I had a rough day at work today due to a conflict with a coworker. I left work really worked up and upset. When I got home I wanted to just sit on the couch with a glass of wine and veg out in order to let go of that emotional turmoil from work.
But then I thought about this 21 Day Fix program I am doing and how I’m only on Day 8. And the thought of quitting and not making it to day 21 got my competitive juices revving, so I got up and forced myself to do the workout. Now that I’m done, I definitely feel better, but I still couldn’t get the issues from the day at work out of my mind. So I spent a few minutes reflecting on why I was so upset. And this led my mind to remember a situation from over 10 years ago when I also had an issue with a co-worker. I remembered that I had been reading a book back then that helped me deal with that issue. So I went to the bookshelf and pulled out the book.
The book is “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose” by Eckhart Tolle. One of the big ideas from the book is the issue of our egos which is our identification with ourselves or as he puts it “the illusory sense of self” (p.27). He goes on to talk about how that voice in our head is what we identify with as who we are, which includes the “incessant steam of involuntary and compulsive thinking and the emotions that accompany it” (p. 59). His claim is that we have to be aware of this thinking and not be “unconscious” in order to awaken to our life’s purpose.
The section that I needed today was on Complaining and Resentment. Tolle says, “Every complaint is a little story the mind makes up that you completely believe in” (p. 61). When this complaining has to do with other people, you then apply negative labels to them, which is your ego’s need to be right. Resentment is the emotion that goes along with complaining. The same is true coming from the person you are in conflict with and you therefore see their ego as their identity. He says non-reaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways of going beyond the ego in yourself and recognizing someone’s behavior as coming from the ego. When this happens you realize that it’s not personal and your compulsion to react will no longer be there. Another person will “become an enemy if you personalize the unconsciousness that is the ego” (p. 63).
Rereading this section of the book, helped me get over the conflict of the day and let go of my personal feelings. I was able to step back and realize that it’s not me, that it is the co-workers ego. And now I’m not going to waste another minute of my life dwelling on it.
I guess the overall message in this post that I’m hoping to convey is that a huge part of living a happy, healthy and active life is that inward personal development. I don’t think very many people ever truly master that inner junk, but you have to keep working on it and not giving up on it just the same as you do for the physical stuff.