*Occasionally I write a blog post about mental/emotional health. This is one of those posts.*
I moved to this place with my new partner, bursting with love, full of hope. But I also came to this place emotionally fragile. I expected our love to fill a void I felt in my life. In hindsight, I see that resting your whole happiness on one person is slightly foolish.
This is the place where I have been briefly, exquisitely, happy. Where we laughed, ate and sang along to bad songs on the radio. A place where we curled up together, finding safety in each other’s arms. A place where we shared spiritual ideas and meditated together.
“Smile like you mean it and it will be returned.”
– Nahko & Medicine for the People, Father Mountain
I live in a society that is suffering from a sickness – a society where we are fearful and distrusting of our fellow human beings; a society where any sense of community has vanished and where we don’t have a clue who our neighbours are; a capitalist society where we are conditioned to be individualistic and competitive in order to be the best, as opposed to selfless and giving; a society where we have been brought up to think that it’s okay to bomb and massacre other people because we’re somehow more right and just; a society where our obsession for smart phones and social media feeds our egos and fuels narcissism; a society in which many of us are suffering from epic rates of mental health problems.
Just me and the rice paddies…
I have been travelling alone for one month. Before this, I was travelling with Chris every day, so the feeling of being alone was all the more intense when he left. It’s been interesting observing myself: my feelings of loneliness or contentment, and observing when I have clung to other travellers so as not to feel lonely.
2012 has been a year of realisation and self-development, of recognising my faults and of making many mistakes.
I have been reading and learning about the ego, and discovering that many of us let our ego (or our sense of identity) dictate our lives. We have strong opinions: we are ‘for’ or ‘against’ this or that, and we love or hate this or that, thereby creating a strong sense of self. We defend our opinions, no matter how trivial because these opinions give us that sense of identity. The fear of losing this identity often makes us defensive, aggressive and need to be correct.
These ego patterns often rule my life and my relationships with other people. When I feel insecure, or my partner doesn’t have opinions which meet my approval, my ego’s response is to attack, or to manipulate to try to persuade the other person to change their behaviour or opinion. The ego believes that through negativity it can manipulate reality to get what it wants.