It happens to the best of us, in fact, most of us.
We innocently witness our parents tirelessly work day-in and day-out, maybe they worry about finances, complain about their co-workers, stay friends with people they don't really enjoy or argue with each other to get what they need. From our tiny-person perspective, when you get older, life is hard.
Then you go to school and you begin having to learn subjects that you have no interest in, but you must do well in passing the exams and class in order to move up. You have to be incredibly creative with projects that you could care less about, so every step of the way feels like you're climbing up a snowy mountain, backwards, with no shoes.
Then you get to the end of your school years and you've already got a plethora of evidence that from here on out, you're going to have to 'work' at your success in both your career and relationships. Parents, teachers, peers, SOCIETY tells us that we have to work hard to play hard. Success doesn't come from no where - you're at the beginning of the rest of your life, things will be difficult, but worth it.
Cut to 10-15 years out of school and we wonder why we're miserable. Maybe we're in the career we dreamed of, and we truly love it, but there's still stress and anxiety on a daily basis - what's happening? Oh that's right, this is life. This is what we've been waiting our whole lives to get to. We begin to remember seeing our parents struggle with stress on a daily basis, and we think to ourselves, this is it - this is normal and the way life is as an adult.
I call bullshit.
It's been an amazing thing for me to witness my life from an outside perspective, as well as so many others around me, when it comes to this expectation in life. Myself, clients, friends, peers - we've all innocently fallen pray to believing this story. We're aware that when we're happy and enjoying something, we're more successful, problems are dealt with more effortlessly, conversations can be had without a pit in the bottom of our stomach. And yet, when those experiences happen, we call it luck:
"Oh that conversation with my boss must have gone well because she was in a good mood."
"Wow, how lucky that that date went so flawlessly."
"God, I really had a great day today - it must have been because I didn't have many projects to stress about."
"My kids weren't that difficult today, they must have woken up on the right side of the bed!"
Do you see the pattern here? Do you see yourself in what I'm saying? When things go well, it's ingrained in us to believe it's because of our circumstances, not us - and it's time to flip the perspective. Am I saying that life is supposed to be so simple that we feel like we're easin' on down the road?
Well, to a point, YES! But truly, of course we have to work hard at things, of course there will be long days and moments when you feel like you're being pulled in every direction, but when you're following what is right for YOU on a moment to moment basis - when you stay in touch with how you're FEELING in your experiences in life - then life switches from difficult to full.
The moment I began trusting my instincts throughout the day, experiences I would have previously deemed difficult, scary, or uncomfortable, went smoothly, effortlessly and even better than I could have expected. Of course I'm a human being and I find myself going around and around in my head about challenging moments still, but the moment I recognize that I'm feeling like I'm trying to think of ways to put a square peg through a round hole, I stop what I'm doing and choose to let it go and look the other way. The moment I release it from my grip, I calm down, come back to the moment, and inevitably (often only minutes later) I know exactly what I need to do next - the peaceful state of mind automatically makes space for my wisdom to bubble up and tell me what to do.
So yes, life will continue to be challenging - but what takes it from difficult to full, is when you arrive at those moments, you check in with yourself, you allow yourself the space within to let your knowing bubble up and guide you - and those challenging moments are then the things that bring color, richness, depth and vitality to your days. The lessons and experiences are welcomed and you see them from a different perspective; You become grateful for what you've walked through. And why is this again? Because when you move through life coming from your gut feeling, you're approaching each scenario with a full heart: you've taken care of yourself first by honoring your wisdom. When you go against yourself and just work it through, you're reactive and coming from your head: therefore not taking care of yourself first and feeling depleted and worn out. As my dear friend says, "Why do you think we have to put the oxygen mask on ourselves FIRST on an airplane before we put it on our kids?!" It's true! And a perfect metaphor for life.
Moving forward, to begin settling into this new perspective, when you start to feel upset in your body when you're dealing with a challenging situation, give yourself a moment to make space inside and allow your wisdom to bubble up. Even if the situation looks dire, urgent and in your face - go to the bathroom, walk outside for a moment, close the door to whatever room you're in and play your favorite song on your phone (don't have it downloaded? There's always YouTube, my friend) - you will truly be guided to what is best for you next. What to say, what to do (or what to not say and not do) is always with us, we have the answers every moment of every day, we just have to quiet the noise upstairs to hear what's best for us from the basement.
Have a wonderful week and I'll see you next Monday~