I am writing to remind you of things you already know. When you begin to notice that the same issue keeps reoccurring, perhaps it’s time to look at your habits. Your automatic thoughts may seek to project blame and to give someone else responsibility for the problem, but if the issue is happening again and again in YOUR life, chances are that you have a part in creating it.
People are creatures of habit. Some repetitive actions are of great benefit, such as brushing your teeth, exercising, going to bed early enough to get a good night’s sleep, meditating, and spending time with family and friends. Other habitual behaviors are just plain self-indulgent. Self-indulgent behaviors feel good to you in the moment but have destructive results in the long run.
Here are some examples of self-indulgent behaviors:
Name-calling, yelling, and cursing at people to make your point, to bully, and to intimidate.
Repeatedly seeking reassurance when it has already been given.
Ignoring someone with whom you’re mad without telling them that you need to have some space.
Making excuses for your unskillful behavior.
Being dishonest and/or not taking responsibility for something you’ve done in order to avoid losing face or suffering negative consequences.
Not asking for help when you need it so that you can prevent appearing weak.
Making fun of someone in a passive-aggressive way.
Engaging in unhealthy, addictive behavior.
Nagging. Threatening. Punishing.
Gossiping—which is repeating information that portrays others in an unfavorable light.
Neglecting your health.
Being self-centered and self-absorbed does not serve you or your relationships. You may use it as a subconscious way to cope with self-judgment, fear, anger, guilt, and/or shame, but there is a better way to navigate life.
The opposite of self-indulgence is self-transcendence. Self-transcendence involves rising above your self-absorption to understand that life is an interdependent web of being. What you do affects all of those around you and your environment, and what others do, likewise, affects you. You are not an independent, self-sustaining organism. Your choices matter—they impact the greater whole, of which you are a part.
Transcending self-interest, in practice, means living with mindfulness, intention, and a commitment to the greater good.
In other words, would you yell at someone if you were protecting them as precious and a valuable part of the integral whole? If you were considering the welfare of all, would you be dishonest if it would make someone else have to pay the price for your choices? If your emphasis was bolstering someone else’s self-esteem, would you bring up hurtful information about them?
You would only do these things if you were solely thinking of yourself. If the greater good were your priority, these behaviors would not even occur to you. They wouldn’t make sense.
So to change self-indulgent habits and practice self-transcendence toward the greater good . . . Remember, this moment is an opportunity to connect to Love and so to live into the fullness of who you are.
As always, do what best awakens you to Love,
Your Inner Wisdom