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I'm Bad at Meditation

March 26, 2024 Michaela Jarvis

I used to think I was bad at meditation. I had poured myself into books, podcasts, and media that revolved around self-improvement and noticed a common theme: meditation. The problem was that I had already convinced myself that I was bad at meditation. After years of trying, I felt discouraged that I couldn't grasp this seemingly magic tool praised by many. I had almost given up, but instead, I turned to the question, "Is it possible to be bad at meditating?"

Being 'Bad' at Meditation

I would get all geared up, sit down, and close my eyes, and after a few minutes, I would already be in a high-speed game of mental ping-pong; thoughts were flying everywhere. Half the time, I would feel more discouraged at the end of the session because I was telling myself, "You're not disciplined enough," or "How are you not able to just sit in silence for 10 minutes?"

For years, I've created goals around ramping up my meditative practices, and I've continuously let myself down. I started avoiding meditating out of frustration and also because I kept telling myself it was "boring."

I'm Not Bad at Meditation, It's New and Uncomfortable

Sitting in silence isn't exactly a party, but meditation isn't boring -- at least, it doesn't have to be. It's easy to assign the label "boring" to meditation because it's new and, honestly, it's uncomfortable. I often avoid sitting in silence in most parts of my life, including while driving, working, and cleaning. So, having forced silence time is a new concept.

But uncomfortable isn't the same as boring, and there are ways to mix it up. I share more here:

You Can't Be Bad at Meditating

After reading more about meditating, I've learned a lot. The most impactful piece of knowledge is that there is no being "bad" at meditation. It is called a practice because it takes practice. Doing meditation repeatedly will eventually shake that "I'm not good enough" feeling.

It's hard to empty the mind. With so much going on in everyone's lives, it feels impossible, and it is impossible. That's why the whole point of meditation is not to reach this perfect blank space for an hour; it's about taking a moment for yourself. It's about noticing a thought, acknowledging it, and then letting it go without attaching emotion to it. 

I see each practice session and each thought as an indicator. Was this session harder than yesterday? Maybe the day has been stressful, and I need to take some tasks off my plate. Do thoughts about an upcoming trip keep popping up? Well, maybe I should address those concerns later today and put my mind at peace. Even a harder session is successful because I learn more about my current mental state of being. It helps me check in and make sure my mental health progress is kept on track.

Releasing the pressure to be "good" at meditating is the first step to a great practice. There is no perfect way to meditate. Everyone is different and will have easier and harder days. The ultimate goal is to learn patience and mindfulness, not to learn how to be empty for hours. The only way to be "bad" at meditation is not to meditate at all.

APA Reference
Jarvis, M. (2024, March 26). I'm Bad at Meditation, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2024/3/im-bad-at-meditation



Author: Michaela Jarvis

Michaela Jarvis is continuously on her road to self-improvement while managing bipolar disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the life challenges that come with being in your 20s. Find Michaela on Instagram, LinkedIn, and her website.

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