So you think you’ve figured out what would fix everything–if this one thing were different, everything would be better:
- getting out of the dead marriage;
- leaving a soul-sucking job;
- firing that “energy vampire” of a friend and moving on;
- getting the success you’ve always wanted;
- finally losing the weight/getting the body type you’ve long wanted;
In essence, we get caught in thinking that our lives need makeovers–that new jobs, new waistlines, new marriages would make all the difference.
I’m going to tell you that your life does not need a makeover. That’s an attractive, exciting idea, but it’s rarely the correct answer.
Here is what I know for sure about people: you will take yourself with you, wherever you go.
That means: you will take yourself with you when you leave the marriage (so be very careful about fantasizing that life beyond this marriage will be better, and use this time to discover all that you can about who YOU are, within the context of this relationship).
You will take yourself with you when you leave the job (and project all of the same annoyances onto your new profession, whatever that will be).
You will take yourself with you when you leave that friendship (the part where you give anyone the power to “suck” your energy, for instance).
And of course–you’ll still be you, regardless of the proportions of your thighs.
As a path to happiness, both cutting things out of our lives (people, jobs) and attaining some new shiny thing (money, career, sexier people) is just the fantasy of the uninitiated.
You will always take yourself with you.
You can’t swap out for a slimmer pair of pants to get to the fulfillment you crave, and bypass the necessary, and sometimes painful, initiation of truly seeing yourself.
Seeing ourselves is about telling the truth, and telling it clean. This is actually a skill that (I and) most people have needed to learn.
You’ve got to get down to examining the belief systems–because those belief systems are what inform the daily habits, which are then what inform the patterns, which are then what create…the marriage that isn’t working, the job you hate, the relationships that seemingly suck you dry.
The fact that your life does not need a makeover? This is actually the good news (though it can, for some, carry with it a whisper of devastation–no new project? no exciting new self-help plan to map out? you mean it just comes down to me being with me?).
It’s the good news because the skill we most need to learn is how to be with ourselves, fully. It requires courage (of course) and a willingness to get a bit uncomfortable.
Really, the moment that you’re willing to get a bit uncomfortable is the moment that your “entire life” will change.
That’s really where all of this spiritual stuff leads–not to perfect marriages, or perfect careers, or perfect friends, or perfect bodies.
When you’re willing to get a bit uncomfortable, you get less resistant to life’s discomforts. This leads to feeling a greater sense of happiness.
So: want to be liberated from all the stuff that “weighs you down”? Craving a “life makeover”?
True liberation is when you realize that you take yourself with you, wherever you go–and you’re excited enough about who you are, that you’re happy to have all of you along for the ride.