I used to love waking up at the crack of dawn every morning.
It made me feel heroic and powerful and successful and devoted. Like I was always one step ahead of the rest of the world.
In fact, the only think I loved more than waking up early was bragging to other people about it. They would blink their eyes in amazement at my level of discipline. And feelings of superiority would wash over me like a soothing wave.
But what I didn’t realize was that these feelings were slowly grating away at my psyche. Because I was becoming addicted to my feelings of superiority. Trapped in a vicious cycle of too much comparison and criticism, and too little compassion and contentment.
Here’s how it would work.
I would set unrealistically high standards for myself, like waking up at the crack of dawn every day, knowing that when I failed to meet them, I could beat myself up, thus reinforcing my feelings of supremacy associated with having my standards in the first place.
No wonder I was hospitalized multiple times for stress related illnesses.
Neff’s research on leaving insecurity behind explains this cycle perfectly. She says:
By taking the perspective of the one holding the whip as well as the one quivering on the ground, we are able to indulge in feelings of righteous indignation toward our own inadequacies.
Too much comparison, too little compassion.
The point is, there’s nothing wrong with waking up early and getting a jumpstart on your day. But be careful that you’re not creating too many chances to feel superior to others and, most of all, feel superior to those aspects of yourself that you judge.
Because that’s one hard drug to kick.
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Which are your feelings are you addicted to?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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