When we’re happy, content, and unchallenged, our egos are thrilled. We take a picture of our perfect lives and upload them to Instagram or Facebook. We ride the waves of bliss, thrilled to be living a life of ease. No one is bullying us, no one is trying to sell us something, the birds are chirping and the sun is shining.
I used to think this was the place I was supposed to be in all the time. But I live on this Earth, with this same ego that is given to every being upon entering:
Often, growing up, I would see images on tv or read about people who lived quiet, “boring” lives in the country. Content, even happy about it, they surrendered to the idea of having less, doing less, and watching the sunset every night from their front porch swings.
I didn’t understand them at all. In fact, the mere idea of it made me itch underneath my skin. How could they settle for less? Don’t they know what they’re missing? Aren’t they ASHAMED for living lives below my preconcieved acceptable standard?
It probably comes as no surprise that my family, while I was growing up, were obsessed with “more”- big houses, fancy cars, fast-growing businesses…until it all collapsed and within a short period (less than a year as I remember it) we had to leave the house for a falling-down building extended family owned (so if we missed the rent we weren’t kicked out), the businesses went under, bankruptcy was filed, and the next thing I knew we were shopping once a month with colorful welfare coupons instead of cash and shiny credit cards.
“Work alone is your privilege, never the fruits thereof. Never let the fruits of action be your motive; and never cease to work. Work in the name of the Lord, abandoning selfish desires. Be not affected by success or failure. This equipoise is called Yoga.” from the Bhagvad Gita, translated by B.K.S. Iyengar
I know very few women who need to be reminded to “never cease to work.” It seems by virtue of simply being women, we’re never at a loss for things to do.
But the motives behind our work are ours alone. Some work to finally feel the worthiness they never felt as children. Some work for the joy of seeing a job well done. Some work for their husbands, their children. Some work to support their families. Some might not know why they work as hard as they do- they’re too busy doing the work to reflect on it.
Lately I’ve been attaching the hope of recognition and appreciation to my daily work. I wanted to be “seen,” to be loved and appreciated for what I was doing. I wanted to hear “you’re great at that” and “wow, what a perfect job.” [Read more…]
I wanted to write you personally to express my gratitude for you and your gift to help uplift women. You’re a true inspiration and I aspire to be as positive and present as you! I stumbled upon your site using Google looking for some positive direction. I am currently heartbroken. I have been before and I was then diagnosed with depression. This time, I want to fight back! I want to accept this and move on, but there are times/days where I struggle to deal with the challenges of grief. I can say that I do not like who this man is currently, but I don’t know why I’m struggling to let it go and move forward. We have the same best friends and I have distanced myself as much as possible until I can handle that crowd and scene. Any advice?
I hope this isn’t too much (it really doesn’t scratch the surface), but it’s harder to confide in people that are closest to you due to their own perceptions and opinions about the situation if that makes sense.
Hi R! I’m so grateful you wrote. Your struggle with depression is one I’ve experienced myself, and I know a lot of other women are dealing with it, too.
When I was pregnant, at one point I became very depressed, and it scared me to the point that I sought medical help. I ended up not taking the medications prescribed, and took a more holistic and spiritual approach instead. That said, of course I’m not a doctor, and I can’t advise you on a medical matter without opening myself up to potential legal issues. I can only tell you what I’ve done, what works for me, and advise you to listen to your own intuition and of course consult a professional you trust.
I’ve experienced this sort of depression several times in my life, and here’s what I’ve learned:
Lately I’ve had a little case of inner-critic-itis. I’ve been believing those thoughts that say, “don’t even try, it won’t be good enough” and “it’ll never be perfect.”
Once I realized I was thinking them, I laughed, because once you know what you’re thinking, you become the observer of your thoughts. You become awareness itself. And you can change what you’re thinking in the blink of an eye- and therefore change your life.
“Change your thoughts, and you change your world.” -Norman Vincent Peale
So instead of listening to those voices…
There is no resistance. You’re imagining it. And when you imagine something, you make it real for you. Painfully real, blissfully real. You choose.
We’ve all felt those crazy blocks.
Maybe it’s something from childhood. “You can’t do anything right!”
Maybe it was the angry words of a romantic relationship. “You’re holding me back.”
It can be anything, picked up anywhere, from anyone.
The voice inside that says, “I can’t do that.”
I am so enamored with all the things there are to do online (and off!) to improve myself. Take this course, read this book, fly to this retreat, take this coaching, etc.
The thing is, many marketing plans, to be effective, make you think you need this thing or that thing, and volia- here is the answer to what you’ve been needing. Often, we’re looking at ads and webpages and emails that are trying to convince us we’re lacking in some way. If not lacking, exactly, then there’s something special this person knows that we don’t, and wouldn’t we like to find out?
You know what?
“Avoid the folk who play it safe. They can’t help you anymore. Their stability model no longer offers that much stability. They are extinct; they are extinction.” -from Derek Siver’s notes on Hugh Macleod’s book “Ignore Everybody”