Operation Rescue is underway: 70% OFF on 12Min Premium!
A truly unprecedented opportunity to reach your goals in the second half of 2023!
A large portion of people nowadays have some addiction - some, for instance, tend to overeat, others overwork, while some take drugs or drink excessive amounts of alcohol. Whatever the bad habit is, people fall into it for one reason - to turn away from their emotions and numb the pain they feel deep inside. Unfortunately, the more we avoid facing our problems and spend time with ourselves, our mind becomes heavier, pushing us into the circle of unhealthy coping mechanisms. The book ‘’Lighter’’ by Yung Pueblo teaches us how to let go of those mechanisms, connect with our emotions, and embrace a lighter future. So, get ready to learn how to heal yourself!
One night in the summer of 2011, 23-year-old Yung Pueblo found himself on the floor, with his heart pounding so hard that he thought he would have a heart attack. Although he was immensely scared his life came to an end, more than anything, he was embarrassed because he allowed drugs to take him to that point. They weren’t there because of pleasure, partying, or having fun. The reason, as he realized at that moment, was much more complex - he used them to escape from his inner sadness. As he lay on the floor, unable to move for several hours, he regretted not figuring out how to cope with his tension in a healthy way. He thought about his parents, who gave him and his siblings unconditional love and a chance for a better life despite the challenging conditions. Overwhelmed by regret and gratitude, he managed to calm down and get back on his feet with one objective - to stop risking his life only because he feared his emotions. ‘’I did not yet understand what was happening inside me and why I had fallen into such bad habits, but I knew that part of the reason was that I was lying to myself about how I really felt inside,’’ he writes. Therefore, his path forward had to begin with radical honesty and a strong determination to build healthier habits for his body and mind.
In the years to come, Pueblo tried to examine the source of his struggles. Whenever he had the urge to take intoxicants, he would bring his awareness inward to discover the origins of his tension. ‘’The simple act of being unafraid to take a deep look within released much tension in my mind,’’ he recalls. Although this practice did bring positive changes into his life, it wasn’t until he took up meditation that he started learning the root of his suffering. Thanks to it, he stopped consuming alcohol, marijuana, and other intoxicants. Moreover, it showed him that everyone, despite their emotional history, can open themselves to healing and observe their reality ‘’within the framework of their own bodies.’’
The healing journey to letting go of bad habits cannot exist without the non-judgemental and honest attention you give to yourself. Pueblo says that discovering the practice of self-love was the critical stepping stone in his healing. He writes, ‘’Self-love was the missing link. It was the key to wholeness that I was unconsciously searching for. I discovered that the appreciation you seek from others will not hold the same rejuvenating power as the appreciation, attention, and kindness you can give yourself.’’
Just as you cannot build a home with a stable structure without a good foundation, you cannot discover yourself and improve your well-being without self-love. Contrary to what mainstream media wants us to think, self-love has nothing to do with materialism. No, you don’t practice self-love by buying things, nor by putting yourself first at all costs, because it can quickly lead you to become self-centered. According to Pueblo, self-love means relating to yourself with compassion, honesty, and openness. It begins with unconditional acceptance of all the things you love about yourself as well as your flaws and imperfections. Nevertheless, true self-love is not only about acceptance but also acknowledgment that there is always room for improvement.
We cannot talk about self-love unless we mention the concepts of radical honesty, positive habit building, and unconditional self-acceptance. Being radically honest does not mean telling others what’s on your mind, but facing your emotions and being in contact with your truth. Unless you are honest with yourself, emotions such as anger and sadness, primary manifestations of fear, grow and make you disconnected from yourself and others.
Radical honesty leads to the second pillar of self-love, positive habit building. Pueblo says that one of the first things he realized when he started practicing radical honesty is that he was unhealthy. His lungs were exhausted and weak, and the food he ate did not nourish his body. Therefore, he started jogging and adding nutritious food to his diet. Naturally, the road to building positive habits is always bumpy. That is why you need self-acceptance to prevent you from giving up when you stumble, take a few steps back, and regress to old habits.
Once you activate self-love, you will get a clearer picture of what your mind holds. It might be, like in Pueblo’s case, sadness that his family lived in poverty for so long and frustration that he could not often get what he craved. As he writes, ‘’Scarcity made me more attached—I would cling to the few things that I would get and crave so much of what I could not afford. I had to heal.’’
We all carry tension in our minds that results from unhealed past traumas. The thing is, a mind full of stress and anxiety cannot focus on the present moment, let alone learn new patterns of functioning. It makes us repeat our reactions even when they did no good to us. ‘’The mind will not do what is good for it unless we intentionally train it to do so,‘’ Pueblo notes.
Fortunately, we can release the tension that prevents us from living a better life from our minds - for this, we have to act as explorers and enter our inner world with awareness. It will allow us to see how our mind processes challenging situations and what behavioral patterns we tend to repeat throughout life. Imagine you could pause the events in front of you to figure out what is happening. Self-awareness does precisely that - it gives you the ability to witness reality without immediately reacting to it. Achieving this is the first sign of progress in your healing.
