Just be chill. Just be cool. Just be calm. These are all phrases we’ll hear throughout our lives, usually at an inflection point: when we’re mad or sad or upset. But what about “just be?” No one ever says “hey man, just be.” But maybe they should?
It might sound like a Zen Buddhist mindset, but the idea of just being is actually rooted in many philosophies. Meditation. Mindfulness. Stoic reflection. Prayer. It goes by many names. The concept comes down to looking inward reflectively, despite any external variables, stimuli or situations. When you just be, you just are.
Letting the situation process itself
Think about those times when someone says “just be calm” or “just be rational.” It’s usually because you’re emotional, brought on by some stimuli beyond your control. You opened up an unexpected bill you can’t pay. Your car broke down. You caught your partner in a lie. These things are all beyond your control, yet their effect on mind, body and soul are devastating. You might cry, fly into a rage or feel a deep sense of hurt. You’re not wrong to feel this way, but feelings don’t absolve you from actions.
Learning how to just be is the practice of letting the situation process itself. It’s not about burying your emotions or pretending everything is okay. Instead, it’s about finding your control amidst the chaos, by looking in. At times when you feel powerless, surrendering to the situation can actually give you control.
You have the power to act and control how you respond to a situation. You have the power to make decisions about what happens next. You have the power so long as you never give it up. You have the power to just be.
Just be, to make the most in every situation
Learning how to just be isn’t only for those times in life when you’re upset or disenfranchised. This practice of self-reflection and mindfulness will help you every day, in many ways.
- When you’re relaxed, a “just be” attitude can help you soak in the moment and appreciate the situation that allows you to be comfortable and safe.
- When you’re faced with difficult decisions, you can just be, allowing your mind to pare them down to their core and show you which decision is the right one.
- When you’re stressed or strained, learning to just be will put you in tune with yourself, to help improve self-care and make smart decisions about the things that affect you.
At its core, learning to just be puts you in a mindful state, no matter the moment, and allows you to find perspective. It separates you from your emotions, without stifling those emotions. You know you’re stressed, so you take an extra moment to find peace. You recognize that you’re relaxed, so you mind the moment to reap its benefits. Your emotions and actions exist in harmony.
Learning to just be
Like any state of mind, learning to just be takes practice. It starts with recognition. You need to recognize how you think, act and feel in certain situations—then, gain mastery over them.
You’re mad. You feel misunderstood and combative. You shout and raise your voice, making the situation worse. You say things you can’t take back and the situation escalates. Sound familiar?
Next time, try something different.
You’re mad. You feel misunderstood and combative. You take a moment to count to 10. You take a few deep breaths. You step back, reframe the problem. You try to see things from their perspective. You compromise through communication and put the situation behind you.
Sounds better, right?
This is a precursor to learning how to just be. Being in control of your emotions and actions will allow you to just be. Soon, you’ll start to recognize the power dynamic of certain situations and realize where your power is. Instead of feeling powerless, you’ll be able to just be.
Learning mindfulness and introspection takes time. Start with conventional practices like prayer or meditation. Then, practice this mindfulness in active situations. Try to look outside of your next action or your feelings in the moment and see the bigger picture. Practice separating your feelings and actions, using logic to bridge the gap.
The road to mental mindfulness is long and takes much discipline—but the results are so rewarding. In situations that evoke your emotions and usually cause you to act irrationally, you’ll be able to just be. Que sera, sera.