One of the challenging aspects of being a member of the current modern society is the amount of focus is put on negative events, people, etc. The heavy emphasis on these negative factors combined with our innate negativity bias can lead to further cognitive distortion or catastrophizing. Cognitive distortion can be described as an unconscious reoccurring pattern and frequent inaccurate thoughts and is often connected to our negativity bias. Besides, the negativity bias often leads our minds to give more psychological significance to undesirable experiences. As a result of the negativity bias, individuals often end up becoming more aware of negative stimuli and events. Additionally, the individual might become trapped in rumination of the previous events, which will only perpetuate the same patterns.
The negativity bias is also innate and a part of human evolution, which often was based on survival. Furthermore, the tendency to focus on survival also led to putting more emphasis on negative and dangerous situations and often could be determining factors to survival. Additionally, individuals that were more attuned or aware of threats often improved their ability to survive. Consequently, these negative habitual patterns of thought were often inherited through genes to survive and become more attentive to threats and dangers. Lastly, an evolutionary perspective helps to comprehend our innate pattern to ruminate on negative occurrences rather than beneficial ones, which is often a safety mechanism and defence to keep us safe.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the negativity bias is innate and often even emerges in the early stages of life. Specifically, the negativity bias emerges during infancy and further develops throughout an individual’s life. For example, the infants often display their negativity bias during their social evaluation of individuals that are dissimilar to them or even unknowns, which is often observable in three early months of their lives.
However, in the current society, constant worry or high alertness is often unnecessary and often related to our ancestors’ survival, which depends on predicting dangers and threats. Besides, research has shown that our negativity bias can often influence our thought patterns, responses, and feelings. As a result of the influence, an individual might experience the negative bias being evident in one’s relationships, choices, and the perception of other individuals. Disclaimer, the negativity bias often significantly impacts our relationships, especially our intimate relationships. The main factor in becoming aware is the anticipation of something negative from our partner, which leads to establishing defences before an argument or interaction.
Habits to Incorporate to Combat the Negativity Bias
iOne of the most important individuals in my life has been my father, and he has had a significant impact on the development of my character. The relationship between my father and I have been highly turbulent due to several conflicts, which often were about our opposing approaches to life. My father always appeared to be occupied with his career and exhibited some narcissistic traits. As a result, he often was absent during important moments or never found out about any significant events, meetings, etc. I often did not invite him because I was afraid of disappointing him or him ridiculing me in front of others.
My father's demands and standards were high, and often I would find myself disappointing him continuously. The disappointment was often caused by a subpar performance, which led to some consequences and often, it would be some form of punishment instead of attempting to understand. The lack of care and nurture made me a misled and furious adolescent, which, combined with the educational institute approaches, further perpetuated the same behaviour and patterns. Despite my resentment and rebellious behaviour, I was still able to do decent in school and went on to university. On the other hand, after my early twenties, I was genuinely into self-development and attempting to become healthier.
The self-development journey led to visiting and participating in most forms of therapies, workshops, programs, books, etc. Later on, I had to choose a specific field to study, which led to my current degree because it contained several modules about Carl Gustav Jung. Due to my interest in eastern philosophies and spirituality Carl Jung has been a significant character and has been as important as my spiritual teachers. Nevertheless, my degree and healing journey has led to a complete identity shift and significant personal growth. The growth has led to an increase in emotional and intellectual maturity and has been a significant factor in my father's reconciliation.
The reconciliation of our relationship has been a demanding but incredible journey. Additionally, my degree and interest in self-development have contributed to a greater level of understanding of other individuals, especially my father. Besides, the degree and other forms of education have led to me prioritising unconditional love and being able to forgive myself and other individuals. Disclaimer, I have been working on myself for about ten years to this point, which has come with several turbulent experiences, and nothing has ever been ideal or perfect.
Nevertheless, I can finally understand both of my parents, but mostly my father, and how much he had to be independent in his early stages of development. The man had several responsibilities and often lacked adequate support throughout his life, which was never fair to him. Additionally, he was subjected to the same behaviour exhibited by his father and was only unconsciously playing out learnt patterns. Besides, I finally realised that my father desired a relationship with a caring and nurturing individual, which he never had in his life. The process of forgiveness was challenging and required me to deal with the emotional residue connected to my father. Lastly, I realised that he never was an antagonist because numerous events did exist where he was a healthy father figure.
