Be the landlord of your mind

Esther is a confused human being
3 min readFeb 23, 2024

When you feel distressed, unhappy, discomfort, or painful, what do you do?

  1. Run to your friends and get emotional support
  2. Do something that makes you feel better or forget the problem (e.g. eating ice cream, scrolling phones)
  3. Be alone with it so you can feel miserable

Nowadays, I choose (3). Why? Because I’m learning to take ownership of my emotions and decisions.

Ownership is like a piece of land, whenever it is flourishing I proudly said that I’m the landlord. However, whenever I see problem, my mind said, “Oh haha nvm, I must not see the contract clearly. I’m probably just a tenant.” And then, I become the slave of others, emotions, or my past decisions.

Me and my emotional garden

After talking to a founder on joining their company, I noticed I have procrastinating on decision making. I talked grandly about my career analysis while hesitating on the joining or not. I know I have many reasons to say no and many reasons to say yes, and it is indeed a difficult decision to make. But being in the middle, is the worst decision I’m constantly making by not making it. The process of making up your mind is to hold yourself responsible for my life now and in the future.

This is similar to decisions I make in the past. Even though it already happened, and I don’t think I’m interested in changing, my mind randomly wonder, “What was that person thinking?” and imagine 100x dramatic scenarios out of it with me soaking wet in my own tears. Sometimes, my mind screamed “it is them that PUSHED me to make this decision. I don’t want to do that!” But then I feel resentful of it. Sometimes, I imagine of a bubbly future, wondering maybe things will be different. Yet, I gradually realized that all of it is not taking ownership of my emotions and decisions.

Taking ownership of my emotions mean that when I’m speculating what other people were thinking, I am aware that it didn’t reflect on how they actually think. It is thoughts generated by me, my heart, my mind, and I need to own that thoughts and feelings. Owning it means recognizing, “this is my speculation. This is my imagination. This is my emotions. But it does nothing with that person and how they think. This is all in ME.”

Interestingly, when I practice ownership, I stopped tearing down, because I recognize it is a delusion is inside me, not the reality. In fact, I feel powerful, because now I’m the only person responsible for my own pain and discomfort. And if I’m the one and only person responsible for it, I also have the power to decide on how to tackle it. That’s crazy and transformative, right? The power to change is already inside me. I can but also have to act on it.

Sometimes, I decide to exercise my power by meditation, by practicing detachment, but all the practices is a honest choice of facing it and not running away from it. That’s why nowadays I spend a lot a lot a lot of time alone (might or might not feel miserable), because that immediate urge to “seek emotional support” from friends to some extent is an excuse to reduce pain rather than taking my emotions as a responsibility of myself. I’m not under valuing the importance of friendship, but rather on focusing tackling that instinct of avoid pain, and owning things that belong to me.

Okay, it’s me. It’s inside me, but I’m also the one to have the power to change it. I whisper to pain.

Finally, I gained the courage to own my decision, honor it, and live the most out of it. I’m the landlord of my mind.

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