By: Junaid Kajee
We humans love sedatives. And I’m not talking about the kind you need a doctor’s prescription for. I’m talking about the kind that dims your courage, shatters your dreams and convinces you to settle for a life of settling. A life where you settle for the relationships you have; you settle for the state of health you’re experiencing; you settle for the job that doesn’t bring you inner-growth.
I’m talking about how we are obsessed with finding things that help take our attention away from the people & issues that matter. We’re scared to be alone with our thoughts, with ourselves. Looking inward is an excruciatingly painful exercise; it strips away every image you portray and shows you who you really are…what your life really stands for. That’s why we love finding ways to dull the inner pain we feel; to drown out the noise; to cover the gaping wounds our souls carry. Alcohol, gambling, drug and every other addiction exists because the idea of being able to escape everything that’s happening around us is so attractive.
Finding someone or something to focus on helps us evade the responsibility of focusing on ourselves and our own problems. Eventually, we find it easier to look at someone else’s struggle and to comment on their lives than to muster the courage to look within ourselves and face the demons we’ve been trying to run away from. We spend our days eagerly waiting for the next hot piece of gossip, our next ‘fix’. News of the next scandal. Details of his failed marriage. Why did she get divorced? Whose business is going bankrupt? Is his child on drugs? Is she his second wife? On and on the mill of meaningless information churns out blindfolds which you can use to block out the reality of what’s going on within you, around you. And most importantly it helps you ignore what’s happening to you.
To lead a life that matters you need to be aware of what’s happening to you : Every time you reach for your sedative, you’re actually drifting further away from the life you’re meant to live. Your sedative might be procrastination, gossip, working 15 hour days, spending hours on meaningless internet debates or binge-watching T.V. series. It doesn’t matter what your sedative of choice is; what matters is knowing that the sedative is there to prevent you from making real, meaningful progress. It only exists in your life because you let it function as a screen that hides the issues you need to be paying attention to. When you ignore the important people and issues in your life think about what happens to a wound that’s ignored.
Identify your sedative, then identify why you’re so addicted to it. What pain are you trying to numb? What noise are you trying to drown out?
As long as you’re sedated you’re going to walk around in a haze of meaningless mazes, doing the same things every day only to sink further into the unhappiness that drove you to sedation in the first place.