In nearly every one of the billion self-help books I’ve read, they discuss at one point or another the importance of recognizing your own bullshit. It goes from every extreme—no one is as pious as they seem and no one is as much a sinner, either. The point is that regardless of where you are, you have to recognize that position and where you want to go from there before you can move on. If you don’t own your behavior and accept the responsibility for your role in your own life, you will repeat the lessons until you are forced to.
Yesterday I reached out to my cousin to have my hair cut (and my husband and son’s as well). After a lot of conversation, I came to realize that we are here to break generational patterns of dysfunction. We are the people who are here to fix what was done before us. We are here to bring light to the dark and to work with the tough stuff—not to run from it. We are trying to make it better. After our talk, I came to realize a few things:
- I can slow down a little. This is my entire life we are talking about—it’s ok to slow down and enjoy it. Constantly wishing to be somewhere else is just wishing my life away and that is a sad waste of time.
- I am in a great place to move forward. With a little bit of elbow grease, I can move closer to goal.
- Putting continued pressure on my family and myself for things to be a certain way is just going to break us. It’s going to break me because I never leave much time to relish or take in where I’m at. I just keep looking at the next goal. I look at achievements as stepping stones—they aren’t a foundation. They add to it and build it, but one stone can’t support the weight of a dream so you need to keep building.
- I need to take much better care of myself. I really love my life, I want to be healthy enough to enjoy it.
- My choices and actions, big or small, determine the result. If I don’t like how something is, I can change it.
- Everything changes. We are responsible for adapting. We can plan and plan but the universe will have its way so we need to find balance between what we want and what is. Make the choice to be flexible.
- Let it go. Let it flow—but don’t get sloppy or lazy. Just because we can’t control it all doesn’t mean we don’t control our reactions. You have to move with it.
- I don’t need to keep this anxiety. It’s not real anyway. I have a lot to be grateful for and I am on my way to more. My energy is much better spent on things that benefit others rather than on inconsequential or perceived things.
- As everything changes, nothing is permanent. Life is always in flux so where we are at now is not where we will always be. Don’t let the anxiety over a current situation take over.
- Living in the past or future doesn’t change where you are. Learn to be present
In the spirit of transparency, that talk with my cousin kicked me in the ass. I saw things in myself that I’ve created. I barely slept last night thinking about it over and over again and I knew the repeating thoughts were also my choice. They were the same useless thoughts repeating and inflicting new wounds. Truth is I felt like I deserved to hurt for a long time because of the blessings I have. I used to think that to have something good, you also need to hurt and that was just how it worked. All of this fear, anxiety, and negativity I inflicted on myself and on others was for nothing. Everything is fixable—I had to learn to look at it another way. Making mistakes comes with being human so we have to learn to take ownership of the learning opportunities as well.
The other thing I know I need to own is that I’ve had the habit of pretending to be a victim and holding myself back while blaming other people for me not moving forward. I know I have to own my power and accept it. I know that I can do better and that I haven’t taken the full, fearless leaps. I haven’t taken them because I am afraid of having responsibility for something when I’m not even sure what it is yet. I have had a hard time garnering support around my home so it’s easy to let the things I want to do fall to the wayside in favor of the things I need to do. But it isn’t an excuse. Marie Forleo wrote on her page the other day “If it’s that important to you you’ll make the time, if not you’ll make an excuse.” Yes it’s tiring to do it all, but if it’s getting me closer to what I really want to do then I have to do it.
The last thing that went through my mind in all of this was how we are simultaneously too hard and too soft on ourselves. We are hard on ourselves for the every day mistakes, the things that can be fixed but we attach some sort of stigma to. We are too hard on our mental state as we push ourselves to the limit in so many ways to keep up and our minds, bodies, and souls just can’t handle that speed. At the same time we allow ourselves to talk about what we will do someday (without taking action) and binge watch T.V. or eat another package of cookies because we don’t feel comfortable dealing with what brought us here. We aren’t comfortable looking within and finding the answers we need to tap our full potential. We are afraid to stray from what we know and what it will mean if we do something different. Believe me, we are strong enough to say “I need to redirect my focus and I am no longer going to do things that don’t serve my purpose, my soul, and the life I am trying to build.” That is the scariest step to take because it puts us on unfamiliar ground with a lot of people.
The truth is that unfamiliar ground can be molded into what we need for a foundation. It puts us in a position to dig deep and figure out what we can really do. It shows us where the depth is. If you want to make changes and do something different with your life, you need to do the uncomfortable work. Learn where you are strong and figure out a way to play to that. Learn where you are weak and try to strengthen it. Above all, don’t take any crap, least of all from yourself. Life is hard enough so be gentle enough on yourself to allow the course to unfold, but disciplined enough to say, “I can do better.” And then do better—it will only bring you closer to who you want to be in the end.