In this world full of chaos and distraction, the greatest gift one can have is inner peace. For peace is the root of many beautiful things in life such as empathy, patience, compassion and happiness. If your mind is in jumble, you cannot experience life to the fullest. What you need to do is rid your mind of the useless clutter and cleanse it. Only then can the mind take in the necessary nourishment it needs.
We already know how our way of thinking plays an important role in self-improvement. Another key to self-development is how to keep our thoughts in a stable state. That leads us to the topic of inner peace. Since it is a broad topic, we should probably start with the toxic things that we should all avoid in order to enjoy inner peace and eventually, a more meaningful life.
Many things and activities that we patronize steal not only our time and energy but also our peace of mind. In this era of fast technological advancements, the endless net surfing, social media and online gaming easily consume most of our time and attention. None of these is bad per se, but the more we spend our time on these, the more we forget the things that matter.
Internet and Social media are useful in the sense that they provide us useful information and they connect us to the world, however, too much of anything is bad– even the useful things. Too much social media equates to vanity when a user use it to create an online persona that he treats as more important than his real self. It is easy to fall into the trap of vanity and narcissism in order to appear cool on social media. How harmless you think is simple net surfing? It steals our time. Though these things are useful, they make us vain. Vanity undermines the grand potential of the mind. Therefore, it is toxic. All these result to anxiety, insecurity, and a lot more.
Discontentment and envy
From Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous essay “Self-reliance”, he wrote:
“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to till”
Now this is a bit harder to comprehend because of the sophisticated old English stuff going on, but what he is trying to teach us is priceless. Indeed the grass always look greener on the other side of the fence. The kernels of corns of your neighboring farm may look healthier. But no matter what you do, that same kernels of corn will have to remain at the other side of the fence. However, YOU have your own land to till. Plant your own corn!!! Focusing on your neighbor’s corn will only steal your inner peace. So avoid envy, be yourself, and make the most of what you got. That is what Emerson is saying.
“If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?” –Shantideva
See, worrying is useless. It just cloud our mind and hinder our decision-making. Instead of worrying, just focus on what you can do in the moment. Why waste your time worrying about what you cannot control, when you have so much to do now? Keep your eye on the things you can control.
No matter how good or skilled you are, you can never go anywhere if you doubt yourself. Self-doubt instill fear of the unknown making us worry repeatedly. If we only trust that we can go through anything without surrender, things will be difficult but we’ll surely push through. If we do not believe in ourselves, then we are already lost. Self-prophecies are powerful (Why? Read here) Our self-doubts will repeatedly whisper to us and try to pull us deeper into failure. Thus, we should keep our guards up so that this toxin would not contaminate our mind.
Do you know that there is a long, long list of phobias? There is chromophobia, chronophobia, callophobia… the list continues. All of us have fears. How many times did we fail to sleep because of a fear or two? The funny thing is that, some of these fears are irrational. While fear is a good thing since it keeps us away from danger, it messes with our mind. It takes away our peace. It shatters our calmness and fills our head with terror and chaos. Now, who would ever want to have a chaotic mind?
Greed and Materialism
Greed is a dangerous thing. What happens when we eat more than what we can chew? We choke. It is not good to keep on chasing more. If you cannot be satisfied with what you have now, you will never be satisfied with the things you are yearning for. The more we pursue material things, the more we fill our mind with things to worry about. I am not saying that it is wrong to work hard and buy material things. My point is we have to live a life of balance. We should not center ourselves on material possessions.
While greed will always tempt us to covet more, we should also bring contentment to our side in order to experience peace and happiness. Now, would you be the rich man who cannot sleep soundly at night because he is so anxious that a burglar will rob him? Or are you going to be the man who sleeps peacefully every night because he lacks possessions but owns peace?
Hate and Anger
Hate and anger not only bring conflict and chaos between relationship and society. Before all that, it brings chaos to an individual mind first. Anger blinds a person to the point that he forgets about his values. He forgets to think logically and proceeds to act recklessly. For Hate and anger only bring confusion and violence. They are not good for our being.
Is there any other toxic thing that is not on the list? Add more to the list! Drop your comments below. 🙂