STATUS ANXIETY

Do you ever feel like your life revolves around trying to be someone special, someone extraordinary, someone unique, fascinating and revolutionary?

 

 

You can stop trying. You can stop pretending. You can stop striving to be someone that is always secure, successful and sexy. Sometimes your internal self and the external world feels mediocre. And that is OK.

 

You don’t need to be exceptional. Although you may have learned that this is what you have to strive for in order to be loved or to even deserve to have your basic needs met.

 

You have not failed if you have not lived up to the expectations of others, or even your own expectations of yourself. You are human and life is messy. And sometimes we need to “fall short” in order to adjust our perspective.

 

Are you generally accepting of where you are at or are you ashamed of your current status, whether that be in work, relationships or personal achievements?

 

If you fall short of your expectations, or the expectations placed upon you, it doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you. It may just mean that you need to reframe the ideas and images in your mind about who you think you should be.

 

 

 

 

“Anxiety is the handmaiden of contemporary ambition.”
 Alain de Botton, Status Anxiety  

 

 

 

Social media has a massive influence on our mental health, both good and not so good. The not so good is that we are often observing a show that features the best, the most outlandish, amazing, glittery, bold and beautiful sides of peoples’ lives.

 

Even those that are not specifically beauty focused can be toxic in the way they seem to demonstrate a life of free and easy fun-filled majesty. And in the way they seem to insinuate that you should strive for this kind of life too.

 

The pressure is high, and our perception of pressure can be excruciatingly intense. We need to demonstrate our intelligence, our sense of style and our success in work that is both purposeful and financially rewarding.

 

It is exhausting and takes away our ability to be OK with just being. We learn this from childhood as we are encouraged to do lots of things and be someone worthy of praise. We are continually molded and tweaked by our parents and cultural expectations, instead of just being allowed to be ourselves.

 

 

 

“Life seems to be a process of replacing one anxiety with another and substituting one desire for another - which is not to say that we should never strive to overcome any of our anxieties or fulfil any of our desires, but rather to suggest that we should perhaps build into our strivings an awareness of the way our goals promise us a respite and a resolution that they cannot, by definition, deliver.”
 Alain de Botton, Status Anxiety  

 

 

 

Inner satisfaction and the felt experience of success might not be related to our jobs, our achievements and our social circles. It is more likely to arise within us as a sense of contentment with a very simple life.

 

You don’t need to be remarkable. It might even be the best thing for you to be ordinary. Being good enough is not a concept to help people accept mediocrity but a very real solution to the perpetual dissatisfaction we find in ourselves.

 

It can be all too easy to fall short of expectations to be extraordinary and end up feeling worthless. But your life skills are what’s really important which you have learnt just by living an ordinary life - like being a good enough partner or parent and doing good enough work to get by.

 

Life is already an extraordinary miracle of multifaceted enigmas! You don’t need to try to be amazing, you just need to reclaim your innate dignity and comfort inside. Listen to your inner genius even if it seems mediocre, it might be telling you to just stay home, put the kettle on and sit by the fire.

 

 

 

“The desire for high status is never stronger than in situations where "ordinary" life fails to answer a median need for dignity and comfort.”
 Alain de Botton, Status Anxiety  

 

 

 

Let simplicity be the kindling for your internal fire this winter. Sit by the fire and let your thoughts flicker by like the twinkling of the Matariki stars. Listen to our latest free meditation – Pratibha – to let go of mental constructs and expectations in order to feel more clearly your internal fire, to hear more clearly your inner genius, to see more clearly your guiding light that will lead you through the darkness this winter solstice. 

 

Photograph by Yoan @italreadyexists

 

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