Originally written and submitted by 'Lusciniam' AKA Holly.
Proofread and edited by Ashen_Heart.
The Importance of Wellbeing
Before we delve into the more intricate details of mind palace mechanics, I want to stress an extremely important element; and that is wellbeing.
There are some things that can ruin a person’s life, some of these things are out of our control such as disease, natural disasters and accidents. But there are also a significant number of ways you can ruin your own life by the choices we make. And I for one have made nearly all of the mistakes I’m about to point out here. However, there is a silver lining to this dark cloud I’m about to paint. So put the kettle on, brace yourself and hang in there for the end. As much as I will talk about how one can ruin their life, I’m also going to explain how to get out of it. But timing is essential, eventually our time runs out.
Old age catches up, and if we are not ready by then. Our mistakes will catch up with us. It doesn’t matter how grandiose, fantastical or useful your mind palace is. If you do not have the following in check, it will be about as useful and deluded as a teacher believing they can teach a cat about how to build a television.
One can know everything there is to know about medical practice, but a doctor cannot treat patients or themselves through simply having the medical book in their minds. Real world Input is always required.
We all know this as we all know the rest that’s about to be said, it’s painful to look at it. But we must, it is the only first and right step in the direction of looking after our wellbeing, because we need to identity the things that are working against it.
Studies show us that having poor financial circumstances not only debilitate our quality of life, but severely impacts our mental and physical health. Often we use over-spending as a means of coping with stress, even we use it to cope with financial debts we have found ourselves in. Which is rather ironic when you consider that.
The only way to reverse the process is to actively stop how you deal with money and, as proactively as you can, do everything to increase your income and honour your debts (if you have them).
Here is a simple formula my Grandfather would tell me many times when I would be rightly pointed out for silly spending:
Want / Need = Choice / Perspective
What we want and what we need all come down to how we perceive what we are doing. Say for example a friend points out that we may have been a bit excessive with our spending on clothes and we try to justify this by saying something like…
“It’s only a few, I’m getting more next week”.
Notice the last section underlined, you will begin to notice this syntax takes other forms in later examples. As they have many, but all share one thing in common. They are designed to fool you into thinking you are safe. But in reality, they are short term fixes falsely understood as permanent ones. Before we can discern the difference between what is vital spending and what isn’t, we must first see how we deceive ourselves. But once we can, then the formula really becomes clear to us and easy to understand. The following is the more difficult side, depending on how hard we are at adapting to new and unfamiliar ways.
Having poor social skills is a huge one. Unfortunately I do have very poor social skills; I can be charming, charismatic and articulated, but I have struggled with social abilities for all of my life. It started when I was 3 years old, this is something that happens to all of us. Apart from feral children. We are faced with a choice, to take part or retreat.
When I was at this party, there were music and balloons and children running about the place. My flight or fight response kicked in as I had only really spent time with adults, I had not been in a room with 20 other little people like me. A part of me wanted to take part, but the larger side of me wanted to retreat and hide.
And I did.
For years after this, I would retreat either for real or inside my head. And each time I did, I would die a little inside as I knew I was repeating the same mistake. Over time this reaction grew in strength. And by the time I was at school, my social skills were all out of whack.
I didn’t know how to be empathetic, hell I didn’t even understand the word until much later and much too late. So as a means of mixing with others, I would either just annoy them or talk only about myself which just caused further annoyance. All of this affects your reputation and how you are viewed and this also feeds into how you view yourself.
It creates a negative feedback loop of dysfunction. And that’s exactly what occurred with me. It took years to eventually make meaningful and lasting connections.
For me it all comes back to that first incident. The only way to reverse it is to do the opposite and jump with both feet in!
Hopefully this is something you never find yourself being in the position of, but if you do or have found yourself on the wrong side of the law, it definitely has a negative effect on your life and for very clear and obvious reasons. For not only does crime affect your life, it damages the social fabric of the social world we live in!
At the end of the day, never commit crime. Fortunately I have never received a custodial sentence, but I have come very close indeed.
I remember the day I was in front of a judge. The crime I had committed comes with an automatic 5 year prison sentence, there was an exception which is why I didn’t go. But I remember the judge that day saying…
“You will go to prison for a minimum term of 5 years”.
There was a very long pause. It felt like a very long time. Time does have that effect when you’re thinking extremely fast. What went through my mind was severe disappointment in myself, coupled with my Grandad being present and the overwhelming sense of dread that I will not survive prison. And then the judge said…
“However. Because you are not a repeat offender and on the cusp of university. I will grant you one last chance. As you only committed a small minor number of offences in your previous years and are trying to make something of your life, I will only impose a 5 year suspended sentence. Any further infractions after this and instead of walking out of that door you will be walking out of that one.”
She pointed over to the glass box where in the UK judicial system is the place the guards take you out of, into a secure lift and into a securely armoured truck that takes you straight to the prison.
I came out of the court room that day at the age of 22 and cried like a baby.
The weapons charge I received will stay on my record for life. No one was of course hurt or threatened with the weapon I had on my person that day, the guard told me had I done anything else with that knife I would have definitely gone to prison.
But I wanted to highlight to you how awful it is for you and everyone involved to end up in. Sure, the guards, the judge will go home and come back the next day for more rounds of the criminal justice system, but it’s you and your family that will always remember the day you were all there.
This is by far the most destructive way you can ruin your life. I for one understand this all too well through going through a serious drug addiction in my early adult life, that has in itself had devastating outcomes for my social life, financial standing and criminal record.
