See Elsa? Be Like Elsa.

As I write this article, there are many voices banging around inside my head. One class of these voices is undoubtedly dark; “he thinks you are insincere”, “she finds you really dull”, “you haven’t lived up to their expectations; it’s over”. They go on droning incessantly, dredging up painful and sad moments from the past, over and over again.

Then there’s this other class of voices (duh, of course there is, is your name Mr. Cliché?). These voices get me up in the morning. They are madly in love with me. They come out very strongly when things are going well for me. They envision my future in the most outrageous ways; an Instagram post of mine gathers national attention, and I skyrocket to fame riding on it. Or that I am with someone who, like the voices themselves, is madly in love with me. I can make no mistake; I am perfect.

But what do I know about both these classes of voices? Neither one stays. They tend to be fickle and ephemeral. They are, after all, thoughts. It is in the nature of every thought to try to violently grab hold of my attention. My attention is its peanut butter; it is what makes every thought flourish and grow in intensity and volume.

Which is why it becomes vital to identify these voices for what they are, and let them be. Let them sing their ridiculous song, dance their absurd dance. Then let them fade away.

When a 5-year old kid is overly mischievous and annoyingly naughty, you don’t suddenly come to the conclusion that this kid won’t fare well in the field of Cloud Computing and that his life is fucked. No, you simply accept that this kid is like any other kid of his age – clinically insane and high on sugar. In all probability, this kid will outgrow this behavior in time and do just fine. Just so, the various thoughts that arise within our minds represent our fondest hopes and our worst fears. They vie for our attention as enthusiastically as possible, and then fade away. To take any of these thoughts seriously is pure folly – they are mere simulacrums of reality.

How Much Sugar is Too Much for Your Child? – Cleveland Clinic
Oh boy. That’s a sugar high right there. Here we go…

Then what is real? What is not? Such a question is inevitable, for one often tends to understand reality through the lens of one’s thoughts and feelings. If thoughts are ephemeral and by no means a veracious indicator of the truth, then what the hell is the truth?

The answer, laughably simple, is the Truth. Real words that someone actually spoke to us. Real events that actually happened in our lives. Beware of the mistakes that the mind makes in this regard; it draws dubious conclusions from the Truth. Worse yet, it substitutes these “conclusions” for the Truth.

For instance, let us consider a scenario where Jane (Goodall) is picking up Harry (Potter) at 6:00 PM GMT for a dinner date . However, as it happens, Jane arrives at Harry’s house 20 minutes late. Harry makes no mention of the delay, and the two now proceed to a local Indian restaurant where they proceed to cry their eyes out over a spicy combination of Butter Naan and Paneer Butter Masala.

Dr. Jane Goodall — The Legend, The Lessons, The Hope (#421) – The Blog of  Author Tim Ferriss
The guilty partyDame Jane Morris Goodall, DBE. A world-renowned primatologist, and a wonderful human being.

If Jane were anything like me…oh boy. Her mind would explode with voices telling her that Harry’s silence on the matter is merely a façade. Harry must be seething on the inside about the 20 minutes lost! Harry hates her, these voices declare confidently. There is of course, the other alternative where the voices go, “So…he didn’t say nothing? He’s totally fine then! Chill, carry on, Goodall.”

Which of these conclusions is true? Who the hell knows?

That these conclusions are slightly supported by reality is evident; but is either of them the reality? There’s no telling. But it is important to have this ability to differentiate between Reality and the mind’s Conclusions.

This is also why Elsa singing “Let It Go” holds so much value, apart from her beautiful voice. Thoughts feed on attention; whether you choose to embrace a thought or reject it viciously, either way the thought will intensify in volume. The best course of action would be to simply watch them come, then watch them go. Recognize them for what they are: hyper-active conspiracy theorists who make sensational statements.

Facebook Enabled Alex Jones and InfoWars in the First Place | GQ
Alex Jones. Conspiracy Theorist. And a really…interesting person.

Then how does one deal with unknown variables? What should Jane do, given her position?

If she were held hostage by the voices, she would apologize throughout the entire date, pay for both their dinner and drinks, and (for good measure) offer to marry Harry if he were cool with it. Or, taking the other road – Jane completely leaves out an apology and pretends as if nothing untoward ever happened.

The only response that really makes sense is again laughably obvious: a Balanced Response. A response that recognizes fundamental reality. Effectively, Jane apologizes to Harry once and then promptly puts the incident out of her mind and enjoys the date. It is a response that assumes nothing extraordinary. And yet…

And yet such a response doesn’t come naturally at times, for some people (e.g. me). We either over-compensate or under-compensate. This is simply a failure to prioritize the Reality over “Conclusions”. It just goes to show why we must focus on what is actually known. As for the unknown, we need to keep our guard up and not let the mind’s voices overwhelm us with their outrageous suggestions. Don’t be persuaded by any over-the-top conspiracy theory that comes to you. Let it come, and thanks Elsa, let it go.

Published by TheHermitVoyager

"If you would attain real freedom, you must be the slave of philosophy." - Epicurus (Jeez, talk about a killjoy)

4 thoughts on “See Elsa? Be Like Elsa.

  1. Nicely written.

    Your observations have other names in psychology and other fields.
    You can look up : “projections”, “constructs” on google.

    Of course I like the metaphor of a 5 year old, though to tell you the truth, it is difficult to just let them be “clinically insane”

    Also, a thought:
    Is a like on insta or any other social media an honest reaction? At least Harry is in front of Jane, Jane is definitely going mental if Harry subscribes but doesn’t like or likes but doesn’t comment or god forbid does none of the above…

    As Sophocles writes “What use is the knowledge of truth if you can’t do anything with it!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, I would agree that you would have to call in the Fire Department if a 5 year old on a sugar high were let loose for long…

      As for the observations about Insta, I would totally agree. It is often the case that likes and subscribes are merely a form of “social currency” – a metaphorical barter system that seeks to create constant engagement. I’d guess that’s how social media platforms are designed in the first place.

      And the last observation is particularly piercing – this is why life feels lighter when you never look up the statistics of how many people liked and disliked your posts. Ignorance is bliss.

      Like

  2. Issue nicely addressed. The trick is to not go over the top with your honesty. Serve just the right measure. Above all , be true to yourself. Meditate , yes , on your actions , but don’t over- analyze. And be kind to yourself. You deserve it. We all do . So Elsa , let it come , and let it go!

    Like

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