Monday, August 13, 2012
No, indeed we can't, Oprah. Wise words. I sometimes wonder where I might be had I decided to remain what I was, all those years ago. I had lost my way in every sense of the word and every time I looked at my life or in the mirror I wanted to cry with rage because I knew it wasn't who I truly was or what I needed to be. I blamed my job, I blamed bureaucracy, I blamed my finances, I blamed the economy, I blamed lack of opportunity, I blamed feeling obligated to the wants and wishes of others - I was willing to point the finger at everything except myself because myself was something that was actually within my control to change, to start acting differently, to start demanding more from myself and from life. That would mean having to stop being what I was (defeatist, a bit lazy, undisciplined, a bit entitled, completely unassertive) and start acting more like what I wanted to be. It would mean change.
Change is hard. Change is uncomfortable. Change is risky. But if the alternative means staying in a life that isn't working for you, in habits and beliefs that aren't serving your highest good and preventing you from the being the best you you can be, and more to the point choosing to stay there......I know what I'd rather have! Even if things don't work out the way you think they will, or if it takes longer to achieve a goal than you think, something will have changed. Something will be different.
Many light-bulbs have gone off for me in the course of my healthy living journey but the ones at the beginning were incredibly profound. Perhaps it is only now with hindsight that I can appreciate just what a huge leap I was taking. All I knew was that a voice that had spoken up every now and then over the course of my early twenties had now started screaming. This isn't who you are.
And you know what? As my excuses slowly fell away, I began to realise that the life I was in was the result of choices I had made freely. No one had held a gun to my head and told me to get married at twenty, get saddled with a mortgage and take a corporate job I hated. Nor had anybody forced me to cope with the unhappiness by trying to eat it all away. It was all my choice. They were choices I admittedly had made for all the wrong reasons; I made them in naivety, out of fear, out of what they looked like to the outside world. Finally I realised that my unhappy life, overweight body included, had all been my choice.
And if I stayed in it? Well, that too would be my choice. And that was something I really couldn't bear the thought of.
I get how scary it is when you know that things need to change but you feel paralysed when it comes to actually doing anything about it. It's easier to keep going as you are than to change things. If it were easy, everyone would do it and there would be no need for rambling reflections such as the one I'm writing now :)
And not everyone's life needs as major an overhaul as mine did. And sometimes you need to grow up, knuckle down, pay your dues and compromise on a few things - because that's life.
But when you get to a certain point where you truly believe that the life you are living does not have the real you living in it.....things need to change. You will never become what you need to be by remaining what you are. You might feel safe and keep other people happy, but you're not going to get what you really want.
Speaking for myself, I have never regretted change. The biggest, scariest, most profound changes in my life, as full on as they were at the time, made me the happiest I have ever been and no doubt have led me to where I am now. Change is my friend. I welcome it. I trust I will always go where I need to be and everything will unfold as it is meant to. I work hard for certain outcomes but I try not to force things. I like being a work in progress. And if things aren't turning out as I planned or hoped, I change things.
It's so easy to get caught up in your mistakes and regrets in life, often to the detriment of your happiness in the present. Move forward. Change things. If you're aren't happy you're entitled to do something about it. It isn't selfish. It's the highest act of self love there is. Be brave enough to shake things up a little. It doesn't have to be anything drastic, just start small. You could take a step to being your best self simply by buying an alarm clock (if you're anything like me!) or by going for a walk after work instead of flopping on the couch. Keep those habits going and they evolve into bigger, more dynamic actions. Your life will begin to unplug and flow forward.
Either way, you are in control. You're in the driver's seat. It's your life. Is it everything you want it to be?
Added later: Carol, a lovely reader on Twitter, told me that after last night's Olympic closing ceremony she has started thinking about where she might be/wants to be by the time the Rio 2016 Games come around. I think that's a wonderful time-frame in which to set and achieve some long term goals. So why not join us and get out a journal or a piece of paper and write where you want to be by the time the Olympic torch is lit in Rio in four years time? Be as bold and daring as you want. Get it out and read it again and again. Make it happen! :)
What is Monday Mantra?
I love inspirational quotes and about seven years ago, when I had no motivation, no direction and no idea how to make my life what I wanted it to be, I read something that changed everything. It was a small quote in a magazine, from the Australian marathon runner Pat Farmer. He said “if you really want to do something, in your heart of hearts, you will find a way. But if you don’t really want to do something, you will always find an excuse.”
It was so fantastic….and made so much sense. It became my mantra. It still is.
Now, through my various trawls through the internet, I see many things that catch my eye and fire me up, and I want to share these with you. So I put them all together and post one a week. Something that I think is worth sharing, something that I think is good to be reminded of. Something that might just be for you what that Pat Farmer quote was for me.