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So, what are you actually waiting for? A big break? A miracle? A windfall? Your family’s emotional support? Or perhaps you have some other excuse you haven’t quite formulated yet. Whatever you think those obstacles are, if they are outside of you—people, things or events that you imagine are stopping you from stepping on to your path of purpose and authenticity—you can turn things around because everything that you need for your life to change starts with you.
Sometimes, we want to change our life and live our true purpose but cannot understand why we’re not moving forward. Often, the reasons that stop us are not the external factors that we think stand in our way. We fail to see that the biggest obstacle is us. So, the most important thing that we need to do is to look inward and examine the things that, consciously or unconsciously, hold us back and imprison us within the imaginary walls we created.
Oh, how many times have I said to myself, “I really want my life to change but I can’t do it because…..” There were many different reasons that came to finish that statement and so the changes never came. I would only do it if certain “conditions” were met, like “Only if nobody gets hurt” or “If I have this amount of money in the bank” or “If I have a solid plan” (which never gets made). There’s always an excuse, one after the other. And then I end up being frustrated—often, exasperated—at myself looking for someone or something to blame.
Sometimes, we wait for God—the Universe, whatever you name your supreme being of choice—to wave his magic wand like a fairy godmother and change our pumpkin into a carriage, our dress into a ballgown and our shoes into glass slippers so we could go to our fantasy ball and meet Prince Charming. Sounds familiar? Many of us have our own version of that fantasy. Just like many people, I got exposed to the knight-in-shining-armor fairy tales as a child. In some twisted way, it might have set the tone to how I dealt with my life—always in a victim mode and waiting to be rescued. That took a lot of undoing to get to a point where I realized that the only one who could save me is me. And when that finally happened, I recognized that I was the one who built the prison walls around myself and kept denying that I had the key in my hand.
Many of us play the victim and do not make ourselves accountable for how our life turned out. We do not want to admit that maybe we screwed up and we need to course correct because it is easier to put the blame on others for our problems, mistakes and failures. But if we think it’s someone else’s fault, we put the responsibility in their hands and we are ultimately saying, “There’s nothing I can do about my situation.” In this case, we need to take a hard look at ourselves in the mirror and understand how we ended up where we are. Remember the worn-out saying, “Every time you point a finger at someone, there are three remaining fingers pointing right back at you.”
When I started walking the path to change, I noticed something about my eyes each time I looked in the mirror. They looked pretty “dark” to me, as if something frightening was lurking from behind them. This really disturbed me and I would often look away. After a few years, I finally realized what it was—or what they were. They were all the fears, doubts, blame, shame, guilt—all those things on the negative side of the polarity—that were stashed away inside, not unlike the stuff we’ve collected through the years that we kept in the attic or elsewhere. They were all coming up to the surface and staring back at me, wanting me to free them once and for all.
I have cleared and undone many things created by my conditioned upbringing and the blind conformity that ruled my life. But the thing is, sometimes there are still stuff that we consciously or unconsciously choose to forget and bury deep down our psyche in order to cope. And if we truly intend to change and become the better, higher version of ourselves, all those gunk will come up for clearing and healing so we could move forward in a better energy level than we are now. I know this is a gross metaphor but it’s like bad food wanting to come back up of your mouth or the other end, if that makes sense. To get rid of them, you have to go through the nasty process. And go through that process, I did.
I got my head out of the sand and dealt with these “bad boys” one by one. I sat down with each one of them like I’m a therapist listening to what a patient has to say. Once I understood why they came to be, how they affected my life and what I learned from them, I thank them and send them off with love. Why love? Because as Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, ”Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” And I thank them because they gave me the strength that I need to become who I needed to be at that time.
If we truly want to change, we need to own up to the choices and decisions that we made, the actions that we took (or did not take), and the thoughts that we chose to run in our heads that led us to our current situation. And then take the reins and move forward on our own terms, based on what we want to do, not on what others want us to do.
In the past, I used to say, “I didn’t have a choice.” I don’t say that anymore because we always have a choice. Just because the choices are not what we would have liked or wanted—especially when it involves a life or death situation—it doesn’t make them a ‘non-choice.’ Perhaps it’s a matter of choosing the lesser evil or choosing not to make a choice at all, but whatever is the case, we need to own up to that decision because it gives us the power over our own lives.
There are times when a particular decision or choice might “suck” but it could be a doorway to something better. I’ve come to refer to these things—the sucky choices, decisions and other painful experiences—as the “labor pains.” They hurt like hell but they are giving birth to something miraculously beautiful.
How many of us say that we want to change and yet we just sit around and let ourselves simmer in the sameness of our life? We allow ourselves to become a prisoner within the auto-pilot life we have created because, more often than not, we do not want to cross the boundaries of our comfort zone. We are too afraid to take a leap of faith and face the unknown.
We all have a different version of that comfort zone and sometimes, it is the life that we worked so hard to build for ourselves—financial security, career, reputation, relationships—that we refuse to leave because it’s safe, comfortable or convenient. We are afraid to “lose everything.” But if you’re unhappy or feeling discontent with your life, what is it exactly that you think you are losing? Is it worth holding on to all of that at the cost of your own happiness? What would you rather have? A comfortable—maybe even luxurious—life without true joy or a simple life that has meaning? There are people in this world who have so little yet are genuinely happy. Beyond the confines of our comfort zone lies the life of our dreams. There lies the infinite realm of possibilities that will help us get to whatever it is that we seek and the life we are meant to live.