Do the opinions and thoughts of others differ from the core beliefs you hold for yourself? Is outside noise taking up too much space in your life? There is a way to connect with your authentic self and drown out the external noise.
Jay Shetty sits down with his friend and mentor Russell Brand to talk about letting go of society’s expectations and connecting with your true self. Brand is an actor, comedian, activist, and fantastic thinker in philosophy, spirituality, and life. Brand has authored several incredible books and shares his wisdom on connecting with yourself and living your real authentic life.
When you achieve success in life, it can affect how you think and act. Brand asks Jay Shetty how he manages that growing success.
“I think that it's a daily challenge to manage and monitor that success,” Jay Shetty explains to Brand. “I think it's something that I have to be aware of and conscious and intentional about every day.”
Living a monk lifestyle has provided Jay Shetty with an impressive number of tools to understand humility and ego. These tools are the basis for how he approaches daily life.
“The thing about ego is that its biggest trick is making you feel like you've conquered it,” Shetty tells Brand. “So if you ever feel ego-less, or you feel like you're humble, it's almost like ego’s winning more and more.”
Jay Shetty likes to remind himself what his purpose is and why he is living his life in the manner he is. Shetty explains a teaching that he learned from the monks that he applies to his life.
When someone congratulates you or admires you for something or says something positive about you, you need to accept it and then pass it on to the person that gave you that skill or ability.
“I pass that on as gratitude to the teacher or the mentor that gave it to me,” Jay Shetty shares with Brand. “Sometimes with someone who indirectly gave it to me, maybe someone was mean to me in the past or someone mistreated me in the past, and I remember them and say, ‘Oh, I learned that good quality because of some pain.’”
Shetty explains to Brand that you do not need to thank that person on a face-to-face level, but rather give them gratitude in your mind.
Dealing with Anxiety and Loneliness
Loneliness and anxiety is something that affects many people in different ways. There is no shame in getting help for these conditions if they affect your life daily.
Chapter one of Jay Shetty’s book, Think like a Monk, Train your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day, explains how our identity can become wrapped up in what others think of us. We need to learn how to let go of what society puts on us.
Society has created a negative narrative about being lonely – that if others do not surround you, you are not successful or popular. Everyone has become scared of loneliness. Jay Shetty explains to Brand that there are two words used for being alone. Loneliness and solitude.
Shetty believes there is great strength in solitude. There is a power that comes from being alone.
“Solitude is a great way of learning about yourself,” Shetty explains to Brand. “To me, that's a perfect place to start. When you learn about yourself, you find out what you like, what you dislike, what you're passionate about, what activity brings you joy, and you start loving your own company in your own mind in your own space. That allows you to remove some of that anxiety.”
Letting go does not mean just physical distancing. It means mentally and emotionally distancing from all the opinions, expectations, and obligations society places on you. It is more than just being away from people. When you can embrace the good in solitude, you can learn more about yourself, and in turn, better manage the anxiety you may face.
Think Like a Monk in Today’s World
Jay Shetty explains there is a reason why he named his book Think like a Monk, not Live Like a Monk. It is not practical to live like a monk in the modern world, but there are useful principles you can apply to daily life.
“You may say, I'm going to limit my wants and focus more on my passions and my hobbies and my interests,” Jay Shetty explains to Brand. “There are elements in the essence that we can extract from the teachings of monks and apply them to our lives so that we can feel some of those benefits.”
If you want to experience a greater sense of joy, happiness, and purpose in life, try to carve out moments throughout your day to apply the monk mindset. When you can dial that in, you will find answers to what is next in life instead of just living life on autopilot. For Jay Shetty, it is about giving people the tools to make decisions for themselves.
Degrees of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is an important step to take in letting go of society’s expectations. But not all forgiveness is equal. The Bhagavad Gita contains three aspects called the modes. These modes are that every thought, every action, every activity is in one of these modes – including forgiveness.
Mode 1: Goodness
Forgiveness in the goodness mode realizes that even though the other person may have been in the wrong, forgiving them allows you to be free from the pain and trauma that come with holding onto unforgiveness. It is motivated by love and compassion.
Mode 2: Passion
Forgiveness in the mode of passion is thinking you will forgive someone if they are sorry and make it up to you. It is demanding something before you forgive. It is motivated by desire and result.
Mode 3: Ignorance
Forgiveness in the mode of ignorance is when you don’t want to forgive someone. You want revenge to see that person suffer for their actions. It is done with ignorant intent or ignorant actions. It is motivated by fear and insecurity.
“The goal isn't to say, ‘Oh, if I'm in the mode of ignorance, I'm a bad person,’” Jay Shetty explains to Brand. “The goal is to say, ‘I’m in the mode of ignorance. That's how I feel right now. Let me see how I can upgrade to the mode of passion, then let me see how I can upgrade to the mode of goodness.’”
Learning how to deal with habit and conditioned response is beneficial to rise above the situation and forgive.
“I think all of us who've ever had to forgive someone will realize that wanting to take revenge on them didn't work,” Jay Shetty explains. “Even when we thought that would get them back, they still felt that way about us. We still didn't feel happier about ourselves because we did it for them. If we demanded closure from someone, even if they gave it to us, we still felt empty inside because we knew it was something we had to give ourselves. Forgiveness starts with forgiving yourself, and it extends out when we start upgrading in these levels of the modes.”
Dealing with External Pressure and Expectations
There will always be pressure and expectations from the world around you. How you choose to deal with it directly correlates to your mental well being.
Happiness is something that Brand holds sacred in life. Having dealt with a great deal of turbulence and anxiety, he continually evaluates his relationships. If there are negative influences or external pressure from people that are not beneficial or healthy, he considers letting go of those relationships to maintain his happiness.
For Jay Shetty, it is about finding ways to be convinced of the path he is on. The more you walk it, the quieter the outside noise gets. He believes stillness and solitude are essential in tuning out the competing expectations and opinions others have and clear the space in his head to recalibrate and find what is important to him.
Living your Purpose
Discovering and living your purpose in life is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, but do you know what steps to take to find your purpose? Russell Brand explains to Jay Shetty that taking the time to understand his intentions is key to him living a purposeful life.
“I spend some time with myself looking at what my intentions are,” Brand explains to Shetty. ”If I can honestly say my intentions are kind to others and myself, then I'll run it past another person and get another perspective.”
Brand welcomes the perspective of his mentor, even if their viewpoint is different than his. By seeking input from others, he is looking for a sense of harmony.
“I spend some time in reflection and consult people that know more than me to make sure that is in alignment with my basic principles,” Brand explains to Shetty. “The simple things like am I being selfish? Do I have self-pity? And am I being dishonest? I run those kinds of checks and balances.”
In chapter five of Think like a Monk, Train your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day, dharma is a concept that Jay Shetty touches on. Dharma loosely translated means eternal purpose or inherent nature. It is the synergy found between your passion, strengths, and compassion.
“Purpose is when you use your passion and strengths in the service of others,” Shetty explains to Brand. “I think that is often what is missing when finding purpose. We look to feel fulfilled ourselves, but that final piece that creates purpose is how you use it to serve other people.”
When outside pressures from the world begin to overwhelm you in your pursuit of a life of purpose, let go of the idea of perfectionism. You make your path by walking it. Letting go of the layers of identities and expectations, opinions, and obligations that society puts on you creates freedom to follow your purpose.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “3 Ways To Let Go Of Society’s Expectations & Connect With Your Authentic Self” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshettyme.