We walk around life in a haze. We have ignored what matters most in life in order to walk around in our own world of illusions. We like to think we’re okay, but we’re not. We think we’re in good physical shape but most of us are overweight, taking more medication than we should, and eat like teenagers at a county fair. Our bodies are screaming for us to stop abusing them, but we just keep hurting ourselves and mask that abuse with medications, treatments, and a multitude of other distractions. Most of us are embracing death more than life by killing ourselves slowly through food and immobility. Sigmund Freud believed human beings have a “thanatos drive” which in layman’s terms is a type of death wish. There are many times I think he was on to something. It’s not just our bodies we’re killing, most of us have become lazy thinkers as well. We tell ourselves that we’re thoughtful and deep thinkers, but we can barely spend more than three minutes looking at a social media post. We like to think we spend time learning new and important things and we’re staying informed but most of our time is consumed with irrelevant junk food for the mind. If we’re honest with ourselves we might actually find we’re more likely succumbing to the psychological traps of group think, confirmation bias, and feeding our minds with news stories that support what we already believe. We’re comfortable with what we know and we seldom challenge our beliefs in order to grow.
So, we continue to fool ourselves by believing we’re physically okay and that we’re much more thoughtful than we really are. We’re lazy thinkers and afraid to challenge our opinions and knowledge by engaging different opinions and new ideas. It doesn’t stop there, however, because we’re also emotionally lazy. We choose to be emotionally numb instead of engage our emotions and the emotional lives of others. We’re afraid to let others see us cry, be saddened by the tragedies we see on television, and we keep ourselves from becoming angry at the daily injustice we see people experience. We aren’t comfortable feeling our emotions and we’re unable to talk about them with even the closest people in our lives. We ignore the emotions of other people we meet every day and avoid celebrating with them or being a comforting voice they need while they suffer. We have indeed become emotionally lazy and numb.
When we don’t take care of our emotional lives and ignore our physical well-being, we also negatively impact our relationships with other people. Too often we take our relationships for granted or only see them in utilitarian ways. We ask what the relationship does for us instead of how we can help and be of service to the people in our lives. We need to ask ourselves, “How can I love this person in the way they need me to love them instead of the way I want to love them?” We’re lazy with our relationships and when that happens, we isolate ourselves which isn’t good for our mental or physical well-being.
A final part of our lives we’ve grown lazy in is our spiritual life. We’re so caught up in the material aspects of life that we forget we’re a transcendent creature who is not merely a body or merely a spirit in a body, but a human being with a body and spirit meant to live within the physical world with a transcendent sense of reality. For most of us spirituality is that convenient experience we have when we want to pray to get something from the divine or to ease our anxiety about death, tragedy, and daily inconveniences. Your spiritual life must be bigger than that. It has to embrace a larger meaning and purpose that guides your everyday life.
If you have a better understanding of who you are, you can begin to see the many places where you’re functioning in a way that keeps you from living a fully human life. People ignore the different dimensions of human life, overemphasize some, or have a completely skewed understanding of how they interact with one another. They might be really into physical fitness but then find themselves completely ignoring their spiritual life. They may be hyper-spiritual people but end up ignoring their physical well-being. They may think that the things they believe have little to no impact on how they develop relationships with other people. I have encountered some people who see relationships in purely utilitarian terms and so they live for what others can do for them. The opposite is true as well, some people have no boundaries and expend themselves in service to others to the point of exhaustion. We must understand, to be truly healthy and live well is to live well holistically. We need to live with bodies in the best physical condition our situation allows, minds as sharp as we can make them, a level of emotional intelligence that allows us to know how we and others feel, in balanced relationships that have healthy boundaries, and with a spiritual sense that allows us to infuse life with meaning and purpose. It’s my hope I can help you achieve these results so please, check back with us and let me know your thoughts and how I can serve you.
Beautifully written. This will be an important part of my self examination in the coming months.
Thank you Joe. I find when I review my life this way I can set more holistic goals for the coming New Year. I appreciate your feedback.