Are You Living With The World’s Worst Roommate?

If you have ever lived away from home, maybe for a job, for college or university, you might have experienced a pretty terrible roommate one time or another. In fact, you may be unfortunate enough to have had a good few of them.

Maybe they never did their dishes, left mess everywhere, locked themselves in their room. Or, they were never in their room. They were just always… there.

Chances are, as soon as living arrangements permitted or the opportunity arose, you got them out of your life as soon as you could, and never looked back.

Yet many of us have found ourselves living with a roommate who is far worse than just leaving dirty dishes and making inappropriate jokes.

What would you do if you lived with someone who was hyper-critical of everything you do? If they were never pleased with anything in life?

What would you do if you lived with someone who criticised and judged everyone and everything all the time? Including whatever you did.

What would you do if you lived with someone who had to comment on everything and had to have an opinion on everything, even the things that really don’t matter or aren’t that interesting?

What would you do if you lived with someone who didn’t allow you to sleep until you Googled for them how many natural predators wasps have?

What would you do if you lived with someone who simply wouldn’t shut up? About anything, ever?

Would you hang onto every word they say? Or take life advice from them? Or cherish their opinion and wisdom on things? Reluctant to ever let them go?

Of course not. If it was your friend, you would tell them to get the hell out of that toxic, abusive relationship as soon as possible. They would probably think you were crazy for sticking around for so long in the first place.

And yet that is what most people do. In case you haven’t realised it yet, the world’s worst roommate is the voice in your own head.

Why do we cling to this toxic relationship? Because there is still the confusion that the mind is us. That the mental dialogue is us, and about us. Because the thoughts are generated inside and are private to us, we think that whatever they say is true.

We are still entranced by the belief that we are the mind and whatever it churns out according to its own laws and conditioning, not the one who witnesses its incessant chatter.

So no matter what it says, and it says some absolutely horrendous things, if we ever stopped listening, we would mistakenly think that we were losing an essential part of ourselves.

But how can the voice of the mind be who we are or be essential to us? Our experience is that we are present all of the time, but the voice isn’t present all of the time. Just as the subtitles of a movie are not the movie itself, and are not essential to it.

If the voice of the mind was us, would mental health ever be an issue? Would anyone feel the need to discipline the mind or their own thoughts? Would anyone ever experience involuntary, destructive thoughts?

Surely if the mind and its chatter and narrative was truly in our control, we would be able to stop thinking whenever we wanted, for as long as we wanted, whenever we wanted. Can we? Can you?

This is why it is a great practice to personify the voice as a roommate because at the end of the day, that is all that it is.

All we have to do is start to observe it. Like, really observe it. Start to take note of all of the judgments it makes, the worries it obsesses over, the comparisons it invests in, the past it thinks about, the future it thinks about, the thoughts it generates when you just sit quietly for 5 minutes.

If you are new to watching your inner roommate, it can be quite startling at first how much it goes on and on about everything under the sun, completely involuntarily. Try not to get involved. Just be the watcher of it all.

Slowly but surely, the more we watch, the more we realise how crazy this roommate is. The more crazy we realise this roommate is, the more power we have to decide if we want to continue giving the keys to our life to this roommate, or if relaxing into the flow of life, moment by moment, might be a more appropriate – and sane – path to consider.