“Loser!” shouts the Voice in your head.
Reaching over to turn off the alarm clock, your back twitches.
“You’re so out of shape — once again you didn’t stretch, run or bike. Lazy.”
You’re not even awake yet and you’re hearing how much you suck. Then the other Voices chime in.
“You forgot to mail that important package and now you’ll have to overnight it. Great.”
“Did you really need that extra glass of wine last night? No wonder you can’t get up this morning.”
“Why did you say that to your colleague yesterday — now he thinks you’re a moron too.”
“SHUT UP!” the human voice — yours — growls, as you head to the kitchen to make your morning coffee. Ugh … You. Are. Out. Of. COFFEE!
“And why are you out? — you forgot to pick it up. And there’s nothing to eat for breakfast and — once again, you’re going to pay exorbitant prices for coffee to go and crap to eat. What is wrong with you?”
Everything. You feel out-of-shape, out-of-step (out of caffeine) and wallowing in self criticism and self pity.
Doomed. (It’s a bad morning.)
How can you go high when you feel sooooooo low?
The Addicting Aspect of Self Put-Downs
How often have you seen your entire day descend into disaster, driven by those nasty inner Voices of self-annhilation? One moment you’re sailing on, feeling happy, grateful and eager for whatever lies ahead. The next moment, the tsunami of self-recrimination is overwhelming you. Everyone else seems to be doing just fine. Not you.
And no one else gets it. It seems that the world assumes you’re fine as well, but in actuality …. you’re not waving back, you’re drowning. Alone.
When the low feels acute, it feels like terminal misery. When it goes chronic, you find yourself doing the bare minimum, begrudgingly, that nasty undertone chipping away any joy or zest for life.
But what is actually happening? And doesn’t it feel …. familiar? You know where the oncoming harsh torrent will land you. You know that if unchecked, the torrent of negativity will drag you down into misery.
Why don’t you stop? Why can’t you?
When Your Brain Takes You On a Bad Trip
If we look at what is going on in the brain and see how addictive this behavior can be, the need to intervene immediately and reverse the trend becomes apparent.
Consider this: your brain forms neural pathways, directed by habits, repeated thoughts and behaviors. These pathways are comprised of neurons connected by dendrites. The number of dendrites increases with the frequency a behavior is performed. Picture these neural pathways becoming more worn into the brain by frequent travel, just like a path in the woods over time.
When your brain cells communicate along this path, their connections strengthen and their communication transmits faster over time. When you speed along these indentations in your brain (the now well-worn path), with enough repetition, you create automatic behaviors.
You are a literally and figuratively ‘in a rut’ and hurtling towards automatic negativity if you don’t stop the moment you are aware this trip has started. A triggering event occurs, and your go-to is self-blame and put down, instead of compassionate support.
It is easier to go with the flow of dendrites speeding along these familiar neural pathways — in the moment. Over time, it’s harder to be happy and functioning because you feel miserable.
And it gets worse …..
Your Brain and Your Ego in Gang Warfare
Enter the Ego. The plot thickens. Mwahahahaha!!
These hollowed out areas have become familiar territory to you and the Ego employs that familiarity tactic to rein you in from change. Under the guises of ‘keeping you safe’, ‘putting you in place’ — the Ego will flatline you.
Don’t move, don’t change and by all means — never transform. With the brain conditioned to go negative, the Ego jumps in and yells “Fire!” any time you want to alter these bad habits.
Not only does the Ego condition you to fear movement, the brain delivers brilliant arguments why you are worthless and not able to move forward. The two conspire against you — as a gang — to pull you down, quickly, in a mire of familiar repeated crap.
Over and over and over and …. you get the picture. Of hell.
Do an intervention with this gang. Make your Ego (and its brain pathway) get on board with you!
Why You Absolutely Need An Intervention
If you saw a pool of toxic, nuclear sludge — would you dip your toes in it to test its temperature?
If you were teaching a toddler how to walk, would you let her try that on a busy highway?
If you saw live wires downed in a storm, would you pick them up to see what electricity feels like?
No. No! NO!!!
Don’t even think to go into the sludge of self-destruction, even if it looks and feels familiar. Stop. Really stop. STOP AGAIN.
Good. Now you’re quiet, in self-reflection. You try to hear what wisdom lies within. You hear your mind as it starts to take you down that self-annihilating, slippery…. — NO! don’t go there again!!
See how easy it is to travel down that path of self-destruction? What can anyone possibly do to change that destination?
How can you possibly keep moving meaningfully, with any joy, when you’re being railroaded by the demolition gang of brain and Ego? You can’t. You simply cannot.
But you can psych them to do your bidding.
How To Use Your Ego to Get the Best High Ever
In spiritual circles, there are many admonitions to ‘lose the ego’, even (gulp!) ‘kill the ego’. We’re humans, we have an ego and while being an enlightened god(dess) sounds fun, ego-amputation may be a bit drastic. For now at least.
