JOURNAL BY ZUL ANDRA

The Art of Getting Over Yourself

The shedding of the proverbial skin; when was the last time you got over yourself and let your true self glow?

The shit experiences life throws at you can weigh you down. And I don’t mean that figuratively. I mean it in every load of the shit stain. It gets stuck to the skin of your mind, body and soul, and erode its quality, make and model.

Negativity that sticks to you is heavy.

On the early onset of the spectrum, you’ll feel sluggish, your clarity is muddied and your light flickers weakly in the clouded water like a drowning firefly. On the other end of the spectrum, it’s debilitating, rendering you and your bed as one body–the pillow for the heavy mind, the stench of the soul reeking like an unwashed blanket.

Negative experiences and your reaction to it isn’t an automatic or universal reflex. You may possess the clarity of distance to manage the worst trauma handed to you and then react poorly to the slightest touch from a baby.

Think of negative experiences—internally or externally created, self-perpetuating or imposed—as rotten eggshells planted across the bounds of your reality.

You can probably ignore an eggshell, you can probably tip-toe around several eggshells, but with enough of them, you are going to step on and crack one, lose your centre and crack more.

Now you find time slowing down as your consciousness steps away from your body. You are asking yourself why are you berating the barista who got your name wrong when you’ve easily “taken” the shit from your boss over the past decade.

Let me share with you a version of these rotten eggshells that I was unconsciously planting along my dog’s walking route.

This is my dog, Timber. He has no concept of rotten eggshells, but oddly he knows when my bomb is ticking when I nudged his collar harder than usual or unnecessarily expedite his pooping and peeing routine.

There’s a high school in my neighbourhood. When I walk Timber in the morning, kids are streaming into the school. These kids, as I unnecessarily judged them to be, are loud, naughty and playful. I mapped my own experience on them as I was like them in the past.

Every morning, since I started seeding my judgement of them in my mind, I think about my reaction if they kicked my dog or made fun of him, or do stupid things kids do when I was one. This gets me raging to the point that I wake up angry because I have to walk through this landmine of rotten eggshells.

Everyone’s “map of the world” is different. But yet, we are our own terrorists. We carry our own versions of a ticking time bomb. When it explodes, not only do we hurt ourselves but the people closest to us.

Timber had no idea why I was being an ass. But he didn’t like that I was taking out whatever it was on him. I had to get over this self-perpetuating shit I created. I had to get over myself.

Once I became aware of it, I did. And Timber, the school kids, myself and my reality were better for it. Now Timber takes a leisurely time sniffing around and shitting and peeing because I wasn’t, figuratively, shitting on him.

See, the brain can’t tell the difference between what’s imaginary and what’s real. It can’t tell if you’re thinking about it or if you are experiencing it.

If you get punched in the face last week and get punched in the face again right now, the brain processes it as physical pain and outputs nearly the same quality of suffering. If you are thinking about it, the brain processes it as something to, well, process. Cogito, ergo sum. I think, therefore I am.

This might get you thinking of the slabs of negativity you’ve layered on the skin of your mind, body and soul over the years—let it marinate and metastasise, crystalising flavours and odours, an hors d’oeuvre of your unbecoming self.

I have no control over what goes on around me, but I have total control over how my mind reacts to the self and the perception of reality it lives in.

Neuroscientists have long purported that it’s nearly impossible to eliminate deeply embedded hardwiring, but it’s entirely possible to starve it and create new wirings, new habits, that enables a better version of you.

To get over one’s own skin is a liberating feeling; that since I can make myself out to be whatever I want to be, I can shed what is disempowering—and own that. It’s returning power to you when you’ve lost it to the battlefield of your own mind. So get over yourself and get into yourself.