karma-is-a-myth

Karma is a Myth

Hi.

When I was young(er), I used to believe in a LOT of fantasy stuff and romantic ideas. Too much TV probably. Too many movies about getting mail, too many Disneys I had to watch with my sisters and which made me dream about French kissing Ariel the mermaid before falling asleep. And also an innate tendency to extreme gullibility. Let’s just politely call myself a “sensitive boy”.

The thing is, yeah, most of these ideas are beautiful. Yes, they might make sense in books and movies, because they are very entertaining. And they are very easy to grasp. And also they seem very perfect.

But the truth is that most of these romantic ideas have NEVER EVER helped me in real life. Quite the opposite actually. And one of these ideas was Karma.

Basically Karma says that if you’re a good boy-slash-girl, then good things will happen in your life. And if you’re doing bad, then you’ll receive bad. Basic. Simple. Life’s fairness at its peak. It’s beautiful, and reassuring.

But also very short term, and not helpful at all.

It might make you feel all warm and fuzzy for a moment because if everything is fair then, you being a good person, good things will have to happen to you right? Right???!?!?!!

But before going any further, I want to remind you of something. I work with beliefs for a reason.

Everyday, a big part of our behaviors and actions are unconscious. This is totally OK because being conscious requires a lot of energy, so there’s no question that we have to get most of them on autopilot. But these decisions, actions and behaviors are ALWAYS going to reflect your inner beliefs, even if you’re not aware of it. And you might have 50 behaviors linked to only one inner belief.

Now changing behaviors is slow, cumbersome, and not efficient at all. But if you change an inner belief, all the behaviors linked to that belief will automatically change also.

Before Method Acting, actors would be exhausted after a performance because they had to control so many external and micro-behaviors. With Method Acting, actors started to learn how to feel the feelings and to think the thoughts of the characters they played, how to be in the mind of who they should play. The results? All the outer behaviors would magically be affected and feel right. It would actually not just appear real, but be real. And actors then “easily” appeared authentic.

This is why I believe it’s the way to go. Change your inner beliefs for healthier and helpful ones and you can make gigantic shifts into your life.

So now I want to tell you how believing in Karma made ME think, be and act, and how recognizing that it didn’t help allowed me to see a much clearer truth, and something I was able to start working on.

Maybe you can find yourself in some of these examples. If you do, I hope it’s gonna help. If you don’t and you find that believing in Karma actually helps you, please keep it up (and drop a comment, I want to know how you make it work).

I’m not saying I have “The” truth, but maybe mine can help yours.

Ok, enough with the disclaimer. Now it’s time to let you know that when I was believing in Karma, I was always…

TRYING TO DO IT RIGHT

My old belief: if I do everything right then I will have a perfect, problem-free life. And even more, if I do everything perfectly nobody will be able to criticize me (or my work).

My old result: I feel I do everything right but my life doesn’t get better. I feel abused all the time from every side, and people don’t even seem to see how good I am and how hardworking I am. I don’t get the promotions I deserve. Me and my work get criticized. People should treat me nicely instead. I am frustrated and resentful, and the world is all against me. People are so selfish, they never think about me.

GETTING RID OF KARMA BELIEF… PROCESSING…

My new belief: there is no such thing as a problem-free life. Whether I am are super rich, super famous or super free, there’s always going to be shits dropping around. It’s not because I do everything “right” (what is right anyway?) that people will treat me well. There is no correlation (actually studies showed that correlation in that case is about 0.000000001. Just kidding, I’m making that up. There’s no studies, it’s an article about Karma!!!). People treat me the way they do because of them, not because of me. Criticism will always happen. The only way it doesn’t happen is by living in a cave without nobody knowing you’re there. Some criticism is useful, some is just about people’s own stories, not mine. Doing things right is about living the life I feel is right to me.

My new result: I accept shits when they drop on my head. Then I find solutions to solve them. I work on what I can control and I let go of the rest. I am much more clear about what are my responsibilities and what are not, and what is in my control and what is not. When I feel something is off I let people know about it. Anxiety and resentment are greatly reduced. Friendships and relationships are tightened and more honest. Life becomes a funny roller-coaster.

But that’s not all, because I was also constantly…

AVOIDING CONFLICT

My old belief: to get a smooth life I shouldn’t bother people with my needs, my wants or my beliefs. In return they will not bother me with theirs. Thank you Karma!

My old result: people bother me all the time! Why??!!?!?! I don’t bother them, I don’t ask them anything so why they keep asking, why they keep complaining, scolding, why they keep requesting and delegating things to me. Why do people always want to fight?!??!?!?! I NEVER BOTHER THEM!

