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The 3 Root Causes of All Suffering

Last week I wrote a post here about the importance not living according to other people’s expectations. Part of the reason I wrote that post is that I needed an outlet to express what I was feeling. As I thought more and more about the conversation I had with my parents, I started to find myself sinking into a deep, frustrating, anxiety-ridden depression. I had a series of self deprecating thoughts that kept building on each other that went something like this:

“ Wow, this is kind of lame”

“ Even my own parents think I can’t figure this dating thing out”

“I feel like a fu#$#ing loser because of this whole situation”

“ What the hell is wrong with me?”

Before I knew it I felt like complete shi#$3. The power of questions can work in a negative way too. By saturday it was so bad, that I could barely get myself out of bed (even though I did and the surf sucked balls). It’s amazing how challenging it can be sometimes to take your own advice.  But in that moment I realized, I had created a hell of alot of suffering for myself and that all my suffering, pain, and happiness were only caused by three things.

Attachment to an Outcome: Over the course of the week I started to dwell on the fact that it had been a while since I have been in a relationship. Anytime I went to a networking event and was talking to any girl, all I could think about was the conversation I had with my parents over the course of the weekend (healthy huh?). I’m sure that did wonders for how attractive I came across. I felt this incredible amount of pressure for every interaction I was having to lead somewhere and of course that was a perfect way to ensure that I would disguise all of the true magnetic qualities that lie within.

External Validation: Don’t get me wrong. I like connecting with people as much as the next person. Hell, I don’t ever live alone because I hate being by myself. I have a strong need for affiliation. But, it’s a very fine line. When a need for affiliation starts to border on a need for external validation, then you really risk putting yourself in a very unhappy place. Self actualization is truly about getting to a place where your energy and emotions are not impacted by external validation. I’m not saying I’m there, but I’m starting to become aware of what gets you there.

In the 4 phases of relationships that will self destruct, I should have mentioned that you should not be looking to a relationship to complete you, but rather it should complement you. To be honest, I’ve been feeling this funk of “this is the missing piece of the perfect puzzle.” If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know that I live a life that is pretty damn amazing and I look forward to it everyday.  So, to feel that I’m missing something would probably seem ridiculous looking from the outside in.

Lack of Presence: We’ve talked endlessly here at the Skool of Life about presence, so I’m not going to go too deep into this. But lack of presence is essentially a byproduct of the other two causes of suffering. It’s impossible to be searching for external validation and attached to an outcome, while being present. Both those things exist in a future moment and thus kill in any shot of you being present.

At this point I’m convinced that putting and end to suffering comes down to these three simple things. While the concepts are simple, implementing them not so much. Like I said, I have a hard time following my own advice and found myself in a funk that I had not felt for quite some time.  So, I don’t have all the answers. How do you incorporate all of the above into your life? Let me know so I can start moving in that direction.

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