Stop Overcomplicating Things
Have you ever had the experience of buying into the hype of a gadget that will supposedly make your life easier? I do this a lot, particularly with kitchen tools. I see the ad, and I imagine myself blissfully playing with my son while my perfectly cooked dinner simmers away in an Instapot on the counter. Or smiling as I squeeze deliciously unappealing homemade baby food moosh into pouches that surely he will love. Or getting the food processor and the blender and the juicer because really I want it all. I am not buying convenience when I buy these things. I am buying the illusion of simplicity. In times when I so desperately feel a need to pare my life down I am particularly susceptible to the guile of marketing. But at the end of the day, what I end up with, is clutter. I have overcomplicated my cabinets. I have invested in something new and confusing and exciting for a couple of rounds before it gets retired to the back of the cupboard. And I pretend it isn’t there. Or I give it away so as to forget it ever existed. Because my life is never simpler as a result of these gadgets, it is always more complicated.
I do this with personal growth too. I drift between exciting developments in neuroscience, and the law of attraction, and eastern philosophy, and the biology of the introverts, and exploring the nature of vulnerability or any number of other topics that grabs my eye. For the searching soul, we find temptations to seek that which we already believe in self-help philosophy. This is because we are all susceptible to confirmation bias. We seek what validates our beliefs. We rarely seek to challenge it. So as we quest for that thing, that thought, that belief that will help take us to the next level of growth, that will simplify everything, we may also be inadvertently obscuring the path to our higher selves.
We are born wise. We spend our lives cultivating our own blend of beliefs, ideas and cognitions that add to our individuation. Our experiences are filtered through our unique lenses, coloring our perception of everything. As we age we add new experiences, beliefs, struggles, fears, hopes, emotions, stories, and thinking patterns into our sense of self. Without realizing it, we cumulatively complicate our lives. The simplicity of childhood escapes us as adults. There is too much to worry about, too much to work for, too much responsibility. We layer the immeasurable stimuli of each new day onto the previous, continuously adding to the storehouse of who we are. We seek wisdom in our age, attempting to outrun old mistakes and avoid new ones. We seek solace from our worries. We seek respite. And we easily forget that the we carry the respite within. We were born with it. And it is still accessible, if we can strip away the layers of unnecessary complications we have added to our lives.