GETTING RID OF KARMA BELIEF… PROCESSING…

My new belief: to get what I want, I have to ask. Things don’t come by themselves. My responsibility is to ask, my responsibility is to stand up from my chair and move my ass. People can say yes, people can say no, this is their choice and their responsibility, not mine. If they feel bothered by me asking it’s their problem, not mine. I can’t have what I want if I don’t ask for it. It’s a basic rule. By avoiding conflict, I’ll never get anything done. Or more precisely, I’ll never be able to do anything I want. Because when you decide to do something, or to say something, when you have opinions, it’s always going to piss some people off. You’re gonna have conflicts. Whether actually you do something or not, you always gonna have conflicts. Welcome to life.

My new result: not bothered anymore when people ask. I take the time to reflect about what I really want to answer, and I speak the truth out. When I want something, I go ask for it. If I get refused, instead of taking it personally, I naturally accept it because I understand that it’s people’s rights to refuse, and I find another way to get what I want. I am not looking for conflict just for the sake of it, but I will not avoid it if something needs to be talked about, or done. As soon as I’ve started acting this way within my relationships, clarity ensued. Every. Single. Time. Whether at work, in my marriage, with friends or with my family. Once I have the discussion I need to have, then I know where to stand. I make things happen, I fight for them, I take responsibility for my life therefore I feel much more in control of my outcome and my self-esteem rose up like crazy.

I was also considering myself a generous person, but I wasn’t realizing that I would keep…

GIVING WITH STRINGS ATTACHED

Old belief: when I give to someone, I should get a thank you, or a gift back. I take care of others so they should take care of me. When I help someone I expect to be helped back when I ask for it. It should go both ways. Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma.

Old result: if I don’t get anything back I get upset, resentful and angry. I feel disrespected. How come people can act like this? How can they treat me like this? Unbelievable. People are bad. They don’t appreciate anything.

GETTING RID OF KARMA BELIEF… PROCESSING…

New belief: giving something and expecting something back is not a gift. It is highly manipulative and dishonest. Even selfish. It’s a covert trade. I want something but instead of telling it clearly, I use a gift to try to get what I want. A real gift ends once as soon as I give it to someone.

The result: pure happiness. No frustration or anything. A shift in understanding where responsibilities and boundaries are. Whether someone doesn’t like my gift or doesn’t give anything back has nothing to do with me, it is about the other person. It’s their right. Once I give something or help someone, my part is done a 100%. I am just happy and content about it, end of the story. Whatever would come after, if any, is just extra bonus.

There’s more! I also got a stupid rule that was dictating my life, and I couldn’t even seem to be aware of it. And that rule was:

WHEN FAILING, DOING MORE OF THE SAME

Old belief: I’m talking nicely to that person, but they don’t treat me well. I respect my neighbor but they don’t respect me. I work very hard, but I don’t get promoted. Because when I’m doing good I should receive good, then it has to be because my goodness is not noticed. So I’ll be even nicer, even more respectful, I’ll work even harder, and I’ll make sure that people see that.

Old result: the harder I try, the further I get. I’m making my own crazy loop of shit. The closer I’m trying to get to people, the more distance I put because of my behavior, my resentfulness, my non-acceptance that life is what it is and nothing else. The truth is that my behavior makes me look very needy, and very unattractive. Even someone who tends to treat others well would be unconsciously repelled by this kind of behavior. It shows a high lack of respect for oneself.

GETTING RID OF KARMA BELIEF… PROCESSING…

New belief: I have default values. I respect people, I treat people nicely. Then I check the feedback. And then I update my behavior according to it. When someone goes over the line, it’s my responsibility, by respecting myself, to let them know, and I do it. First times are ok. Everybody makes mistakes, and it’s normal to check where the boundaries of others stand. But if the person keeps pushing, I discard them, or let them know how stupid they look.

New result: I move on fast, there’s no much rumination anymore. Projects, ideas, plans, instead of staying at the same stage forever, grow faster and much better. I don’t get stuck in incredible boring and drama situations in which I have no control over. I stop wasting time and energy and I put them into projects and people I care about instead. I learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t and about how the world IS rather than how the world should be. I feel much more powerful. Life is fun. Even when it’s grey.

Another thing I was not aware of: I thought I was treating others well while actually I was…

NOT BEING SUCH A NICE PERSON AFTER ALL

Old belief: I am a nice person. See, I always put others first while everyone else is so selfish. I don’t bother people, I agree with them so they don’t get hurt, I don’t express my wants so that I’m not a pain to others. This is such a virtue! I’m a Saint! If there were more people like me, the world would be a better place.

Old result: by constantly helping others getting their needs met, I don’t spend time on mine. I feel frustrated and resentful, and nobody is trying to take care of my needs. I behave passive-aggressively because I expect others to guess what I want and to give it to me.

GETTING RID OF KARMA BELIEF… PROCESSING…

New belief: as soon as I put others first, I am actually denying myself. I can only put others first when I decide that it’s the best thing to do, which actually makes me feel right and good first. If I put others first for any other reason, like avoiding conflict or trying to make them like me, it’s a straight highway to resentment. People’s responsibilities is to take care of themselves first, while mine is to take care of myself first (and others only after). Nobody else has the responsibility to take care of me. People could if I asked them for help and if they wanted to, but it stops there. I have to put myself first, and I have to tell others what I want in a clear way, not by trying to make them guess.