But to use the Ego …. Ah, that’s where the fun comes in!
You see, the Ego can be persuaded. It can be coaxed out of fear into movement, taking action and pursuing anything you want. The Ego is vain and loves to be paraded. Loves to display its splendid qualities. So play IT! It’s fun, and soooo easy — once you know how to do it.
Learn how to inflate your Ego and run — or rather leap! — to any ecstasy you desire.
(Don’t play it safe — throw caution to the wind! Have a blast!)
Take these incredibly easy steps first before you get back on the road:
Exhale first, deeply and with length. Make it twice as long as your inhalation. This helps to reset your autonomic nervous system and calm your body down, altering the energetic state you are in.
2-SHIFT YOUR PHYSICAL STATE
Go outside for a breath of air. If that’s not possible, then walk around the room or building you are in. Do a stretch or a yoga pose or a few jumping jacks. Shake it up — literally. Start shaking your arms, and your head and shoulder, your legs. Release it all.
Do anything to distract the negative monologues. Do some movement. Drink a glass of water, slowly.
There is no benefit to dialogue-ing with your mind, your Ego and all those other Voices when the gang is taking you down. Does a mama lioness converse with a marauding prey attacking her cub? No, she exterminates it, saving her babe before it’s battered.
Later on, moments of self-reflection, of talk therapy may help unravel the mess we humans make, but for now — an intervention to stop the battering is required.
Exhale and inhale. Proceed to the next step.
4-TALK YOURSELF UP
Good! You’ve stopped the Voices, that nags which messed up your morning. Or at least you’ve moved them out of center front. Now you want that feeling of being super-high and happy. Go incrementally, taking small steps before the runway.
It may be too difficult to take a leap from misery to ecstasy, so consider going from that despair you had to …. maybe anger? It’s not quite there, yet, but it’s a step up from that sludge of negativity. Do you like being where you are? No? How do you feel being held down? Ooh, does that makes you mad?
Good. There’s a little movement present.
Maybe you can next jump to annoyance, or at least soften your anger around the edges? Wow, does that suck?
Good. “It’s sucks” is a little easier to handle.
Maybe you could add in a smidge of humor, finding the ridiculousness of the situation amusing. We humans are an endless source of entertainment.
Now … and this is the tipping point …. think back and remember times in your past when you found ways to fix a problem. Recall a moment when you were kind and compassionate to another person and in that moment experienced human connection. Look at a photo of you when you were a small child — oh how adorable! If you have a physical object nearby that you’ve created — a drawing, a car you fixed, a kitchen counter you cleaned — look at your creation and marvel at your ingenuity and perseverance.
Go overboard with your compliments — say them out loud. Loudly!
Scale the Heights to Ecstasy
Inch by inch, step by step …. climb up from the morass of put down. Talk yourself up. Repeat, repeat and repeat again — all the positive aspects of you, all your strengths, all you have accomplished. Embellish them. Re-tell them, as mythical heroic adventures, to yourself and anyone who supports you. Toot your own horn, loudly (who cares if it’s out of tune?)
Your brain will try to pull you down into the familiar ruts, your scared Ego will provide the rationale why you belong there. Shout them down! Don’t believe them! Believe the inner you, who is miraculous, brilliant and beautiful. You don’t have to “feel” the belief — just keep saying it, break the cycle, refusing to let that conniving gang take you down. Psych them out.
Never believe them — believe YOU! A belief is merely a thought repeated until it concretizes. Re-wire your brain as you re-tell and declare your new manifesto, laying down solid pathways to joy as you acknowledge the miracle that you have always been from the second you entered the world. Flatter that scared Ego to thinking, believing and acting like a universe-renowned Star!
This is a focused, mindful, forceful marathon to blast you to the top of any mountain of obstacles you previously thought existed. It’s not a relaxing stroll. You’re not going easy on this no-holds-barred event. This is high-noon drama, new life — or death. Onward, upward and CONQUER!
When you clear the top ….you will see unlimited positivity. The only limits are your self-recriminations which will stop you from joy, from ecstasy, from feeling on top of the world.
Make Ego-Tripping A Beneficial Habit
You’re inventing your life. You’re making it up as you go along. Why not make up a story that empowers you into whatever your heart desires? Use your imagination to plan, in advance, the future you want to inhabit. Glorify yourself. When you take on the perspective of self-adoration, you see who you really are.
See — and feel — yourself as the powerful creator of your dreams. You are the person in the room who’s the brightest, the funniest, the most delightful! It’s an enticing role to inhabit. Cast you as the Star of Your Life, the role you were born to play.
Rewrite, re-direct and produce your script (it’s all a made-up movie anyway!)
Ego-tripping is exciting, it’s exhilarating and luscious. It’s the best high you will ever have.
Sarah Little, New School, Manhattan