In the last post, I talked about taking the blinders off in regards to the people in our lives. For this one, I would like to focus on taking them off in respect to our location and situations. Location is an important thing and every time I’ve ever heard the old saying about being able to be happy no matter where we are, my teeth have automatically gritted themselves…sometimes almost painfully. What I believe is that if we are in a location which offers us little in terms of fulfillment that the best that we can do is hold onto precious moments of fleeting happiness as best we can while trying to stay sane and hopefully work on finding a way out.
You see, while I know that we can manage…settle…get by…in a place or in a career or relationship that just isn’t where we need to be in order to live our fullest possible life…there is a big difference between that and really being happy and feeling fulfilled. I’ll use myself as an example. I’ve always been into creativity, intellectual pursuits, spirituality (without being involved in organized religion), and have always been a sensitive. Where I grew up, it was more of a hunting, fishing, football, nascar sort of place. The two simply do not mesh well. So, little by little I found that instead of truly living any sort of life, I was spending my time simply trying to stay sane until I could make an escape…and it took what felt like forever.
There have also been times in my life in which I’ve had jobs which absolutely made me cringe to get up for in the morning, but I ignored that feeling and soldiered on because I was raised hearing these words from my dad, “You don’t give up a job for any reason. It doesn’t matter if they treat you bad or that the pay is bad, you just keep on going”. Notice that there is nothing in his line about finding a new job. He really did think that it was okay to hate life every day because you weren’t getting anywhere and that you just did nothing about it. Obviously I didn’t listen to him for very long, but I did have to face his ‘disappointment’ and the ensuing guilt trip. Eventually I learned that if it’s really that bad, it’s time to pack it in because it isn’t going to last anyway. I’m not telling you to just walk out on your only source of supporting yourself, unless you are in danger, but get serious about finding an alternative. Take a sick day here and there for job hunting and interviewing. Do what you have to do, but get out of it as soon as possible.
Relationships…yes, I know that I talked about people in the last post, but this is about relationships as situations. We’ve all been in terrible relationships in which we have felt as though we needed to flee but didn’t for all sorts of various reasons. We made a commitment, it felt as though we were giving up on a human being for whom we once had so much love, they made us feel guilty about even thinking of leaving, we were afraid of being alone, etc. Let’s face it though, sometimes a relationship can be worked out and there are times when it can’t. When it’s over it’s over, and trying to avoid the inevitable only makes things worse, not to mention that it robs everyone involved of the opportunity to get on with their lives sooner. Staying in a dead relationship drains the soul and the longer we do it, the longer it takes to find a sense of normalcy again.
When we find ourselves in places/situations which do not nourish us we have a few choices to pick from. We can allow it to completely consume us and basically give permission for our spark to be extinguished or possibly even become bitter and angry, we can go numb and try to convince ourselves that we are fine as we mechanically go through the motions, or we can realize that our current spot/situation isn’t right for us and make a plan to change it.
I’m not saying that it will be a quick fix because usually changing our physical location takes quite a bit of finessing. The same can be said for changing jobs/careeers, especially in today’s economy. Ending relationships can also be complicated, but realistically they are the easiest of the scenarios in this post to do something about. It may be that your particular plan just might take a year or even more, but that’s okay. The important thing is having a plan and actively working to change what you need to change. Once we get the energy flowing in a positive and proactive direction, results are bound to follow. Maybe not in the exact timing we might wish for, but it will. Things won’t always be automatically easy right after the change comes to fruition either. It could be, but if not remember that it’s okay to need time to adjust, get settled, meet new people, etc.
In order to be in the type of situation we need in order to thrive, we have to see our lives realistically. Trust me I know that this can be difficult, but when we allow ourselves to get completely bogged down by the emotion of unhappiness or dissatisfaction there isn’t any room left for positive change. Even though it feels bad at the time, it’s necessary sometimes to acknowledge that our situation truly sucks in order to let it go and move ahead. What our needs are can also change as time goes by, and we might find that what worked for us five or ten years ago no longer does. That doesn’t automatically mean that we are fickle. It means that by nature we are constantly changing and growing and this can mean that we grow in ways in which our current lives no longer fit us.
So how do we begin? Of course each of us has to go about things in the right way for ourselves, but there are a few universal truths. We have to stop ignoring our feelings and thinking that they are baseless and unimportant. Once we acknowledge our feelings, only then can we start to figure out what we really need. It might be that we need to work out a few things in our current situation or it could be that we need to completely remove ourselves from it. No matter what, remember that you do matter and that it is neither required or virtuous to stay in situations which have become unhealthy for you. There is nothing to be gained by playing the martyr and your key responsibility in life is to live the best one that you can.
It is my wish for each and every one of us to find our centered place and see our lives bursting with joy, love, creativity, and success. This isn’t easy work, but it is the most important work that any of us will ever do. The end result is becoming whole…fulfilled, joyful, inspired, vital, and one could say enlightened. I’ve still got a ton of work to do of my own, so it isn’t that I’m claiming to have all of the answers. What I have learned though is that by sharing, we all grow. We are all on our own individual journeys but we are also all in this together.
The next post in this series will be about different things that we can all do to jump start the process of healing. I hope that you’ll join me.