Fearful thoughts get in the way of your dreams. Don’t let them anymore!
What happens when a sense of dissonance is ignored? More likely than not, it will result in a life filled with regret and bitterness.
A good friend of mine, Pat, has been married for about twenty-three years. She and her husband have three kids, plenty of money and a beautiful home. There is abundance in their lives in terms of material items.
They hardly talk with the exception of check-ins on the children’s schedules. My friend is a gregarious and curious human being who loves people; she loves to immerse herself in deep discussions about any number of things. She loves to learn and grow.
She is desperate for communication with her husband; for a deeper connection with him. She wants to experience more love and caring but he just doesn’t go there: he doesn’t do “deep” discussions or open up emotionally. He doesn’t seem curious at all about the so-called “deeper” things that fascinate Pat. She feels she hardly knows him. She knows her girlfriends better.
What to do? First, she needs to accept the fact that we have control over only one person in our lives: ourselves. Try as you might, people change only when they decide they need and/or want to change. Have you had relationships that went south? Did you attempt to fix the other person? How did that work out? If you did manage to see significant change in that person, trust me, it was because they made the decision to change. You might have nudged them in the right direction – but unless they were fully committed of their own volition – it wasn’t going to happen.
So back to Pat. If she wants change in her life, if she wants more, it’s up to her and her alone. She needs to get very clear about what she wants in her life. What has real meaning for her; what are her passions; who is she (minus all her roles in life) and who is she becoming?
Whenever we hit a major life challenge or life transition, it is important not to make any fast decisions before we gain clarity. We must start with inner work. It’s important to take stock of yourself. Envision a future that will be fulfilling, that will be in full alignment with what matters the most to you. Forget about whether it seems possible. Work in the arena of, “If it was totally possible, I would…” What would the first steps be to achieving that vision?
Don’t go it alone. If you are serious about change, get support. Do the inner work. Ensure that you get reflective time every day by meditating, taking long walks in nature, doing yoga or just being silent. Whatever clears your mind. A clear mind is the key. You need clarity in order to make choices.
Try to look at the situation without any preconceived notions or judgments. Forget your habitual way of seeing the world. Drop your personal, past-based filter. Let go of emotional turbulence. Once you can look at reality the way it really is versus the way you perceive it through whatever-colored glasses you wear, you will start to see options that never existed before. Soon you will be in touch with your real desires and intentions. In other words, it will come to you. Trust your instincts.
Get in touch with what you value in life and where your passions lie. Connect with them. Consider what you are willing to accept for yourself and what you will say no to. A favorite quote of mine states that, “We are defined by what we say no to.” That says a great deal.
Pat is doing the work it takes to gain true clarity about what she intends for her future. At the same time, she is also making the effort to communicate with her husband in a way that comes not from an emotional state, where everything ends up being highly reactive, but from the place where she is connected to her values. She is working on being what she believes.
One thing is for certain. Pat knows full well that life is short. As we get older, we see that all too clearly. If we are unhappy, dissatisfied or looking for more in our lives, we need to honor ourselves and not settle for less than what we deserve. In this country’s Declaration of Independence it states that we all are entitled “to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Act on it.
We all deserve a life that we can look back on with a deep sense of satisfaction; to have people in our lives who nurture us; to do work that we love and which gives us a sense of accomplishment. We deserve love in our lives as well as good friends and family. As we age, we come to the realization that our time is limited. The time for change is now.
Just because we deserve these things does not mean we will have them. It remains our responsibility to create a life worth living. It is a wise person who takes the initiative to create meaningful change in their life instead of being someone who whines that life is not giving them what they want. To acquire a life worth living means not settling for less. Not settling for less means taking action.
What will you do now, today, to get what you want? What will you say no to? What will you say yes to? The answers you make in response to these questions will certainly define the rest of your life.
Much love to you all