That little voice in your head

Is he your friend? Or is he pushing you around and kicking you, and maybe you don’t even realize what’s going on?

This comic took my breath away. Click the image to see the whole thing.

I wish I could smash that little motherfucker so easily. Imagine how that would feel. With a little voice like that in your head, you’re not only sabotaging yourself, but you’re probably being shitty with the people around you as well.

I’ve struggled with this my whole life. If I daydream carelessly, I’ll go over all the mean things I’ve done, all the mean things that have been done to me, and all those lost opportunities. Disappointment after shitty disappointment. I know I’m not the only person who does this. How good can it be for your spirit to constantly put yourself down and mull over your failures?

In jiu jitsu, though, I’m stubbornly optimistic. I’m not a natural athlete. I’m not even a quick study. I beat myself over the head with new material and it all has to be broken down and somehow jammed through this tiny straw that leads into my brain. But I’ve kept plugging away at it, and eventually I’ve become pretty good at it.

What if I could have this attitude all day long, with the rest of my life? What if we all could?

We lack the courage to even imagine the kind of person we could be. Not only could we be more physically strong, we could be more compassionate, more morally brave, more at ease with the people around us. But most people never access even a tiny shred of that potential. Not only is it hard work, but who’s helping with this? No major institution in modern society encourages us to work on being happier and healthier. We’re isolated, both socially and economically, into our broken “nuclear” families. The food most people eat makes them fat, sick, and lethargic. Religion could help you access a richer spiritual and moral life, but all you hear about is who you’re not supposed to be having sex with.

Another Bruce Lee quote (emphasis mine):

If you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”

If you work hard on yourself, you can become stronger, both physically and morally. It ain’t easy though, and there’s not much help out there. You have to pick up the ball and run with it yourself. For me, it’s been crushing my ego on the mat and discovering that a lot of the barriers I ran into, I had put there myself (or just allowed to remain through passivity and excuse-making). I know man-hugging isn’t for everyone. If it’s not for you, I hope you find your own way to break through and become the person you should be.