Carl Jung, famous psychologist from almost 100 years ago, said that the primary neurosis of the modern age was this feeling of restlessness that people get. He had this theory before Netlfix! What would he think now! I think you can probably stay that restlessness is a milder form of anxiety. I think everyone experiences this feeling and it is annoying. We will almost do anything to get out from underneath it. It is insidious and it is most likely the feeling that causes irrational behavior and fuels addictions.
This is going to be hard to accept. It is for me. However, if you have this feeling and you can actually detect that is what it is, then you have to come to grips with the fact that you have a mental imbalance. There is something off about your mind. You are having difficulty being still, resting, staying present, doing nothing for a while, and just being plain ol inactive. So first off, how do you know you have this problem!?
Well, I am a bit of an expert. I have have had this issue my entire life. Probably since I was a baby. You are suffering from this mental imbalance that causes restlessness if you need to be constantly doing something. Your sleep cycle is disrupted, usually after falling asleep for a while. You find yourself laying in bed after 2am. You feel exhausted, but you can tell that you are still awake. Another symptom is that you cannot handle the normal routine. You are constantly messing it up, looking for the new cool thing. You tend to get irritable for no good reason, even to the point of emotional fits. You might even experience unexplainable physical pain.
This underlying feeling causes you do to things that are not good. The worst end is addictive behavior. Hard drugs and even too much caffeine. You tend to be focused on material things because shopping for them relieves the restless syndrome. You will consume bad foods and not even taste them hardly. You are just looking to appease this feeling of unease all the time. You tend to focus too much on body image, accumulation of money or other things that fill the void of supposed accomplishment and you find yourself addicted to stupid things from time to time like social media, streaming content or games.
If you are like me, you recognize this problem and you overcome it for a while. You are high functioning person with a powerful drive for success. This allows you to achieve at a really high level, but you are always struggling because of this feeling of restlessness. Are you ready to get thrown for a loop? You are really going to hate this one. I do. I actually avoid it. In fact I have a story to tell on how I discovered this.
Carl Jung also believed that the primary culprit behind this feeling was a because people were not achieving or on their way to achieve their full potential. Effectively, people that feel this way are not in alignment with their true self. Think of it this way. You are highly capable, with a ton of energy and enthusiasm under the surface. This causes you to move around all the time and remain agitated like a caged up tiger. This energy, because it does not have the right outlet, lurks within our soul. It becomes almost dark, it becomes an unexplainable anxiety. We have this feeling within ourselves that at any minute that energy could find its true target and be unleashed. Expect that it does not. It stays there and remains there and becomes part of us. We are constantly restless.
One of my favorite people is Abraham Maslow. He just had some cool stuff to read on the pursuit of happiness. He felt that “the story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short.” If you remember he is famous for the Hierarchy of Needs. He put self-actualization at the top of his pyramid. Tying this back to Carl Jung. Here is the quote that floored me, from Maslow:
“If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”
I discovered this problem when I visited a spiritual healing doctor. I did not know this when I visited her, I thought she was more about mediation. Foolish me did not realize at the time that this was the same thing. I remember visiting this woman and she had some hocus pocus way of diving into your soul and discovering who you really were. I never went back, btw. However, when I visited with her she explained several things to me that got my eyes rolling. Yeah right, you say that to all of your clients was my primary thought. Then as I was leaving, hand on the door knob she said, “You are a great ball of potential light just waiting to achieve its purpose, what are you waiting for?” That stuck with me for a long time. Still does, almost haunting.
This is what caused me to stop defining myself by measurements that were important to others. I wanted to seek and find the things that I really felt were important to measure me by. That led to this 365 commitment I have been following. I am still on the journey, and I still feel restless, but not as as bad! My primary neurosis has at least been diagnosed!