking something precious in ourselves and trying to mine it, just like we’ve been taught to do in our industrial societies. We try to turn every bit of ourselves into something of value outside of ourselves.

We’re becoming consumeristic about our own emotions.

In doing so, we strip ourselves of the richness of life, of being able to mindfully enjoy these little moments of happiness, insight, productivity or motivation, just because.

And so we run ourselves dry.

And then we’re surprised there’s nothing left for weeks at a time.

Hmm, a mining analogy, that’s a first for Project Self!

What if instead of mining ourselves to the ground, we took part of it just for us?

What if every now and then when we felt motivated and driven we just enjoyed the feeling of feeling that way without an urge to capitalise on it?

What if every now and then when we felt inspired we just enjoyed the joyfulness of feeling alive for a bit?

What if we put a bit back into the bank we keep drawing from?

Maybe we’d end up replenishing that source we’re always taking from, and we might even find that that our motivation and happiness isn’t as finite as we thought.

There’s always more, so long as we take care to keep some of it just for us, just because.

No matter what slave driver Neville-Mind says.

Pstt - enjoyed this blog post? Splendid news! If you fancy getting these snippets of self-deprecating radical honesty delivered freshly to your inbox moments(ish) after I take them out of the gluten free oven (every week or three-ish), subscribe over here.

I have an online workshop coming up (details TBC) called How to be Less of a Dick to Yourself (AKA Self Compassion for Sceptics)! I would love you to join us — It’s going to be bloody splendid! Click here to register your interest.

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