How much would you say you hold on to things and people? Do you try to control where things go in your home or how other people should behave? Do you follow certain routines and patterns (or impulses) you feel anxious or lost without? Are you aware that the impressions of previous conversations or interactions linger forever in your mind?
Well, the thing is, these attachments, these beliefs and impressions, these patterns of thought and perception have become part of who you are (you’ve reinforced them over the years), and the ego-mind fixates them in such a way that, more often than not, they go against your best interest and self-growth. They rob you of the emotional freedom to make conscious choices, fully anchored in the present moment, and discover new possibilities of experience.
Life is constant change, even if it appears the same, and the need to control life is an attribute of the ego-mind we all fall prey to. It gives the illusion of safety and security—of being in charge. But this false sense of power can quickly enslave you to the past by taking away your true, freedom-loving nature, and turning your relationships into disguised attempts to mold others into ideal versions of yourself.
Have you ever noticed that you can go over the same issue with the same person forever, either in person or in your mind? It’s like being stuck in a hamster wheel, pedaling away but getting nowhere, except the same emotional place—with the same unfulfilled expectation, the same argument, the same feeling of being unheard, the same frustration and pain.
I’m not saying you should be quiet or avoid standing your ground when you need to. The drive to express yourself, through everything you say or do, is inherent to your soul; squelching your own voice (and I don’t mean just words) is a very self-destructive thing to do. But there’s a difference between expressing yourself or what you want and being so attached to a self-image, a belief, or a desire that you react compulsively or in anger.
Your expression reflects both conscious and unconscious aspects: the things that make you authentic as well as the tendencies you came to heal or transform. Since the ego-mind is naturally self-centered, it creates the illusion of separation in your relationships that makes you think you’re right and others are wrong; you’re good and they’re bad; they should change and you shouldn’t! But it takes two to tango, as the saying goes…
You can’t fight your own mind and you shouldn’t fight your own life; both have the purpose to show you who you believe you are or should be, so you can discover who you truly are. But even through a process of self-discovery and spiritual growth your ego will invariably try to find a way to stay in charge and veil the truth. It may turn spiritualized (see Are You Developing a Spiritualized Ego?), it may bombard you with judgments about yourself and others, it may color your perception with the gray energy of guilt that disconnects you from yourself, for no apparent reason.
Ego is an inner bully that claims ownership of your mind-body complex, but it’s also the aspect that allows you to follow an individualized path toward inner freedom while still participating in the world (to understand both sides of ego, see Does Your Sense of Otherness Keep You Small?). You have to choose, every step of the way, in every situation, whether to believe the bully or listen to your inner voice—that is, whether to choose your attachments, your fears, and your judgments or to nurture love and freedom.
The only way to reclaim this freedom is to let go, and to let go you must understand what motivates you to hold on to anything: what is the emotional ‘glue’ that keeps you stuck in the same perception? Here’s a hint: it’s the attachment to a self-image or unfulfilled desire that triggers fear, anger, or resentment, but likely from previous experiences, not who you’re dealing with (or thinking of) now. So whenever you catch yourself judging, criticizing, or arguing to create the illusion of control, follow these guidelines:
1. Breathe deeply into your body to ground yourself in the present and create an inner silent space.
2. Imagine you’re taking a step backward and slightly above, to detach from the situation.
3. Ask yourself, “What am I really attached to?” or “What am I afraid to lose here?”
4. Ask yourself, “Why am I sabotaging my enjoyment of this (person, situation, moment) now?”
5. Ask yourself, “Who am I really angry at, besides myself, and is it worth it?”
6. Choose to let go by FORGIVING yourself (remember, you played a part in this) and anyone involved.
You may try to justify why you shouldn’t forgive, why you should hold other people accountable for whatever it is that now makes you afraid or angry. But this is not about them; it’s about YOU freeing yourself from your own ego and the emotions it traps you with. You can’t control what others do, but you can decide to not let their actions or words linger inside you—to not give them so much power by identifying with their behavior, like you did growing up.
Your ego-mind creates attachments and fears to trap you in an self-defeating emotional loop fueled by the energy of your past, but you hold the creative power to heal your story and redesign your life-movie. Contact me today to let go of what weighs you down and pave the path toward greater emotional and spiritual freedom!
© 2017 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.