I know this post was supposed to come a few weeks ago, but the launch of the Fend For Your Health podcast took a lot more time. However, that’s no excuse, let’s get right into the final post of the series.
Throughout the series, each post focused on defining label culture through in-group out-group bias. Now that is out the way I want to layout ways to minimize and eventually eradicate the need to use stereotypes and biases to navigate day to day life.
Let Competition Go
A significant factor of label culture is “winning” or being better than someone else to feel good. A notion that is so toxic it drains a lot of daily energy. The amount of brainpower spent on trying to one-up or ego satisfaction is unnecessary and avoidable. Finding comfort in your skin is the number one way to let the constant competition go. It does not matter if someone knows a little more than you or has more skill in a specific thing. Most of the time, this is perception rather than fact, even when it isn’t, there is so much more to life than that one thing or few things.
Now I know this is not easy and takes a lot of courage to deep dive within ourselves, but it’s necessary. I’d say it’s essential to do this as it opens you up to much more happiness and freedom. I use meditation and daily affirmations to aid in this process. However, these are not the only two ways to go about it. As long as the practice you chose removes the need for competitive validation you’re on the right track.
Even though this should be obvious, compassion helps us connect with others. The kind of connection that is nonexistent in label culture because of schadenfreude and the imagined inequality between everyone.
Furthermore, being compassionate towards others decreases the amount of cortisol the body produces by nearly one fourth. Cortisol is the stress hormone for those unfamiliar, a decrease like this makes our lives much more manageable. I know each of you would love a little less daily stress.
Practising compassion is simple and easy to do at any moment. One way is thinking about how lucky you are to be alive. Another is to stop focusing on how different others are, instead think of the similarities between you. There are various ways of practising, but these two are great starting points, in my opinion.
The last tip is staying present or living in the now. I find that this drowns out all the mental chatter, in addition to mindlessly conforming to label culture norms.
Staying present is more than focusing on the current moment it, is about being able to fill yourself with joy and happiness as well. In the now as Echart Tolle calls it there are no problems, or negativity, there are possibilities. With this in mind, there is no room for label culture.
If you find it hard to stay present, take a few deep breaths between daily tasks. Ask yourself; what will my next thought be? By doing this, all your attention will be on your mind. During this time, the mental chatter will halt, you will notice the sounds around you and even the flow of your breath. At that moment you are fully present the more you do this, eventually the presence will last longer than a few seconds or minutes. There will be days of no mental chatter, anxiety or mental projections into the future.
That said none of the tips above will become permanent overnight or within the first few weeks to months. Our prior conditioning is too powerful in addition to being reinforced daily, monthly, even yearly. Yet, as long as you continue to stray from it, the easier it will be to let things go, be compassionate and stay present.