Your Happiness Matters
Okay, so you aren’t happy with the way things are. That’s not so bad, right? Everyone has to put up with bad stuff. True enough. Life can be full of awful stuff, and there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s a virtue to be able to put up with life’s hard knocks and not complain too much. Can’t argue with that. If we want everything to be sunshine all the time, we set ourselves up for disappointment.
But what if, just maybe, you are using that as a big fat excuse because you’re afraid?
I’ve done it. I have “yeah butted” myself through many situations in life that I didn’t really want to change because I was scared. Of what? Maybe hard work, failure, or looking stupid. Maybe I was scared of making huge mistakes, having regrets, of having to see that I’d hoped for too much. Guess what? Some of my biggest regrets in life are of those things that I wanted to do but didn’t. Or didn’t do them way sooner.
I think too often we know exactly what we want in life, but we let ourselves believe that what we want is not really for us. The good stuff is somehow always for “other people.” We might think it’s selfish to name what we want and to try for it.
This can come in all kinds of areas. Maybe your relationship is good but not great. Or it is terrible and you don’t know what to do about it. Maybe you are good at your job but you are bored out of your mind. Most of us have things that we wish could be better, but it ends right there, at a wish. Sure, we are stuck with some facts of life that we don’t like but we accept. I accept a winter climate I hate because I’m surrounded by people I love and darn if I don’t love the spring ten times more after I’ve slogged through another Illinois winter. Each year I feel like I won the lottery when I see those dandelions popping up and the air smells new. But there is a big difference between accepting what we choose to accept and telling ourselves we have no choice. I could move. But I choose not to.
On The Other Hand…
I have had jobs that were not a fit. More than once or twice. Fearful people advised me to stay put. The fearful person inside me advised me to stay put. But the brave person inside me gave me permission to find something better. I could have told myself I had no choice. Okay, total honesty, I TRIED to tell myself I had no choice. But it didn’t work. In part because I have found and cultivated relationships in my life with people who encourage me. Smart people. Responsible people. People who have helped me learn that I already have a permission slip in my back pocket to seek what I really want. Permission to try, to fail, to try again, and sometimes to succeed. Most of all, it’s a permission slip that allows me to sit back in my old age if I’m lucky enough to get there and smile knowing I don’t have to say “What if?”
If you found a permission slip of your own, what would you use it for?
Margie Wheelhouse is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Springfield, Illinois. She helps couples build great relationships and repair broken ones.