We all get stuck sometimes.
Be it in mindsets, routines or in mental states, how do some people just snap out of them?
How do some suddenly change their entire lifestyle and drop loads of weight?
How did I a year ago go from su*c*dal to just knowing what I needed to do to get better?
I’ve been obsessed with epiphanies for a while now.
Once we’re out of a bad place it’s easy to look back and wish that others still there could see it too.
But can we induce epiphanies?
Can we give ourselves an awakening that was once reserved to religions?
‘“I cannot live with myself any longer.”
This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind.
Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was.
“Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the `I’ and the `self’ that `I’ cannot live with.”
“Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”’
– Eckhart Tolle
Having myself have experienced such an awakening, I thought analysing it would be easy.
After all, I managed to leave an abusive household, a soul-destroying career and most importantly give up my obsession with drinking and drugs.
But as Eckhart Tolle describes on his own experiences, this state of understanding and motivation is only temporary.
The undercurrent stays, but now we need to put in more effort to maintain it.
Still, knowing that life can drastically change, that our horizon can explode to accommodate new worlds we had thought unthinkable, it takes away the dread of all futures.
‘Later, people would occasionally come up to me and say: “I want what you have. Can you give it to me, or show me how to get it?” And I would say: “You have it already. You just can’t feel it because your mind is making too much noise.”’
– Eckhart Tolle
There are a few things that I have found helped when I get stuck again:
- Better to trudge than to not move forwards at all
Often we hope for a sudden, out-of-nowhere burst of discipline and realisation for what needs to be done. This is very rare, and as explained doesn’t last anyway.
We can spend a lifetime wishing for this to happen, or we can taunt it to.
As impatient as desperate humans are, we need to move forwards, no matter the pace.
Even if it’s two steps forward, one step back, even if we restart from 0 a million times, even if we don’t believe we can get better, results are inevitable if we do a little each day.
2. Do the next right thing
Big decisions might stump us; how to act with people we resent, whether to leave someone or how to give up a lifelong habit. Small tasks however are much easier.
Breaking up a goal makes it realistic and achievable.
I used to judge myself if the only good thing I did that day was not order takeaway, was to wash my face, was to open my essay document without finishing it.
But it’s more than I did the day before!
If we do one right thing after another, reaching out for help or doing our homework, we will be a whole lot further than if we had stuck with judging!
3. When in doubt, take your comfort zone for a walk
If we are risk-averse there’s a reason why we feel lost: nothing new every happens in our comfort zone. Doing things that scare us allow us to grow and find new areas to add to our comforts!
We build confidence, knowing we have braced unknown adventures.
After all, we might meet new companions, learn novel lessons and refresh our mind.
Boredom is a sign that we need new stimuli, so let’s give ourselves some!
4. Surround yourself with cheerleaders who inspire you
You want your social circle to cheer for your growth and to push you towards it.
This is not to say you want mindless yes-men who don’t offer critical feedback when asked, but you also do not want negative nancy’s (why are these expressions gendered?)
Your mood is affected by the people you spend the most time with.
Do they have their own self-betterment at mind or do you keep each other in the same state?
I’m sure there is more to the study of epiphanies, but unfortunately I have still collecting evidence.
When you’re losing faith, look back at how far you’ve come, even if it’s not up to your standards.
Have you managed to wake up earlier, pick up a hobby or enact a new routine?
Are you ready to accept little epiphanies while you wait for the big one?