The epitome of education-based suffering: THE ESSAY! (part 2)

This post works for me, as I’m going back to therapy, I use meditation, and as of next year I’ll be going back to university to do Behavioural Psychology. For me it’s essential to use both psychology and spiritualism however I know that it’s whatever works for you. I’m dealing with a friend who’s suffering a crisis of his self-worth and he doesn’t understand that it’s not me that’s going to get him out of it, it’s him. But then his worth has been measured in the past by his accomplishments, not his intrinsic value as a human being, simply by being born.

and we’re back with part 2! the psychological side of the essay.

So you’ve gotten the brief or notification for the task; you have to write an essay on such and such with all of these criteria that you have to meet, and you’re terrified, or you’re dreading it. Why? What’s there to be scared about? Well let me tell you.

It’s something deep in our psyche that we are scared of.

You’re scared of failure, Rejection, anything that proves to you that ‘you’re not good enough’

Deeply embedded into pretty much of all of us is the fear that we are not good enough and while it may seem a simple concept it can be seriously damaging in the long term. As a core belief, this thought has the power to permeate anything we do and it comes up in situations that require performance especially, essays for example. You can read a little about core beliefs here if you’re interested:

What are core beliefs?

More often than not, we don’t know why we ‘need to be good enough’ or who we need to be good enough for and often we just end up saying “I need to be good enough for this person so I can feel like I’m worth it” or something like that. This is just how we explain it away to ourselves but at the core, what is really happening is we are placing our value in the hands of other people. We are basically creating this spiral:

“If you don’t like something I do, you mustn’t like me, which means other people don’t like me either and I’m not good enough. If I’m not good enough then what’s the point?”

This is, in essence, how our insecurities work. We over-catastrophise small thoughts, events and consequences and they become huge parts of our lives and we lose control. This is because we’ve given everyone else the control over our own self-worth.

Give it back! I want my power back!

The good news is you’re not stuck with these thoughts. From a psychological perspective, these core beliefs can be essentially ‘fixed’ using a form of therapy called CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), which I am undergoing at the moment and it has been quite useful so far. However, I am no psychologist and I have much more knowledge on a spiritual front so I’ll talk about that because I find it more relatable.

Most forms of spirituality teach a ‘return to the self’ where we recognise that as humans we are conditioned into our ways of thinking and acting through our interactions with society (think social rules and etiquette for example). Taoism in particular relates the true self to the infant at birth during which time it has no thought and no desire, no conditioning and therefore, no core beliefs. So how do we get back to this emptied state?

Yes, this can be just as time-consuming and difficult as psychological therapy but it’s through meditation and ‘stillness’ that we can revert to basically nothing. Now while that does sound a little esoteric, meditation has become common practice for a lot of people regardless of their beliefs and it’s even used as a technique for dealing with mental health difficulties. The point is that through meditation we can do quite a few beneficial things including, but not limited to:

  • Experience freedom from thought and worry
  • Still the body and relax
  • Contemplate
  • Become aware of your body and mind on a deeper level (which is really cool)

Now I’m not just using this post as a form of promotion for meditation and spirituality but I really do believe that this works as I’ve seen results in myself. You’ll notice that when you become more aware of yourself you have more control over things like parts of your body and your mind, including your thoughts and fears.

mhm, so what’s this got to do with essays?

Well the essay is a form of performance right? So without knowing you naturally fear the outcome of this; you’ll have to go and spend time writing an essay all the while worrying that it won’t be ‘good enough’ and then when you submit it you’ll be worrying that it won’t be ‘good enough’ because you think that to be ‘good enough’ you have to please others. Well honey that’s just not true, we are all born perfect; devoid of mind, personality and desire. It’s only our conditioning making us worry and think that we aren’t good enough. Your conditioning is not you.

So you go write that essay! you go get those marks! Because at the end of the day,you have the power over your own self-worth and that is something you should never give away.

What do you think? A bit of a stretch to liken psychology, spirituality and essays, I know, but I found it some useful food for thought.


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