Welcome to Zoe Meditations, where every week, I will summarize a few ideas that will help you live greater, love better and laugh more. (P.s. I’ve recently created an Ebook with a similar theme, for more info click here). Collected from various modern day philosophers, I believe that applying these ideas into your day to day life will make you a better person
This week we are going to talk about generosity, the fear of rejection, existential vacuum, steadying our nerves, romantic fantasies, and maintaining peace in this crazy world.
Let’s dive in…
The importance of a generous spirit: We are all connected. We are not just individuals, but a collective spirit tied by divine providence. As Marcus Aurelius said in his Meditations 2000 years ago, “Everything is interwoven, and the web is holy; none of its parts are unconnected. They are composed harmoniously, and together they compose the world. One world, made up of all things. One divinity, present in them all.”
Thus the fastest way to succeed is to help humanity as a whole succeed. Or in other words, elevate the life of others and you will be elevated.
The simplest way to do this is to be mindful of other people’s needs and practice daily acts of kindness. Reconnect with an old friend, do little favors, and make a person smile. An act of kindness doesn’t have to be so grand. A little introduction, five minutes of your time, and a small sum of money can go a long way.
Invest in relationships because you can’t succeed alone. Be kind to your fellow humans because at the end of the day, that’s what really mattered.
No safe love: “We are so afraid to love because it isn’t safe to love.” said Don Miguel Ruiz in his book The Mastery of Love. The fear of rejection frightens us. We have to pretend to be what we are not; we try to be accepted by our partner when we don’t accept ourselves. But the problem is not that our partner rejects us. The problem is that we reject ourselves, because we are not good enough, because that is what we believe.
Self-rejection is the main problem. You are never going to be good enough for yourself when the idea of perfection is completely wrong. It’s a false concept; it’s not even real. Human beings can never be perfect.
The solution is to turn inside yourself.
In your heart is all the love you need. Your heart can create any amount of love, not just for yourself, but for the whole world. You can give your love with no conditions; you can be generous with your love because you have a magical kitchen in your heart. All you have to do is to choose to do so.
Existential vacuum: The Corona Virus has not only caused death, economic difficulty but also mental depression. Psychiatrist Victor Frankl has described this phenomenon in his book Man’s Search for Meaning before. It was called existential vacuum.
Although he never predicted the pandemic outbreak, he correctly predicted that the availability of more idle time can lead to boredom which eventually leads to depression. He wrote, “The existential vacuum manifests itself mainly in a state of boredom… And these problems are growing increasingly crucial, for progressive automation will probably lead to an enormous increase in the leisure hours available to the average worker. The pity of it is that many of these will not know what to do with all their newly acquired free time.”
Frankl wrote that the solution to quell this inner restlessness is to find a task worth doing, a mission that stimulates our idle minds.
He said, “One should not search for an abstract meaning of life. Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.”
(P.S. I have written at length how you can find your life purpose in my latest book Zoe Challenge, do check it out here. It’s free).
The best response to problems: Unexpected problems suddenly rear their heads. A pandemic broke out killing millions. The world economy is going down. Your business is ravaged. You are being laid off because business is bad.
It seems like everything is falling and crashing down around us, exactly when we feel like we can’t handle any more. The world seems to conspire against us.
The question is: what would you do?
In his book Obstacle is The Way, Ryan Holiday wrote, “There is always a countermove, always an escape or a way through, so there is no reason to get worked up. No one said it would be easy and, of course, the stakes are high, but the path is there for those ready to take it.”
Yes, it’s easy to complain and mull over this unjust situation that we are in. But what does that accomplish?
Instead, let’s face the realities of our situation, steady our nerves, and try to make the best of it. That is the best response you can give to any problems.
How romance movie screwed your romantic life: According to author Mark Manson, “The bad message every Hollywood movie gives off is how a man must earn the right to be with a “good” woman, and a woman isn’t “good enough” if a man isn’t trying to prove his worth to her with grand gestures of his affection.”
These two romantic narratives caused men and women to have unhealthy expectation in their dating life:
- Men spend their entire lives believing they’re not good enough to be with a woman. Men are taught to feel an immense pressure to impress women, to perform for them, to show off their money or their cars or how many digits of Pi they can memorize, so chicks might like them. This is needy and unattractive behavior and reinforces low self-esteem as well as sexual anxiety
- Women spend their entire lives waiting for a man to do something amazing to impress her. Or, in other words, she spends her entire life waiting for her prince charming, her knight in shining armor to come “sweep her off her feet.” Women are conditioned to believe that they’re a prize that men are supposed to win through some great achievement. And when no man is saving the world or cutting off people’s heads with a badass broad sword in the name of her love, then she inevitably ends up disappointed. It sends the message that she’s not good enough
As a result, when men feel like they can never be good enough to win the vagina, they decide to come up with ways to trick women into liking them. Sometimes they do it through manipulation. Sometimes they do it through overcompensation. In extreme cases, they may do it by force.
When women feel like they can never be good enough to have their vagina won from them, they try to trick men into earning it. They play hard-to-get, create a bunch of unnecessary drama, or always keep the man guessing as to what their intentions really are.
So throw out all the ideas about dating you got from your favorite korean drama, romantic movies, and soapy novels. It’s in the best interest of both men and women to approach it with clear intentions, without shame, and without judgment — strategies which are proven to attract more members of the opposite sex, to create more satisfying sexual relationships, and to remove any ambiguity as to each person’s intentions.
Limit your input: Living in the modern age with 24/7 connection to the world has robbed us of peace and wellbeing. Every news seemed important and instead of being enlightened, we became confused.
Stoic author Ryan Holiday in his book Stillness is Key said, “The important stuff will still be important by the time you get to it. The unimportant will have made its insignificance obvious (or simply disappeared). Then, with stillness rather than needless urgency or exhaustion, you will be able to sit down and give what deserves consideration your full attention.”
In order to think clearly, it is essential that each of us figures out how to filter out the inconsequential from the essential.
Ask yourself at every moment, ‘ Is this necessary?’
If not, let it go. It’s not worth it.
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