Chris Taylor @christaylor_nyc: What got you through your darkest moments?
Ciaran Murphy @ciaranmurphyads: How can you build yr self esteem when you are confronted daily by people who’s opinions confirm your worst fears about yourself?
These are two sides of the same question. We’ve all had many darkest moments. When I first moved to the city I had no friends, no girlfriend, was constantly worried I was going to lose my job, and on and on. I shared a room with one other guy who would constantly bring over his girlfriend when they thought I was asleep. They would have sex in the bathoom, against the wall. My bed shared the wall with the bathroom. I had a garbage bag next to my bed. That was my only luggage. Every morning I would pull my suit out of the garbage bag, put it on and go to work. I don’t think I did laundry for three months.
This was the best time of my life.
Another time I had a penthouse 5000 square foot apartment, money in the bank, kids, I had sold a business, I was starting a new business. This was the worst time in my life. I’ve had lots of moments in between. But this particular time, along with several others, I felt suicidal.
What you have to do is take a step back. It’s never about the circumstances. It’s never about what is happening to you or who is treating you in a negative way, or how much money you have in the bank.
It’s about how you are taking care of yourself.
In 1995 I was dating a girl who was a creative genius. She made beautiful websites out of thin air. This was back in 1995. She was also incredibly obnoxious and negative. She was so obnoxious but so smart that everything she said made me laugh. Even if her most vicious barbs were aimed directly at me. But since I had no self-respect I just laughed. The jokes were funny.
To look at her was to hate her. For instance, we were walking in the street New Year’s Day 1996 and a bum walked up to her and simply spat on her. Not to say she caused it but she always looked and acted so negative that one’s gut reflex was to spit on her. She was also a heroin addict.
One time we woke up and she said let’s go bicycle riding. Since I had no opinions of myself and was always willing to do what other people suggested I got on a bike and spent the morning dodging cars that were trying to kill me. We went more and more East, more and more Lower, into the projects in the Lower East Side. She said, “wait here” and got off her bike while everyone around was staring at me, at the bikes. She went into the projects and came back a few minutes later. Later that day she told me she got heroin. And if I was a “bitch” and didn’t like it I could just leave. I stayed. Then. It took me awhile to leave.
My point in bringing her up is twofold. One, she always put me down. Always. Every hour of every day. And yet it was hard for me to leave her. I felt bad about myself because she was my mirror so I wanted her to say nice things to me and I kept sticking around hoping for those nice things to show up in my mirror. Two, one of the things she said to put me down was “you’re like reading the same newspaper twice” because I always kept saying the same story twice. In my constant attempts to interest her in my life I would repeat things and forget I had already told her them,
So now I’m going to be like reading the same newspaper twice in what I’m about to say. It’s important at these moments (at every moment really but particularly at these moments) to take a step back and say: I’m going to get healthy. Forget all the people putting me down for a second. Forget the dark moments. Right this moment I need to do what I can to get healthy. And this doesn’t mean eating yogurt and not snacking. This means, keeping all four “bodies” healthy: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. When you do this, your body, mind, and spirit will be like a machine. You’ll be like a warrior of the planet Earth. A force of nature.
Physical: eat well, eat early, sleep many hours, exercise. Clean yourself.
Emotional: Do not be around negative people, people who will bring you down or make your feel bad about yourself. Sometimes you can’t help it. Sometimes at your school or place of work or even in your home, they are just there. Then what you have to do is train them by placing boundaries. When they start putting you down, do not engage. Don’t laugh, don’t fight back, don’t argue or get defensive. Just move away. Say “hi” and walk away.
I’ll repeat it: DON’T ENGAGE. Only by setting boundaries will they understand. Not by talking to them (they won’t listen), not by kissing their ass (that will make them worse), not by taking it good naturedly (they will think you like it) – just move away. And, in exchange, try to find positive people in your life. If you can’t find them immediately, try to read books or blogs by positive people. I should’ve done this in 1995. I’m a bit better at it now. It takes practice.
Sometimes you have a reason to feel negative. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read from or be around people with positive energy. Every part of the universe has elements of both types of energy. But too often we get sucked into negativity and we let the positive side of ourselves shrink into nothing. That’s called “unhealthy”. Don’t do it.
Mentally. Forget everyone else. Read books every day (not garbage like news or TV). Come up with ideas to make people’s lives better every day. This is the only way to get excited about real world things in such a way that it takes you off the floor to actually want to DO something. You must come up with ideas every day. I’ve been saying this for over a year on this blog and I’ve also been saying that in “six months your life will be completely different”. Well, for the past six months I’ve been getting testimonials telling me I was dead on.
Spiritually. There’s not that much difference between you and everyone else. And everything else for that matter. Being grateful. Putting yourself in other people’s shoes, appreciating the smallest slices of each moment, no matter how scary the future is or how depressing the past has been – this will keep your spiritual body healthy. Remember that the future is just science fiction. It’s far away and doesn’t exist, even if it potentially has the gift of fear and failure waiting for you. And remember that the past also is gone. It may have left an impression on you. But that impression exists RIGHT NOW. Thats all that’s left of the past. Something that exists right now. Say hello to it. Then appreciate the RIGHT NOW. That’s all you need to do to keep the spiritual body healthy. And do it as much as possible. Everytime you feel yourself dragged into the time machine of past and future.
Do these four things consistently (and you can track them via a site, tdp.me set up just for this) and you will get up off the floor, people will begin to treat you better, you will become an idea machine, and each moment will glisten like a diamond blasted like coal burned in the center of the sun.