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How do you learn to live consciously in today's society?

''Learning is a social process. Learning is growth. Learning is not a preparation for life, but life itself.'' - John Dewey

You see it all around you, almost everyone is on autopilot. You wake up and, depending on what kind of work you do, you divide the time as efficiently as possible. Everything is about time in life, but if we go through life like a headless chicken, what is our time worth? Where is the personal time/family time and the time to turn inward?

The importance of turning inward every now and then

It is very important to turn inward every now and then, if we do not do this we lose connection with ourselves and reality. We are then in such a rush that at a certain point we no longer feel what we need. This even affects what we eat and how much we drink. We actually end up in a negative spiral.

Since mental health and rest is often associated with something weak or bad in this society, it can be difficult to take a break from work. I have also heard colleagues say more often: 'I only rest when I'm in the coffin'. This really shocks me! It seems so normal to plan every day and suffer ourselves when we are at home, for example with our phone or television. We often forget that we are still human and this overload of information and new technology is not healthy for us. However, we no longer feel this when we are separated from our true self. It is not without reason that healthcare is improving, but more and more people are sick. This is mainly because we no longer know how to listen to ourselves and set boundaries. Not knowing any better and our natural urge to belong to a group makes it not easy to choose differently and take a break.

Virtually all illness is a natural reflection of living in an unhealthy society. Despite the most fantastic economic, technological and medical resources at our disposal, countless people suffer from diseases resulting from stress, ignorance, inequality, environmental degradation, climate change, poverty and social isolation. - Gabor Maté in The Myth of Normal

The consequence...

If we do not indeed learn to listen to this, we will, as Gabor says, develop diseases and never be able to live from our true selves. If we don't stop this, it will be passed on from generation to generation. We are already seeing it, it even appears that young people experience symptoms of anxiety or depression more often than older adults. This is evident from several articles/studies and has also been investigated by the KFF (independent research source). Young people feel an increased workload, a need to perform and do not feel good enough. This is often reinforced by the social media culture, where everything has to be perfect. If you're not rich, don't look perfect, and don't have a great life, you don't matter or you're weird.

Young people in particular then build up an unrealistic self-image, which in turn results in depressive and anxious feelings. Only when we learn that we are already worth enough, without having to prove anything or live up to a certain ideal image, can we begin to heal. So it is especially important to become aware and accept ourselves for who we are now. This will not be possible in 1 day, but if we work on it every day, we will be able to make great strides.

A good exercise can be to sit quietly and observe the thoughts within yourself. Thoughts determine how we think about ourselves, and if we can take them a little less seriously, we will already make great strides. Try to let all thoughts be there and not judge these thoughts, just see them passing by like a cloud. Even if the same thought keeps coming back, don't resist, but keep doing the same thing. A thought wants to be heard just like a feeling, if we don't really listen the thought will keep coming back. Only when we learn to find peace with everything that arises can we make great strides in our healing process. This doesn't mean that we accept inappropriate behavior from others, but it does mean that we stop fighting against things we can no longer change.

This exercise is already a first step towards awareness. During this exercise, try to discover what thoughts come to mind. 'Am I constantly repeating a situation that happened in the past or am I afraid of the future?' For example, you keep remembering that you said "hello" to a colleague, but he didn't say anything back and you wonder if you did something wrong. It doesn't feel nice to continuously experience these thoughts, but it is actually a great learning moment. You can now see why this affects you so much. There may be a feeling of unworthiness or a feeling of being a bad person. Often these feelings come from the past and from our youth. If we learn to discover and accept this, thoughts about college will also disappear. It is not about the colleague, but about the trauma we have experienced in the past.

5 Tips

Now if you're wondering how do I get out of this rut ​​and start to love my inner child more, here are five tips:


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