Are you under-selling yourself in the world? Are you apologizing for yourself? No one has to argue for their right to exist. Absolutely everyone brings enormous strength and brilliance to the table. The only question is: what do you do with it? Do you become a famous artist or scientist, or are you known in your family for the compassion and love you offer? Are you the friend people like to be with when they’re in pain? Many things constitute winning depending on who is living the life.
We do not need the kind of life that would be featured in People or Robb Report or National Geographic. You can be a spiritually developed and personally successful person leading any kind of life. Do not let advertising convince you that you need some photo-spread existence. Do not let it convince you that there is a way to have pure enjoyment.
Too many people are living their lives churning through their unsatisfied judgments about their life or using social media to compare their life to others when they could be putting that very same energy into turning into something that they would love. Instead they churn and churn those thoughts, they ask those questions and imagine those answers as though any of that speculation has anything to do with how your future will actually unfold.
You don’t need to change your life. If you want to quit, leave, stop whatever–feel free. But if you believe your problem is outside of yourself then you don’t have the clarity to really see which direction to travel in. It’s only when all paths can be seen as equal that you will be able to see which one is yours.
You are not failing if you are in pain. You are being requested to change your thinking about your situation. The more pain you’re in the more demanding the request that you change the course of your thoughts. We’re all Pigpen from Peanuts. We live in a cloud of busy thinking. Use your emotions to steer you past your dangerous narratives and ultimately quiet them into open awareness.
Do not think that your path is the one with no obstacles, or that it includes all of the rewards you were innocent enough to imagine. Every path will include tremendous up periods and tremendous down periods. But as long as they are lived fully there is no real harm in that. They are experiences like any other. And without their darkness the light of joy and happiness would not appear so bright.
Even thousands of years ago people were killed by animals and inflicted by weather. The idea that life ever was idyllic or that we’re working toward or back to that is misunderstanding what’s going on. The world isn’t on some trajectory from bad to good. It was never bad and it can’t ever be good. The world simply is. It’s a wave that you surf, a stage you perform on, a song you sing, a game you play. Whether you’re doing a drama or comedy or singing a heartbreak ballad or a love song, being ahead or behind at any given point is meaningless. It’s always and only ever been whether or not you enjoyed surfing, performing, singing or playing.
Wipeouts, forgotten lines, missed notes or temporary losses are not fatal. You don’t dwell on them in some hope you’ll evaporate them from your history. Life happens and then it’s gone. The only way you can get anything close to wrong is if you view it through your expectations instead of accepting it as reality. And even then–that’s not wrong. It’s just painful.
Stop questioning where you are and who you are. Look at yourself, look at your life and your resources and ask yourself–where would I like to take me next? And then go. No matter which direction you choose your path will still be felt within you anyway.
Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.