Perhaps all this sounds easy, but, in reality, healing takes lots of time and energy, which is understandable since, in the author’s words, ‘’Patterns are built over decades, and reactions that have accumulated over long spans of time gather deep in the subconscious and harden like concrete.’’ Since you need to change your mindset, healing depends solely on you, which is comforting because you have power to control the course of your transformation. Just arm yourself with acceptance, patience, and effort, and when the healing starts, you will be on the way to building a better life.
Has your imagination ever disturbed a perfectly peaceful moment? Have you ever missed enjoying the abundance around you because of your cravings? How many times has your mind ruined the moment you impatiently waited because it started fixating on what was missing? If you want to experience a profound shift in your life, you need to understand that your mind is responsible for plenty of your struggles. As Pueblo writes, ‘’The mind has a strong pattern that bends it toward dissatisfaction. It will pick things apart without realizing that, in the process, it is undermining its own joy.’’
The concept of letting go does not only involve abandoning harmful behavior but also the notion that our happiness and healing depend on outer circumstances. For instance, many of us believe that other people cause us stress or tension, and, therefore, we think our lives would improve if they changed. However, their transformation cannot guarantee our improvement because our perceptions and reactions depend primarily on what lies within our minds. Let’s say your past was stressful. Then, even seemingly small things others say or do can cause immense stress. So, blaming others for your misfortune won’t bring any positive changes in your life. As Pueblo emphasizes, ‘’the only solution that is within your control is changing yourself,’’ and the ‘’only route to happiness is developing greater self-awareness, combined with more wisdom regarding the human condition.’’
You cannot manage other people, but what you certainly can do is manage your reactions to the challenges you face. What does that mean? It means developing a subtle understanding of what happens inside you and embracing all emotions, even those that are harder to feel. This is crucial since we tend to let intense emotions govern our perceptions and reactions. What we should do instead is accept their presence and wait for them to change. Being able to observe and distance yourself from your emotions will help you react independently to them.
The pseudonym Yung Pueblo literally means ‘’young people,’’ and the reason behind this word choice is that they reflect the idea of our society not being completely developed. Pueblo says that although we are taught from an early age to share, be honest, fair, kind and unharmful to others, we still do not live according to these principles. However, they do ‘’show us a path to supporting the health and harmony of all people.’’ To paraphrase, once we grow deeper in our maturity, we will be able to transform our world from ‘’structurally harmful’’ to ‘’structurally compassionate.’’
According to Pueblo, the primary obstacle to reaching structural compassion is ego. We live in the world of extremes, where some people receive less because they lack resources, while others never struggle with money issues. Basically, this division reflects the friction existing in our ego which makes us defensive and competitive toward each other. As Pueblo explains, ‘’Whether it is about where we stand on the social ladder of our family or community, how much wealth we have, or how intelligent or wise we seem, compared to others, ego keeps the mind trapped in imaginary comparisons that take up much of our mental energy.’’
Ego’s attachment to the hierarchy reflects in the general organization of our society where a few have great power over many. Unlike this form, which Pueblo calls triangular, we need a circular one where power and wealth are more equally shared. And this is where personal healing helps the healing of society because those who commit themselves to change for the better move away from thinking in extremes. ‘’Instead, they give love and support when they can and are mindful to keep their own tank full,’’ Pueblo notes.
Creating a mature, structurally compassionate world where people reflect love, live without material struggle and have available everything they need to reach inner and outer success, is possible only if we intentionally commit ourselves to the healing of the individual, as well as the collective. In fact, taking action to support the wellbeing of people around us is an inevitable part of the personal healing journey. You cannot progress in healing unless you try to be kind, generous, and compassionate towards others.
A famous spiritual teacher Peace Pilgrim said that ‘’People allow themselves to be slaves of their bad habits and society’s bad habits - but they have free will, and if they wish to be free, they can.’’ In ‘’Lighter,’’ Pueblo compassionately teaches us how to use our free will to break the circle of bad habits that stand in the way of our progress. That being said, this insightful guide is what every individual and society as a whole inevitably needs.
‘’If we want to build a better world,’’ Pueblo writes, ‘’it has to be done through love. Love is the strongest building material in the universe, and unconditional love sees no one as an enemy.’’
Diego Perez is a meditator and #1 New York Times bestselling author who is widely known on Instagram and various social media networks through his pen name, Yung Pueblo. Online he has an audience of over 3... (Read more)
on Apple Store and Google Play
of 12min users improve their reading habits
Grow exponentially with the access to powerful insights from over 2,500 nonfiction microbooks.
Start enjoying 12min's extensive library
Don't worry, we'll send you a reminder that your free trial expires soon
Free Trial ends here
Get 7-day unlimited access. With 12min, start learning today and invest in yourself for just USD $4.14 per month. Cancel before the trial ends and you won't be charged.Start your free trial
Now you can! Start a free trial and gain access to the knowledge of the biggest non-fiction bestsellers.