In another show of synchronicity, I came across this today: “People tend to feel stuck and stifled when they’re not expressing the fullness of who they really are,” Marie Forleo. I’d like to add that people also feel lost when they aren’t expressing who they really are. So maybe the anger I’ve been feeling really wasn’t anger—it was feeling stifled. It feels like you’re always looking for something, like what you have isn’t complete. So you look for external validation or external things to make you feel better. We are trained to ignore everything inside of us that tells us who we are—the answers are all there just waiting for us to acknowledge them. But we tell ourselves, we tell our children repeatedly, “You want X, you should be Y, you can’t be happy without Z, It’s supposed to be A,” and that is the mindset that we perpetuate. Then we get older and we look around and we feel a certain emptiness. It’s the emptiness that comes from time passed that we wish we had spent better than we did. It’s the missed opportunity or the frustration that what we were supposed to do didn’t bring us what we want.
When it comes to our likes and dislikes and how our brains function, we are different. I’m not talking on the biological level where we are essentially the same thing (except for maybe the combination of hormones and other triggers we have). I’m talking about the parts of us that make us who we are. THAT is where we are different. It doesn’t stand to reason that the same path is going to make every person happy. It isn’t statistically possible for everyone to enjoy the same thing. So why do we continue to push the belief that we need the same things to be happy? We need to teach introspection and how to get in touch with those pieces of ourselves that we are told to ignore. We need to stop raising robots and accept that we are raising humans. Perfectly flawed, thinking, breathing beings who are capable of anything if we get them out of the box.
I’ve said before that the box is what kills us but we forget that we created the box ourselves. That means we can destroy it as well. It’s a matter of getting past the fear of what life looks like when you realize you want something different. It’s getting past the internal conversation between heart and brain that says, “Hey this really feels good,” “No, that won’t get you what you should have.” “Oh, you’re right, that must not be for me.” REPEAT.
Destroying the box can look like leaving work on time every day. It can look like turning off the TV (or not even turning it on) so you can read. It can look like going for a run. It can look like signing up for that class you wanted to take. It can look like anything that answers that little voice in your head that tells you to go for it. The only reason we started telling people what to do is so it would serve the purpose of fulfilling the system. There was a time that was mutually beneficial (you know, after the industrial revolution and the implementation of fair hours—haha). But the longer that went on, the more we evolved, the more connected we became to the world, we started to wake up and realize we were looking for more. That we needed more.
We are blessed to be given internal cues that tell us what is for us. THAT is what we need to sit with. That is what we need to learn to listen to. That is what we have to stop fearing in ourselves and others. There was a time when different meant dangerous but we are not there anymore. With a little shift in perspective, those differences become advantageous. I’m reading a book by Mark Manson and he states that we aren’t all special at everything but we can be special at something. Those are the things we need to learn to focus on. It isn’t about being the best at everything because that makes us mediocre and miserable. It’s about diving into the things that drive us and make us whole.
I had a great example of this: I saw my boss interacting with a customer the other day and it hit me: she is SO good at her job. She loves her work and she knows what she is doing—because she loves it and invested the time in it. I found myself thinking, “Wow, that’s what it looks like to love what you do.” And I realized, I don’t want to be her (not that I don’t like what I do—and not that she isn’t incredible) but I want to have that feeling of loving what I do. I want that passion. I want to feel joy in the work I do where it doesn’t feel like work. The best part of that: we can ALL have that feeling. Not that everything wouldn’t look incredibly different and not that it wouldn’t take a lot of work to shift that perspective, but it’s doable. In fact, that is what the world is crying for now—passionate people who are awake who can bring something new to the table. I know I’m in.