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The Lies are in the Details
As we work to stay consciously aware and maintain positive emotions of happiness we can become tired of the process. When that happens, the thought, “Sometimes it just feels like it would be easier to give up,” may appear. Let’s be honest, that’s what we think some times. Or,, perhaps it is the ego part of our mind telling us that.
Should we believe that thought, that is the question?
There’s a part of the statement about it being easier that is true. And there is a part of this statement that is false, or a lie as I like to call them. It’s all in how you interpret it. One of the problems is that our mind accepts both interpretations without realizing what they are. The result is that we acknowledge the truth and bury ourselves deeper in the lie at the same time. I’ll thin slice this thought and illustrate the layers of what is both a truth, and a lie at the same time in the same thought.
Trying to stay consciously “awake” and not fall into the automatic reactions dictated by the programmed negative thoughts running through our mind is hard. It takes work to stay “awake.” You have to consciously focus your attention, be aware and mindful of what’s going on with your thoughts, emotions, point of view, and consciously choose if you are going to believe each thought or not. It is a mental discipline and it takes work to maintain this awareness. At least it is work in the beginning. Once you have dug your self out of the emotional hole, it’s not much effort at all.
But in the beginning, we sometimes we get tired of all that mental work and discipline. What get’s tired is our will. We have to exercise our will power to stay consciously aware.
What is will power? It’s like a muscle we use to concentrate with, or focus our attention. We can apply it to conscious awareness, but we can also apply it to reading, physical exercise, and other activities. Applying that internal force to focus your attention or push your body is what I call will power. It acts like a muscle and as you use it, it gets stronger.
However, just like any muscle, our will power can become fatigued by use in the short term. When it does it needs to rest, recharge, and then it is ready to be used again. When you exercise this muscle of will power, it will need rest in the short term. But the more you use it the stronger it gets in the long term.
So if you have been working hard to stay conscious and not slip into negative thinking, you might notice that after a while your muscle of willpower becomes fatigued. It is then difficult to maintain your focus and awareness. Depending on how rested you are, and how much you have developed your will power muscles through practice, it might be 1 hour of refrain that exhausts you. If you are more practiced perhaps it is one day, or one week of avoiding the temptations of negative thoughts that tires you out. In any case, at a certain point you need to rest and recharge your will power muscle. When our will power muscle is tired is sometimes when the thought, “It would just be easier to give up” comes along.
Now a certain interpretation of this statement is true. Your will power muscle is tired and it needs to rest. If you were at the gym lifting weights and holding up the bar on the bench press for a while, at a certain point you would think, “this would be easier if I put this down.” It is true that it would be easier. However, if you held that weight up there a little longer, you would be using those muscles and they would become stronger as you pushed them past previous levels. And if you did, the statement, “It would be easier if I put this down,” would even be more true. But after pushing your self, at a certain point you would need to let the bar down. You can only grow that muscle so fast. It needs time to rest in between. After your muscles rest they are ready to go again.
When you were young and first learning to walk your legs would get tired after only a few steps. Once they did, it became easier to sit down, or crawl. So the truth is that at a certain point it is easier to crawl than to walk. But that isn’t always true. It’s just true for a short time, and then it isn’t true once your muscles are rested.
After a while your legs got rested, and you probably became tired of crawling. At that point you tried to walk again. Maybe you made it a few more steps, and then you had to sit down. Perhaps you would resort to crawling the rest of the day. Tomorrow you would try standing and walking again. Over years of practice and strengthening you are able to walk or run for miles with a quicker recovery time.
The phrase, “Sometimes it would just be easier to give up,” is a true statement if we interpret that it applies to the short term. It means that I need to give my muscles a rest, recharge my energy, my muscles, and my will power for now.
However, if you interpret the same statement to mean, “Giving up for good on being consciously aware, and happiness would be easier”, then that is a completely different meaning. One by my experience that isn’t true. If we applied that logic to learning to walk, we would have concluded that it was easier to crawl. Yes it takes effort to learn to walk. However, imagine living your life and getting around by crawling all the time. It’s a lot more work to crawl to get somewhere, and not nearly as fast as walking. And if you didn’t learn to walk you would never learn to run. So not only is crawling more work,,, it is slower.
So sticking with crawling and not learning to walk in the short term is easier. There is an effort you have to exert to learn to walk. However, not exerting the effort to learn at all, means a lot more work throughout your whole life. It’s a lot easier to walk for the rest of your life, but you have to put forth some effort to learn how. So it is with consciously being aware and happy. It takes exerting some effort and practice to learn to be consciously aware and happy, but easier for the rest of your life.
To gain the skills on working through tricky lies like this one, and other self sabotaging limiting beliefs, try the free sessions in the Self Mastery Course.
A video about self discipline, self control, fatigue, decision making, and how our will power needs to be restored after it is spent.