More Than a Book Review…


You know I have read my fair share of “self-helps.” I have done my fair share of prayer, scripture, positive reinforcement and when nothing else works – the art of simply fighting the air. However, in 2016, I realized it was finally time for me to start cutting through all my baggage, that I had no choice with holding onto all my extra crap, and that it was time to finally stop running from my pain.

That through all my ‘running,’ I have actually created more pain, and it was actually the one place I need to go to find peace. Or as Mark Manson says in ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,’ “Many people may be to blame for your unhappiness, but nobody is ever responsible for your unhappiness but you. This is because you always get to choose how you see things, how you react to things, how you value things.”

Mason’s book has quite easily summed up the balance I have struggled to find.

His way of intertwining academic research, jokes, and his ability to make the complicated things simple, allowed me to comprehend his ataraxia. That through “improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better”

And let me tell you, my lemons?!? Well I couldn’t stand them! I was so afraid of their actual taste that I literally caused physical pain to myself instead of dealing with it.

How?! Why?! That doesn’t make any sense?!

Yeah, I hear ya!

Trust me, I was telling myself the same exact things. However, all I could seem to find, repetitively was heart break compared to the right answers or antidote.

I was so out of my depth when it came to understanding what a monster anxiety can be. To recognize how strong and powerful the mind is. Especially, when it is fighting against you compared to with you.

That, to beat it, you literally must stop thinking about what you don’t really know you are thinking about.

Makes sense right?!

Okay, okay, a better example.

As I have stated before, one of my main anxiety symptoms was/is feeling like I have a swollen tongue or tingly tongue. Before, I would try and fight it or get scared of it, which would always make the symptom worse. Now, I know that it is my subconscious. That somehow my brain has created this loop where at certain times, even though I ‘feel’ that I am not thinking about it or looking for it, it is there.

My mind knows how to trigger these symptoms without any help from ‘conscious’ me.

(What a dick, I know) ha

Again, through Mark’s book, he breaks that down. He writes about how we shouldn’t always focus on finding the ultimate ‘right’ answer. That we should make it more simple. That we should chip away at the ways we were wrong today so that we can be less wrong tomorrow. 

That with some grace, compassion, forgiveness, and love we can truly start to master our sense of self. That does not mean you have to find yourself or figure out who we are to a T. It means that we have to realize, humbly, that we are just one being in this massive 7.5 billion being world. That we were raised in an environment that we did not choose and that we should have the honour and/or respect to be conscious of that.

 “Before we can look at our values and prioritization and change them into better, healthier ones, we must first become uncertain of our current values. We must intellectually strip them away, see their faults, and bases, see how they don’t fit in with much of the rest of the world, to store our own ignorance in face and concede, because our own ignorance is greater than us all ….. This means giving up your sense of entitlement and your belief that you’re somehow owed something by this world. This means giving up your supply of emotional highs that you’ve been sustaining yourself with for years.”

Entitlement, me?!?

Yeah its hard to look at yourself in that way right?!

It sure in the heck was hard for me to take an honest look at myself.

I mean everything that I have achieved, my story, my success, is because of me?! Right? It is because of my hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. It is because I didn’t give up. That I accepted and took strength in the fact that nothing was handed to me and that I am where I am now! That when people thought I was done, stopped believing in me … Welp, I found a way to keep going! I damn well deserve this!

This is what I am owed, is it not?!!

That was my dialogue on the rainy days. When my hope seemed bleak. That is what I thought would push me through to fight another day.

Can you relate?!

Have you never said?!  I want that or I deserve this?! Or I believe this, how can YOU believe that?! No, no what I believe is the ONLY way. Have you NOT read the bible?! Have you not studied His words?!

Yahweh of the Bible?! No no no, it is and ONLY Allah of the Qur’an. Allah is the TRUE God etc, etc, etc …

Those words folks, these arguments, these words are the foundations of so many wars, deaths, suicide, and gut wrenching pain. Yes, of course, there is also tremendous amounts of joy, love, faith, hope, and more. However, why does it seem we are so afraid to see and love each other from our neighbours eyes compared to our own.

To be educated, respectful, kind, and loving instead of hateful, judgemental, disrespectful, and violent.

I sure in heck have been on one side. I have never been physically violent, but let me tell you, my words, my judgements?! Well they might as well have been because I never understood the gravity of my words until it was too late.

Do you?!

Can you understand the truth, see the strength, and power of Mason’s Law of Avoidance:

The More something threatens your identity the more you will avoid it. This is why people are often so afraid of success for the exact same reason they’re afraid of failure. It threatens who they believe themselves to be. 

So as I said before.

2016 was a year of heartbreak. However, we should never forget that the beauty of heart break is also the strength (we find) when we reach the other side. To be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and have the faith that we can get there. That we will get there.

That you don’t get a day back. That finding yourself doesn’t always need to be right now. Because when you can keep striving for a better self, when you can learn of new cultures, new stories and journey’s, it allows us to remain humble in our judgements and accepting of the true differences of others.

“Just as one might suffer physical pain to build stronger bone and muscles one must suffer emotional pain to develop greater emotional resilience, a strong sense of self, increased compassion, and a generally happier life. “

“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”

-by Freud taken from “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”


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