My father was never an antagonist or a protagonist, but he was an individual who attempted his best based on his level of consciousness. The main challenge was that he was unconscious and lacked a proper support system around him to become a healthier individual. On the other hand, I was being called to become that figure or individual that my parents lacked in their lives, and I can admit that the journey has been extremely difficult. The calling or vocation originated from an archetype referred to as the Self, which demanded that I become the reliable, nurturing, and mature individual my family was in desperate need of (to my older sis if you are reading this, sorry, but we both know I am the favourite and the best 😊).
Over the past years, I have been able to become that reliable, nurturing, and mature individual. However, the process was far from quick but completely worth each second because it fills my heart with joy to see the current affectionate and great family environment. The enjoyment I receive from seeing both my parents and older sister in a healthier place than before is better than any external superficial achievement. To be clear, just because I am writing such a post does not mean I do not have boundaries and that I am willing to tolerate anything. In other words, do not mistake my nurturing and caring behaviour as a foolishness or that you can treat me in any manner you like. 😊
The relationship between my father and I have exceeded the ordinary father and son dynamic. Additionally, I finally see him as a friend I cherish profoundly and have unconditional love for because our relationship is beyond father and son. My father is finally receiving the care, nurture, and support he needs, and it is coming from his favourite child, me (sorry, sis). Last of all, do not assume that I expect others to take up the same responsibility as me because it is incredibly demanding and unfair.
Over the past years, the main issue I have faced is over-identification, which often left me with a fixed mindset. Additionally, my over-identification often came with a lack of awareness of my associations and myself. Over- identification can be described as when an individual tends to excessively identify with their characteristics or qualities. For example, previously, I believed that people who marketed themselves online were a little narcissistic and crooked. On the other hand, I identified as a decent or more benevolent individual, which prohibited me from offering my services to people who needed them desperately.
The main issue with over-identification is that it leaves us with a fixed mindset, over-labelling, and puts us in specific categories, which in return only limits an individual. As a result of the over-identification, an individual might start to believe that they are incapable of progressing in life. In other words, the issue is that exaggerated identification often leads to negative consequences in different areas and can be highly destructive or unproductive. Besides, over-identification often leaves an individual in rumination about their inadequacies, which can put more emphasis on an individual’s shortcomings.
One of my favourite spiritual teachers is Eckhart Tolle, who wrote a book called The Power of Now. The book mentioned has had a significant impact on my perspective on life and my chosen approach. According to Tolle, identification is often the root cause of suffering, especially if someone has a strong identification with their mind. Excessive identification with one’s mind can, the majority of the time, lead to compulsive thoughts. Besides, identification often leads to constructing unclear concepts, labels, images, words, judgements, and relationships that might sabotage a genuine relationship with life or a feeling of aliveness.
The feeling of aliveness often emerges when someone can be more present in each moment, which is difficult for the members of our current society. Additionally, an excess identification with our minds, thoughts, preferences, judgements, and interpretations leads to less awareness of ourselves and others. The reduction of identification might lead to a greater level of awareness of thought patterns and other views held, which brings more presence and stillness. Consequently, an individual that is able to lessen their identification with various matters might be able to adopt a growth mindset easier, which is beneficial for our progression in life. However, the power of presence leads to emotional releases and required to obtain more growth.
- Once a week, sit still with your eyes open for at least fifteen minutes with the alarm clock on, but accept everything that might emerge from sadness, grief, irritation, etc.
2. Isha Kriya Meditation
- The Isha Kriya meditation is the most conducive method for beginners to become stiller and more conscious. Disclaimer, be open to the process instead of judging or denying.
3. Set up Five Alarms Throughout the Day to Focus on Your Breath
- Our breath is the most potent tool for embodying more presence. Remember to breathe through your diaphragm or deep belly breathing.
Identity is more malleable than we believe, and identity shifts should be encouraged instead of shamed or criticised.
