Sensible Emotional Investment

That’s an oxymoron of note, I guess. Emotions generally take us on a journey of reckless abandon, even if that abandon is just the unrealistic expectations that the emotional highs spawn in us. One of the downsides of living with conviction is that you easily become emotionally invested in almost any objective that you set out to achieve. Conviction dictates that you would only do something if you were proud to be associated with the outcome, or perhaps just the effort regardless of the outcome. Without conviction, the focus would be on what you can get out of a given opportunity without being invested in its pursuit or outcome. Although that is not entirely true.

I think we have convictions, whether or not we realise it is a separate matter. Just because we’re not aware of what drives us does not mean that we’re not similarly driven. I see people struggling with mindfulness and I wonder why it is so difficult for them to achieve. At times it is elusive for me as well, but that’s usually when I’m distracted by entertainment rather than meaningful endeavours.

However, most appear to seek entertainment (read ‘distractions’) actively while meaningful endeavours are only pursued out of necessity. It seems like such a lopsided way to live. Either way, those prioritisations that we subconsciously subscribe to determine our convictions. The more subconscious it is, the more likely we are to respond instinctively or habitually without fully understanding why. I’ve seen people getting themselves into all sorts of twisted knots when going through life this way because they most often find themselves weighed down without knowing why, or caring while knowing full well that that emotional investment is unappreciated or abused. Underlying all of this mindlessness is a deep sense of self-deprecation.

Ok, did I lose you at mindlessness? Think about it. If you’re not mindful, then you must be mindless, at least within a specific context where you’re not fully present. When we’re mindless, we don’t suddenly stop functioning. We continue to function reasonably well. But being mindless, it must mean that we’re on auto-pilot at that time. Which begs the question, what programs our auto-pilot mode? I think it’s the constant internalisations of how we want to be perceived, relative to how we conduct ourselves to achieve such a perception.

Ugh, that sounds unnecessarily complicated. Let’s try again. When we focus on how we appear in front of others, we obsess with how we need to behave to maintain our preferred appearances. In other words, we know what others admire or respect, and we play to those whims. In so doing, we condition ourselves to respond in line with those perceived expectations. The more accurate our assumptions about those expectations, the more effective our auto-pilot responses. The more effective our responses, the more likely we are to feel a sense of validation and acceptance, resulting in a further investment in that approach to life. Until we have a jarring moment that prompts us to wonder if we really subscribe to the value system that has turned us into whores for that attention or acceptance.

In that moment, we’re forced to either accept or reject what we have grown to stand for. The idea of self-rejection is so troubling for so many, that most convince themselves that they would be worthless without such whorish behaviour. Challenge them on it and you’re likely to get a response along the lines of, “You don’t know what it’s like to be me.” Or similar drivel. Mindlessness is therefore a result of a lack of self-worth. A lack of self-worth then must be spawned by a lack of conscious purpose. That lack of conscious purpose is driven by a need for validation, which pretty much starts with an ingratitude for what you have and what you’re capable of while you’re focusing on how much others have and what they appear to be capable of. Hold on, did we just come full circle for mindfulness?

Looking inwardly, not to achieve a moment of silence or pause, but to recognise what is good and what is beneficial in your life is the starting point of investing your emotions in the right place. When you do this, you develop the convictions needed to establish yourself as a contributor of meaningful outcomes to those around you, rather than riding the coat-tails of others while pretending to be supportive. As long as you’re riding someone else’s coat-tails, you’ll have a deficit of self-worth because you will always be dependent on their presence and acceptance of you for your sense of self-worth to flourish. In other words, the moment they push you away, you will have no grounding point with which to determine your ability to contribute something of value to others.

Invest in your awareness of what your capabilities are, understand clearly what difference you want to make to this world, and then define a path of progress that will allow you to hone your skills and abilities to contribute meaningfully towards that difference you wish to make. Don’t worry about attracting the right person into your life, or worse still, going out in search of the right person or friends, because if you do what you love, and they do what they love, it stands to reason that you will find yourself associated with those that hold a similar conviction, and therefore live their lives with a similar passion as you do yours. And all this confirms the age old saying that you should not go searching for the one you love. Do what you love and your love will find you.

P.S. If you don’t live your life in this way, you will live your life expending massive amounts of energy competing with others that are vying for the attention of those that live their lives in this way. Your emotions. Your choice. Do you have the courage to make that choice, or are you waiting for someone to come along and save you…from yourself?

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