Learning to laugh at our foibles

Just how much success, money, fame, material goods, power, etc. would you need to eradicate your insecurities?

I recently read an article about the actor Brad Pitt and it was interesting to read how he is still beset by self-doubt.

He said:

‘It’s a constant battle. You gain wisdom as you get older, so self-doubt gets less, hopefully. But it’s universal, that battle in the mind between beating yourself up and finding a place of peace.’

Let’s reflect here for a moment.

Brad Pitt is one of Hollywood’s most successful actors. He is not a bad looking bloke either (twice voted sexiest man alive) and he is reportedly worth £240m.

But he still feels self-doubt from time to time.

One of my favourite authors is the late Dr. David Hawkins and I read in one of his books a suggestion that you should write down your foibles.

So, I began to make a list. It is still growing but here is some of what I wrote:

I can sometimes feel low and negative. I can feel insecure about the future. I can take life too seriously at times. I have some insecure thinking around money. I experience self-doubt. I worry sometimes. I can fear rejection.

How it seems to me is that people can spend a lifetime, as Brad Pitt alluded to, having this battle in their mind between their insecurities and a place of peace.

But here is the thing…

This internal battle, if you make it a battle, is one that you can never win.

The fact is that, as a human being, you will experience insecure thinking, low moods and negative thinking. We have very little control over our thinking. We get what thinking we get.

This may seem somewhat defeatist, but we have something huge going for us too.

The capacity to understand what is happening in a completely new way.

Our insecurities and uncomfortable feelings are not caused by our circumstances. They are thought in the moment. They have no meaning unless we make meaning out of them.

No matter how bad you feel, you can only ever feel your thinking.

The only reason we hang on to insecure thinking and create a battle in our mind is because it does not look like thought.

I had someone say to me only last week, ‘I know we feel our thinking and all that, but this time it’s real. I’m really feeling what’s happening to me!’

When it seems as though there is real substance to what we are thinking it unsettles us and it leads to even more errant thinking.

But battling with our errant thinking does not make it go away.

The ego is reinforced by condemnation – beating yourself up with criticism or punishing yourself for your own thinking does not bring peace of mind.

It just adds fuel to the fire.

Real progress is when we see thought for what it really is. We can laugh at our foibles because we are seeing our humanness rather than getting caught up in the illusion.

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