Life is a balance of effort and ease. Of fighting and surrender. We’re told to “never give up” and also guided to “let go.”
So which is it?
Should we dig in our heels, strengthen our resolve and keep working at it? Increasing the pressure in an effort to move the pistons.
Or, should we instead take a lesson from water and allow gravity to move us while depositing any burdens that are too great to carry? Finding acceptance in what is in a desire to move our mindset.
The answer is both.
Let Go Of…
When I booked the cabin for our annual Thanksgiving trip last summer, I selected a location that offered easy access to tons of prime hiking trails, our holiday tradition. Over the next few months, I gathered information about the hikes and created a list of trails, organized by difficulty and distance.
And then reality rudely collided with my dreams.
Not the weather this time, but an injury that my husband sustained in October that prevented him from doing much hiking.
Or so I thought, until I was able to release the trip I thought we would have and instead accept the trip we had.
Expectations happen when we create a narrative where life is fair and effort always pays off as we intend.
When we lead with expectations, we miss the life we have because we’re so busy looking for the life we think we should have.
I had to face this one the other day when my new (and hard-won) car sustained its first injury. The touch-up paint is sitting out waiting for a warm day and I’m actually looking at the wound with a smile now. Accepting that my car is no longer prefect relieves a lot of the pressure of taking it out of the safety of the garage each day.
An expectation of perfection happens when we believe that only the flawless deserve to be loved.
When we lead with an expectation of perfection, we fail to see the beauty in the things we easily classified as flaws.
I’ve realized something about myself recently – I find it easier to approach strangers with non-judgment than people I know well. With strangers, I have no knowledge and I give the benefit of the doubt. With people I know, I have just enough information to be dangerous; it’s easy to assume the worst by assembling what I know. And I know myself the best and judge myself the hardest.
Yes, I’m still learning🙂
Judgement happens when how things are doesn’t jive with how we want things to be. It is a twin attack of should and shame.
When we judge others, we are superimposing our beliefs on them. We rob them of an opportunity to be understood and we rob ourselves of an opportunity to learn.
When we judge ourselves, we focus on our perceived shortcomings rather than our gifts. We rob ourselves of an opportunity to accept and love ourselves and we rob others of an opportunity to see our brilliance.
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in 8th graders over the last several years. When I first started teaching, those young teenagers could not wait to get their driver’s licenses. They yearned for the freedom and escape of being able to get out on their own. Now? They no longer seem to have a drive to drive. They’re content to stay where they are.
Because they’re too comfortable.
Comfort zones happen because we dislike being vulnerable and we seek to avoid the risk of failure. We fear the unknown more than we want to change.
When we stay within our comfort zones, we are living in a pot too small to allow growth, stunting ourselves through self-imposed limitations.
And Never Give Up On…
My biggest fears were always losing my husband and losing my financial security.And I lost them both (along with so much more) in one text almost 7 years ago.
I collapsed. I cried. I couldn’t imagine ever being okay again.
But I was determined to try.
And now, I’m not only okay, I’m happier than I ever was.
Never write yourself off.
You are stronger and more resilient than you’ve ever imagined.
My dad moved across the country when I was 11, and our relationship grew distant as well. And then, to my surprise (and probably his as well), he ended up being my first responder when my tsunami hit. We’re closer today than perhaps we’ve ever been. And if either of us had given up on that possibility, we wouldn’t be here today.
There are no crystal balls. You never know what is in store.
Just maybe, the best is yet to come.
I dreamed of being an architect. And then I wasn’t accepted into the program. I then dreamed of being a physical therapist. And then I lost all my credits when I moved across the country.
I never dreamed of being a teacher. But then I realized that it fulfills my dreams of being able to problem-solve creative ways of helping people.
You will probably never become a pro football player, the president of the U.S. or the PowerBall winner.
And that’s okay.
Instead, look to the core of your dreams. The seed that is comprised of your values and your beliefs. That’s the dream to hold on to.
Dream it. Then do it.
Hope that everything is going to be okay.
And make your hope an active verb!