Five Signs You are Living in a Mental Prison
For a lot of us, one day is not much different from the day that preceded it which is an exact replica of the day that went before that and on and on. It’s very easy to think that somehow, someway you live in a world where you really don’t have much of an impact.
Regardless of what you do, what you try, and how hard you try, at the end of the day, it feels like you’re living in a world that you did not create. You’re some sort of passenger in this moving vehicle, which you cannot control, called your life.
Part of that is this idea that you’re stuck. You really can’t change things. Things are what happened to you, instead of you making things happen.
Unfortunately, a lot of people live this kind of life and fail to realize that they’re in some sort of mental prison. This is a prison of their own making.
You have to understand that unlike a physical prison, where you are physically restrained by four walls and some iron bars, a mental prison is a place that you can easily walk out of. Often times, you have the key to the prison door lock in your very palms.
However, very few people bother to put the key in the lock and walk away a free person. Here are five signs that you’re living in a mental prison.
Sign #1: You feel trapped in your life
I hope you don’t need me to explain how ridiculous the concept of being trapped in your life is. I don’t want to sound harsh. I definitely don’t mean to sound judgemental, but let’s face it.
How can you be trapped in your life when you can always walk away? How can you be trapped in your life when you can make a decision today, right here, right now to go away, to go someplace, to do something different, to try new patterns, to think a different way, to feel a different range of emotions?
The problem with this mental prison is one of definition. The moment we think we define ourselves as trapped in our lives is the moment the prison walls get thicker and thicker, until it becomes a reality.
The only person trapping you in your life is yourself. I know that sounds harsh. You’re probably thinking, “Well, look at these other situations that I’m in Look at what happened in my past.”
Well, I’m telling you you’re always in control of how you respond to the past and the things that are happening right now. The moment you change how you respond and how you interpret that stimuli is the moment you start walking out of that mental prison. You are not trapped. Instead, you chose to be there.
Sign #2: You can’t help but react to certain situations
Has this ever happened to you? You’re having a great day, and then for some weird reason, you start thinking about your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. From that point on, your day is ruined.
You start thinking about how you were abused, how you were tricked, manipulated, lied to, or humiliated. Whatever the case may be, this rush of negative emotions come in.
It’s not like something that you can see a mile away. You can’t choose to walk around it. It just washes over you like a sudden rainstorm. Now, it hits you like a ton of bricks.
You become very negative. It’s very hard for you to trust. It’s very hard for you to reach out to people. It’s very hard for you to open-up. Sometimes it even infuriates you.
Well, this is a classic sign of a mental prison because the way you react is a choice. Nobody’s holding a gun to your head saying, “If you start thinking these things, you must be miserable.”
Nobody’s putting you in that situation. You chose to be there. You chose to react in the most negative way possible because you get something out of it. You get a guilty pleasure.
Believe it or not, a lot of people who feel depressed actually have a reward when they feel depressed. I know that sounds perverse, but it’s true.
Otherwise, they won’t be repeating that same process over and over again, unless of course, they’re suffering from a serious chemical imbalance. Outside of biochemical hardwired reasons, most people who feel depressed all the time get a reward.
Let go of that reward. Understand that there are other rewards out there. Also, understand that you can look at the past in a different way. You can look at it at least in a way that doesn’t hold you back and drag you down.
Sign #3: You constantly compare yourself to others
When you compare yourself to others, please understand that you are always lining up your worst to their best. If you’re not doing that, you’re also setting yourself up for disappointment.
You think you’re clever. You think you’re smart. You think you got it together, but guess what. There will be other people who have it better than you. Maybe your IQ is 110, well there are people with IQs of 120,130, or 150.
Maybe you think you’re rich. You have ten million dollars in the bank. Guess what? There are people with twenty million dollars, a hundred million or billion dollars in the bank. You see where there is leading?
Trying to put yourself in some sort of hierarchy is a losing game because by definition, comparisons are problematic. You can’t stay there because either there’s already people existing that are better than you, or they will exist in the future.
Sure, maybe you’re at the top of your game right now, but given enough time, somebody will beat you at your game. You see how fruitless this is?
This is the mental prison of false pride and false identity. You cannot live your life based solely on how you compare to others.
Whatever advantage you think you have in the here and now will disappear given enough time. Look for a better standard. Walk away from that mental habit.
Sign #4: You think your best years are behind you
There are many people who choose to live defeated lives because they really don’t see a point to doing their best in the here and now. So, what kind of excuse do they come up with?
You have to understand that most people would not own up to this. Most people would not honestly admit this. Instead, they would say that their best years are behind them. Maybe they’re too old, too tired, too busy, too beaten down by life.
Whatever the case may be, their best years are behind them. This is a mental prison. It really is because what you’ve done is you have accepted an excuse. You know full well that you can do better tomorrow, but you choose not to.
It is very comforting to think that for whatever reason, your best years are behind you because it justifies you not trying. As long as you have breath, you can come up with something better.
Maybe you’re physically weak and old, that’s fine, but that doesn’t mean that you’re mentally beaten as well. At the very least, you can choose to love better tomorrow. You can choose to be a more supporting person tomorrow.
You see how this works? But to think that your best years are behind you, is to do yourself a big service because you’re freezing yourself in time.
You’re holding yourself to a very toxic standard. Let’s face it. All of us are not getting any younger. We’re not as strong as before, but that does not in any way excuse us from trying to live up to our fullest potential.
Sign #5: You feel that your life will get better only with the help of the right people
People who suffer from this mental prison are basically giving themselves excuses for not taking responsibility over their lives right now. This is very common.
How many times have you said to yourself, “I will be making a lot of money if I get the right job? I will fall in love if the right person comes along. I will get my act together if my parents do the right thing and on and on it goes.”
What you’re doing is you’re finding all sort of justification to not take action now. I’ve got some bad news for you. You are the sole owner of your life. You are responsible for your life.
You have to take action now. You can’t wait for other people to get their act together. That’s just not going to happen. We’re all imperfect. We’re all flawed. We have our different timelines. So instead of putting your life on hold while you’re waiting for the right person to come around. Be that person.
Identify the five signs above so you can finally spring yourself out of your mental prison. I’ve got some bad news for you. You have to do it yourself. Nobody owes you any favors. Nobody can do it for you, because this prison is inside.