New result: much less stress, resentment and frustration. Communication gets crystal clear with others, honesty and trust rise in my relationships, responsibilities and boundaries are well defined. Guilt is defined more correctly, which means that it is self-imposed when necessary (if I find I did something wrong) and guilt trips don’t function anymore (when others try to make you feel guilty for something you shouldn’t be). Acceptance of others (ideas, values, behaviors) is easy and natural. In case of issues where I have no control over, I just shrug it off. In case of issues I can do something about, I work toward a solution if it’s important. Much less rumination over all (almost none, actually).

And finally, my main identity in this world was of…

BEING A VICTIM

Old belief: I treat others nicely so they should treat me nicely. If they don’t, why? Why do they treat me like this? Why is this happening to me? What did I do wrong? Or is it just because of the person I am?

Old result: whatever question you ask, the brain comes up with answers. By asking questions like these, the answers make me become a victim of the actions of others. I feel powerless. I feel faulty, not just my actions, but my whole person. Like I am a problem and I am not worthy.

GETTING RID OF KARMA BELIEF… PROCESSING…

New belief: the way people treat me says something about them, not about me. Only the way I react says something about me. There is no such a thing as being the victim of the actions of others. The only way to become a victim is when I allow myself to be one.

New result: I ask myself what can I do about the situation, and I come up with an answer. I feel powerful, in control. I stand up for myself and let people know they can’t cross that line. I do what I want, work on what I believe and go for my needs. I don’t feel a victim anymore, of others, of the world, of Karma. I build what I can build and let go of the rest. I go with the flow.

THE RULES OF LIFE

All of these beliefs and behaviors came from one mindset I had: the idea that life is fair.

And from that, I took out that if I’m a good person and if I work hard then I’ll be happy. But the then never happened. And it’s because it’s not supposed to happen. Happiness and fulfillment are just a side effect of how you approach and live life, nothing else.

And this is what I’ve learned along the journey.

1. Life doesn’t care

Life not being fair doesn’t mean that life is unfair. It means that life just doesn’t care. It just happens.

Somewhere soon enough in this world a woman will give a 5 dollars meatball Subway sandwich to a homeless man and right after she will be flying for 50 meters being hit by a young asshole sending a picture of his ridiculous small junk on snapchat while driving a huge black Ford SUV registered in New Jersey.

It’s life. Even this happens.

Is it frightening? It shouldn’t. It’s actually great news. When you understand that life just sends lemons randomly, you then discover that there is nothing you can do about it except opening your arms as wide as possible and fully accept.

And then you can quickly move on, pushing forward and focusing on what really matters to you.

2. You have to experiment

You cannot know what you want to do in life—or even what you like, or who—just by thinking it. You have to experiment, you have to go for it, you have to get your own feedback and to cumulate experience.

You cannot find what you’re passionated about, what moves you, what you’re ready to stand up and fight for if you don’t risk yourself out there.

Inspiration comes from action.

This might sound like platitude, but I can tell you it’s hard to believe how many people I talk to who complain about life being boring or about not knowing what they want to do with their lives, and who actually don’t move a single cheek out of the couch.

3. Invest in yourself

Read, learn, take classes, meet people, travel, exercise, meditate, try new things, try things you think you’ll hate, try things you think are dumb, try things you think are disgusting, try try try try try.

And from all that, grab what’s helpful to you and incorporate it into your own life.

Some people read the Bible to follow it to the letter. I say read the Bible, take what makes sense to you, and send the rest to the trash bin.

The idea here is to get so much experience and knowledge so that when life sends you lemons, you don’t just do lemonade but you build a fucking business around it.

The more you know about the world and about yourself, the more you’ll be able to handle what’s sent to you, the more you’ll be able to spend as little energy, time and emotions on things that you have no control over, the more you’ll be able to focus on things that you can push forward, and build the life you’re dreaming of.

The more you know about the world and about yourself, the more you’ll be able to build meaningful, healthy, honest and trustworthy relationships with your loved ones, and with new encounters.

In the same way your body has an immune system to handle infections, you have to build your emotional immune system to handle lemons. And then you’ll see that it’s true, life is actually simple.

No more than 2 weeks ago some studies have shown that 2/3rd of cancers come from random mutations. So it’s mainly just bad luck. Is that true? Maybe, maybe not. I would still not start smoking, but I would also still not believe that I got hit by a car last year because I stole money from my mom’s purse 18 years ago. (Sorry mom.)

We make mistakes, we learn from them, and we become better people.

There’s no magic out there to keep your mistakes in order. It is your own personal responsibility to learn and grow from them.

So build yourself a thick skin. Learn to be resilient. Learn to be courageous. Learn to express yourself in this world. Learn to stand up and fight for what you believe in.

And of course learn to Love.

Yourself. Your friends. And Life.

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