From the beginning of childhood, we have been subjected to ideals. Additionally, several of these idealise are often delusions. Besides, we often internalise these ideals and attempt to live accordingly to them, which also constructs our perspectives, attitudes, behaviours, and path in life. On the other hand, these ideals are not entirely negative, and the majority of the time, they contribute to intentionally or unintentionally make us develop and grow. The ideals are often influenced or constructed by individuals or circumstances we have developed an admiration for, which can either be conducive or prevent an individual from reaching their goals.
The main reason ideals can be conducive for an individual’s growth is that it contributes to clarity and a reason for improvement. Based on personal experience, ideals contributed to a solid moral compass in adulthood, which has been beneficial for my progress in various areas of life. For example, my internalised ideals forced me to become a more inventive, professional, and compassionate individual. The ideals or figures I have internalised throughout my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood have been parental figures, superheroes, and spiritual teachers. On the other hand, these figures structured an ego ideal that has heavily influenced my behaviours and standards for myself. Ego ideal is a psychoanalytic term used to describe an aspect of our personality or ego that often identifies with parental standards, which often are traits an individual sincerely admires and desire to emulate. Also, the process of identification or structuring of the ideals happens unconsciously during the early years of development.
The issue with ideals often is that they can prevent or sabotage individuals to pursue their desires, advancements, people, etc. Mainly, the ideal often portrays an unrealistic or deluded image of people that are admired. As a result, the extreme idealisation contributes to feelings of guilt or shame each time we fall short of that exemplary state, which is impossible to maintain in the long term. The excess feelings of guilt or shame can often lead to self-sabotage because one might begin to believe or feel a level of unworthiness. On the other hand, if we adopt a more realistic or less deluded perception of the people we admire, respect, and love, they are removed from the pedestal we have unconsciously placed them on.
Decreasing ideals often allows us to adopt a more comprehensive view and become more understanding of each individual we encounter. Simultaneously, a more comprehensive perspective often develops a larger capacity for tolerance and acceptance. Based on personal experience, the newly adopted perspective often allows us to view the idealised people in our lives as imperfect. On the other hand, the view of imperfection also develops a level of hope and reassurance that despite our failures or shortcomings, we are capable of reconciliation and worthy of achieving our aspirations. Last of all, the world and universe we live in is highly complex, and the majority of the time, we are only able to view a small part of others’ lives, backgrounds, and upbringings. In other words, allow yourself and other people some amount of grace.
How to stop Idealising others?
The main challenge we all encounter is limiting beliefs, which can often destroy, sabotage, or prohibit us from reaching our full potential. Besides, our beliefs are often not even our own because they are often conditioned by our environment and the people in them. Additionally, these beliefs are often instilled in us from societal and cultural conditioning, which heavily relies on our country of origin or where we choose to live later in life. An example of a generic limiting belief is an individual that is controlled by feelings of inadequacies that has several roots. The origin of these feelings of inadequacies often stems from our upbringing and, most of the time is further perpetuated because of a lack of awareness.
These limiting beliefs often emerge in different relationships with various figures that can evoke unconscious patterns and dynamics from our pasts. The emergence of these unconscious patterns or dynamics is often referred to as transference. Transference can be described as the misdirection of feelings or desires onto other individuals that have no relevance to these emotions and often originates from relationships with significant characters from our lives. For example, these dynamics or patterns are often developed through our relationship with our parental figures, siblings, or other significant figures. The main challenge with transference often is the ability to become conscious of their origin or when they are evoked in a different settings or relationships, which can often lead to either a reinforcement or deconstruction of those patterns, dynamics, or beliefs. Disclaimer, please visit a credible psychotherapist if you are interested in this specific approach!
Limiting beliefs often prohibits individuals from progressing in life, which is often due to a state of mind or belief. Additionally, these beliefs are self-judgments that are perceived as factual and often come with ramifications. The ramifications often can be self-sabotaging, especially when an opportunity emerges to develop your skills or any other forms of life experiences. For example, suppose an individual has developed a belief that they are too inadequate to participate in an intimate relationship. In that case, they most likely will not take advantage of an opportunity to be in one due to their unconscious beliefs. Hence, developing self-awareness and self-esteem is essential to progress in life, in combination with becoming conscious of biases about oneself and others.