All of these things are not good when you are a 30 year old. Maybe in your 20s and teenage years you can get away with a little, but do too much and the consequences are far-reaching. But once you get to 30, others around you are asking either silently or to your face, what the hell have you been doing for the last 10 years?
Society will do this because we are a herd species. In horses for example, they have a similar form of shunning and distain for other equines that cause trouble for the herd. The herd’s very survival depends upon all of the horses in the herd to cooperate and be aware of potential threats to their existence. With equines, a mare can kick their young out of the herd forcing them to lag behind the rest of the group, once the mother decides the foul is allowed back in.
This isn’t because people are trying to be cruel or that animals are, it’s because we are not fulfilling our obligations as a social creature. We simply can’t keep taking from a finite and fragile system and give nothing back. For if we do, the herd will eventually notice. It doesn’t matter if you run all of your life, it will catch up in the most unexpected of ways.
Addiction is the most deadly as it can affect all of the elements described above.
Apathy is your greatest enemy when it comes to changing yourself for the better. We think that if we do it tomorrow we can justify having a day off today. But tomorrow never comes, until we let go of this. There is no point trying to think we can get out of it, when we are feeding an emotion that doesn’t want to change. Instead, use apathy against itself. Instead, become apathetic to procrastination. Show it who is boss by showing that mind just what you’re capable of, it’ll soon get scared of and stand corrected. But correct it you must!
The Way Back
What do you define as success? Is it being married with 2 children, a white picket fence and an apple pie life? Is it simply getting the right career, winning the ultimate marathon or going into space?
I define it as not dying with regrets. I’d rather die a very painful death not having regretted my life than to die painfully and with regrets. But that is also not the definition of success. It’s entirely subjective, but is really about whether we achieve the things we decide are successes.
A Node In A Network
I would say that the most effective way back is to go to the root of what ruined or is ruining our lives. It’s us! Yes…. YOU.
We see ourselves as the centre of the universe, and while that is true about all localised space and time. Your self-inflated who however, is not. Not when you are a herd species genetically programmed and entirely dependent upon other members of your species.
Think about it. It is through the sheer kindness of others that you are alive. When you were born, the doctors, surgeons and midwifes ensured you lived. The people who build our streets, teach in our schools. Even a person alive today half way around the world, right now… is indirectly saving your life and ensuring its existence.
If you are in the US for example. You are about 1500 miles away from a top secret US air force base known as RAF Fillingdales. Here the UK assisted by the US army has one of Europe’s largest radar detection stations. The next one to that is located in Norway. They are of course all over the world and serve as an early warning system against nuclear/non-nuclear long range missiles.
And if an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) were headed your way, these radar stations are designed to detect the launch trajectories and calculate their flight paths. The US alone, has a special web of satellites initiated by President Ronald Reagan during the cold war. They can detect the heat signature of a recently launched missile within only a few seconds of its initial launch stage.
If all of these people working together, suddenly felt as if no one else mattered but them. We would all die and also so would they. Thankfully we are a lot more emotionally intelligent than that!
That is an extreme example, but the point is if we view ourselves as a node in a network rather than its central operating system that the network is serving, we will naturally want to take part, serve and fulfil our obligations as a sentient lifeform who is part of a herd species.
When we are in highly negative circumstances like the ones addressed here, they are all part of a closed feedback loop that acts as a noose, slowly chocking the vitality out of your life.
To reverse the process, we have to see the loop for what it is, and begin stumbling in a positive direction. It doesn’t matter if we do it badly, you should see me try to yoga in the morning - it is hilarious!
I know my body doesn’t bend very well, its seized up and hardened through years of compounding stress. Most of which you can see by now has been self-inflicted. I know I’m probably doing it wrong and definitely doing it badly, but I’m doing it!
And that is sending signals to my brain, to the very web that is that feedback loop and disrupting its flow. The loop will be confused, but a loop doesn’t care if it’s a good one or had. It doesn’t know the difference, the loops only function is to be a loop.
It is you who has the control over what goes into your feedback loop. And over time, little by little it will grow just the same way it did when it was a loop that negatively affected your life.
When it comes to looking after your wellbeing, going to a spa retreat will certainly be relaxing. But one can’t use that as a means to say this is what changed their life, because if that were true for all of us, spa retreats would be used by everyone to solve their problems.
In order to solve negative problems, we need to do the things we do not want to do.
It is easier to become acquainted with the mind of liking the things we would otherwise dislike, it is possible but that will never happen until we see what we thought we liked as something that is bad.
That is what festering in our problems does, it makes us think this is okay and while the idea of self-improvement feels good, we don’t do anything about it and stay mired in the same situation.
Changing these things isn’t nice, it isn’t pleasant. It’s hard and gruelling. Because we have become so complacent with our circumstances we find it harder to challenge its notions. But hopefully those who read this learn from my mistakes, because really here I am speaking from experience. The experience of the fool who is now, just beginning to understand how to be wise.
A friend once said to me, a fool learns from their mistakes but the wise person learns from the mistakes of others. I believe there is a part missing from this description, because we can be foolish and make some silly mistakes, but we are not foolish or unwise for turning the ride.
For if a wise person only learns from the mistakes of others, they have become aquatinted and may not see how to learn from or see a mistake they have made. And so to improve on the analogy.
A fool will always be a fool if they don’t learn from their mistakes or from the mistakes of others, but the fool becomes truly wise and brave for weathering through that storm and becoming it!
I pray that all who read this heed these words.
Time is precious. Very, very precious. And prepare for that time that is coming for us all one day, because on that day your life will be summed up for you, will you be on the wrong side of it or the right?
Thank you for reading.