Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Just because...

Just because you want to make a change doesn't mean you can. Just because you don't like the way life looks doesn't mean you can alter it. Just because things are the way they are doesn't mean you haven't done enough, or done things wrong, or have a skewed perception of what "reality" is. Just because things are how they are, it doesn't mean you have faltered.

Sometimes things are more perfect than we give them credit for. Sometimes they can be great lessons or teachers. And sometimes...things just suck. Sometimes we do not know why we must travail the path we do, but it is the only one we seem to be able to take.

I am not sure that we have as much say over the path we have in life that we think we do, but what we do have is a say over how we view that person taking that path. How do we react when we can't seem to effect a change? Do we kick ourselves, or do we love ourselves? Do we think less of who we are? 

I think the reactions that are seemingly more negative are the result of inaccurate perceptions of what we believe to be true about what we are capable of. We wind up beating ourselves up as a result, looking for reasons to explain why we have been inadequate. 

This is not to say that we don't sometimes block ourselves, or get in our own way, because there are times we most certainly do. But, rather, it is to point to the idea that beating ourselves up is more than likely rarely helpful. If something is the way it is, especially after an extended time, and with extended effort to change it, maybe it is not that we are doing anything wrong or should be doing anything else. 

Maybe it is just the way it is "supposed" to be. In matters that suck, that idea is extraordinarily uncomfortable. There just has to be a way out, right? If only I was better. If only...

So then not only do the circumstances potentially make us miserable, so does all of the stuff we put on ourselves for our perceived failures. Making matters worse is when others tell us what our reality should be, and why they think we are not there. There may be times they could be right. But there are also most certainly times what they believe about you doesn't fit. It just seems like it does. You are made to believe it does. It sounds "right." The right buttons are pushed. The right negative reactions are ignited. 

You wind up becoming more reactionary as a result. You are determined to not be something more than you are determined to be who and how you really are. It may look and sound better to be something you're not, and to some that may very well be the point. But, here's the thing: if you are not being true to yourself, you will know it. And when that happens there is a cost. And often that cost is greater than any perceived benefit of following another person's path that we think is, or should be, our own.

It may not be something we realize immediately. Often we are lucky to recognize it at any point. Things like this are so well hidden. We all too easily, at times, take the things of others on as our own, wearing the thoughts and beliefs of others. They seem to become so much of who we are we can't separate ourselves from them, often coming to believe it is who we are. 

There is great freedom in being able to distinguish who we are outside of what others believe - and have taught - us to be. Along with that, though, can come an incredible discomfort because we no longer fit into the molds we are told to. We start to draw outside the lines. We start to make new ones, or even make none at all. We upset the apple cart, and those around us may even be more desperate to "help" you find your way. You may even be tempted to go back "there," as it will likely seem safer, and is certainly more familiar. 

The negative feeling of beating ourselves up is incredibly familiar, isn't it? 

Becoming who we truly are is no easy task that I think is made all the more difficult by the many "shoulds" we tend to live by. I do not know The Answer to life's many uncomfortable propositions. I wish I did, as some terrify me. 

But what I suspect, given what I have experienced these last few years especially, is that we do a much better job of living life when we are willing to take our own path, and listen to our own inner voice than when we let the collective ideas of others sway us. They may be well-meaning, but I think many times they divert us from listening to that inner voice that is trying so hard to be heard and accepted, even when it isn't as seemingly attractive as other options.

I share this because I can. Does it mean I am right? Who knows? But if it resonates for you...

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