Three methods to become conscious of limiting beliefs!
In the recent five years, I have spent some time in contemplation and solitude, which has impacted the direction of my life. Also, I have realised the importance of stillness and how much it can impact an individual's wellbeing and psyche. Stillness can often be achieved during solitude but demands an individual to deal with their unconscious and emotional residues of the past. The path to stillness often demands cathartic releases due to the undealt or poorly managed unconscious conflicts, which often leaves an individual with various suppressed or repressed emotions. Specifically, feelings of frustration or various forms of tension can often prohibit an individual from reaching a calm state.
Calmness or stillness is not similar to apathy, and often our current society mistakes apathetic states for an elevated level of consciousness. The term apathy can be described as a lack of feelings, emotions, eagerness, and concern for others or anything. Moreover, individuals who suffer from an apathetic state have entirely neglected their emotional life by suppressing distressing emotions or other elevated emotions. An apathetic individual's main issue is feelings depletion, which often leads to poor decision-making because of a lack of concern, passion, care, and absence of interest in most social, emotional, and physical aspects of their life. Additionally, individuals who suffer from an apathetic state often lack a sense of purpose or meaning in their life. Last of all, individuals that suffer from an apathetic state are often at greater risk for mortality, and some reach severe levels of apathy, which can often lead to institutionalisation. The apathetic state can also be connected to a lower quality of wellbeing and life.
The stillness I am referring to often emerges after appropriately dealing with experiences of traumatic events and the emotional residues that are often left behind. On the other hand, the stillness has increased the connection to the Self and brought clarity to my life path. The Self is often constructed by both the unconscious and conscious aspect of an individual's psyche and is often considered as the entire personality. Additionally, Jung emphasised that the Self is present from birth, but the ego often develops during the early stages of life. On the other hand, the Self is equally seeking to fulfil biological drives and advance spiritually because it has contained transcendent qualities. The main purpose of the Self is to make an individual complete and developed, which the health of one's ego is dependent on.
For the majority of individuals, their relationship with the Self often further develops during their late twenties or early thirties. The main reason individuals develop a stronger relationship to the Self is because the first stage of life is often governed by the ego and the person's development, which supports navigating and functioning in the external world. However, the development of the ego and persona also comes with excessive projections, and often projecting negative attributes onto others. Despite the projections of negative attributes, individuals will also project positive attributes or idealise others.
The Self often demands decreasing the number of projections from an individual and integrating these lesser or desired attributes into oneself. In other words, the Self demands an individual to integrate various aspects of their personality and often leads to a higher level of consciousness. On the other hand, few individuals are able to obtain such a level of consciousness or even progress in the individuation process. The individuation process refers to the development of the personality to become complete, which is achieved through becoming more aware of the personal and collective unconscious. Additionally, the process also requires integrating the content but is often almost an entirely natural process that functions on a personal and fitting time for each individual.
The Journey is long and odd, soooo kick back your feet and enjoy it!
becaThe current society always emphasises rationalism and often denies other forms of approaches. Additionally, if individuals attempt to take a different approach, they often get gaslighted, shamed, passively-aggressively attacked, etc. According to Jung, rationalism is one of the most significant issues of our time because rationalism often attempts to convey that it has most of the answers. Additionally, Jung emphasised that the current members of society often highly identify with their consciousness, which limits the individual’s comprehension of themselves exclusively to self-knowledge. On the other side, Jung mentioned that the mythic aspect of humans had been discredited and forgotten, which has led to a lack of space for fables or creative outlets. As a result of the absence of fables and creative outlets, current society and individuals often miss significant aspects of life. The significant aspects are often perceived as incomprehensible topics that are often neglected, such as myths or stories.
The incomprehensible topics that are often neglected due to lack evidence or can be perceived as anthropomorphic projections. However, Jung emphasised that we as individuals should not neglect a topic because it either proceeds our comprehension or cannot be comprehended logically. The over-identification with the intellect in current society has led to categorising mythologies as pointless speculations or, at best, as theories. On the other hand, to emotions, mythologies often contribute to healing and have a valid process, which often gives our existence a glamour that we cannot exist without. Hence, members of different societies often increase life quality, which leads to improvements in emotional states, sensibility, and even feelings of tranquillity. I have to inform you that Jung wrote about this topic regarding life after death in his book Memories, Dreams, Reflections. The chapter where Jung focused upon life after death was mainly influenced by his bitterness over the rationalist’s excessive reductive view on the afterlife.
A man should be able to say he has done his best to form a conception of life after death, or to create some images of it – even if he must confess his failure. Not to have done so is a vital loss.
~ C.G. Jung
Over the past years, I have been practising a specific meditation by Sadhguru and the Isha Foundation. However, I have been inconsistent with practising his specific meditation over the years, and there have been extensive periods where I have not practised the specific meditation. The large gaps or periods between the practice have been from some days, months, and even to an entire year. Nevertheless, each time I have attempted to do the meditation, I have always left more energised, calm, present, and even ended up in better emotional states. As a result, I recently decided to dedicate 90 days to execute this meditation daily. Due to Sadhguru and his foundation often recommending finishing an entire Mandala (48 days) or 90 days if not performed twice a day.
The meditation I am referring to is called Isha Kriya and can be found on YouTube or an app in Google Play or Apple Store, which is named after Sadhguru himself. To be honest, I have noticed an insane amount of benefits from improved focus, productivity, and emotional states. However, the most impactful aspect of the Isha Kriya has been the phrase mentioned by Sadhguru and his foundation, which is ‘Do not underestimate the size of a drop. A drop is an ocean by itself’. The phrase refers to the Isha Kriya meditation because its duration is short compared to other forms of meditation, which often is around half an hour to an hour. The duration of the Isha Kriya meditation is insanely short and last around twelve to fifteen minutes.
There was a lesson in the phrase ‘Do not underestimate the size of a drop. A drop is an ocean by itself’, which was never taken seriously by me in the beginning. On the other hand, after two years, I have grasped the lesson and realised the significance behind the simple phrase. The lesson was to value simplicity and how change or influence does not require some significant act. However, often the most trivial acts can have a more significant impact on someone’s life or even the world than a massive contribution.
The harsh truth about our lives is that we often end up doing the same things repeatedly throughout our existence. Simultaneously, I have noticed that we fantasise about a more thrilling future with adventure, joy, fun, etc. However, over the past years and after chasing after several goals continuously, I realised that we often think that happiness or peace is at the other side of these dreams. Our imagination often constructs the other side of these dreams, and often we end up feeling disappointed after achieving our desired outcomes, goals, circumstances, etc. Besides, we and especially I often imagine that these achievements or dreams will make us feel more positive emotions or reconcile our struggles.
Recently, I have been delving deeper into a program by Quazi Johir called Reality Mastery, which has been ground-breaking and led to massive growth in a short period of time. The most important lesson I received from Quazi’s program was how much he mentioned an old Zen proverb, which emphasised that we often end up doing the same things even after enlightenment. Regarding regular student or human life, it is evident that we repeatedly perform the same tasks and often end up further along the upward spiral of life. Personally, nothing spectacular occurred after I achieved better marks, finances, occupations, etc. However, I realised the old Zen proverb Quazi mentioned more than a few amounts of time was a hundred per cent accurate. As a result of the realisation, I fell into a short gloomy period where I gained a pessimistic perspective on life. On the other hand, the depressive period did not last long and led to a feeling of calmness and liberation.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, a sense of peace and liberation emerged after realising that I would not necessarily feel more positive emotions. However, often or not, my chase for improvement or success was connected to an increase in dopamine levels. The old Zen proverb has proven its validity because I am currently more successful and financially stable than in the past, but I am still performing the same tasks and even behaviours. Correspondingly, I am still doing the same things, such as meditating, training, reading, writing, etc. On the other side, the execution and efficiency have improved, but those fundamental factors have been present throughout life anyways.
Before Enlightenment, Chop Wood and Carry Water
After Enlightenment, Chop Wood and Carry Water