Today we’re going to follow up on that first question and talk more about how to be and make change for yourself. This is by no means a simple subject, and like always I will preface this with the disclaimer that it is in no way an attempt to be all encompassing. What I want to offer here are a few principles that underline the notion of personal progress, and can help you actualize your vision by reorganizing your priorities and ultimately cultivating happiness and fulfillment.
Do What You Want
Everybody talks about making changes in their life. I cant think of any other topic that gets brought up more where the least amount of follow up actually takes place. So, what’s the problem? Why is change so hard?
I like to start with the basic principle that you wouldn’t be where you are if you didn’t absolutely WANT to be there. If you really wanted something new for yourself, you’d already have it. The truth is that making changes in your life really isn’t very hard at all. Most people are just sitting around waiting for permission to do it. So if everybody talks about change then why don’t more people make the changes they want? Because in reality they’re perfectly fine the way that they are, they’re just complaining. Complaining is what you do when you can afford the luxury of not doing anything at all. Which is most of us, most of the time. We live in that luxury everyday, some of us more than others. But you wouldn’t be complaining about your life if every decision you made was life or death. It would just be a waste of time. That’s how nature functions, nature demands acceptance. We used to live in nature, we’re still wired for survival. And survival is all about adapting to change.
Use Your Illusion
The first step to making change is acceptance. Stop complaining, stop making excuses, start taking responsibility for yourself. Accept that your life is somehow less than what you want and accept that somehow down the line you chose that shit. Once you do that you can do anything. because if you chose something that makes you unhappy, maybe stop choosing that thing?! You are completely in control and always have been. Do what you want, and own every inch of it -good and bad… Of course, it can be hard to take mindful risks in order to make meaningful changes. but if your situation is consistently wrought with displeasure and misery its probably because you’ve already decided that you don’t deserve any better…
And why would anyone ever accept anything less than what they deserve?
I’m a full time single parent of three kids.
Two boys and a girl. Ages 3, 5, and 6. My five year old son has a condition called spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. He’s about as dependent as any typical baby… only he weighs 30 lbs and thinks its funny when he hits me. Our lives together and as a family are what I like to consider, “Very occasionally extraordinarily difficult.” My whole life revolves around accepting things that are out of my control, and absolutely attacking every opportunity that comes my way. My awareness of my surroundings and circumstances are so immediate and urgent that they burn my senses and often overwhelm me. They force my focus and siphon my energy into whatever the most meaningful and useful tasks and priorities at hand may be. I only have so many resources: Time, money, and energy. and you’d be surprised how quickly you run out of each.
People come up to me all the time and compliment me on my hard work as a father. And I always try to be appreciative of those comments. The problem tho is that it often feels like I didn’t get much of a choice in this matter. My son was born this way, he’ll die this way. And he’ll suffer if I don’t advocate and fight for him everyday. Which IS my choice and I’m immensely proud of that choice. Failure has never been an option, so I never allowed myself that luxury.
Survival is a game we all eventually lose, but that doesn’t mean we have to be defeated by it.
Stop allowing yourself the little luxuries. Make a new agreement with yourself. Use a new illusion, one where you deserve the things you want and need. Establish new boundaries, with yourself and others, that fall in line with this new standard. Even if they aren’t as dire as mine, pretend that they are. Start treating those boundaries as if it were life and death. Figuratively speaking you’re probably not far off…
Don’t envy my strength, I paid for it in blood.
You’ve got to change the way you look at obstacles. change what you see and envy in other people’s lives.
You should be envious of me for the obstacles I’ve had to face not the rewards its brought me. We get told to pity the disabled child. The abundance of human nature I’ve personally witnessed tells me the opposite. It tells me to celebrate that struggle because it qualifies our lives and builds empires where there was once nothing. To embrace the pain, and to accept the unacceptable. That there is joy in that conflict can seem catty, but its true. I am not privileged with any special ability to tackle my circumstances. I am privileged in that I have been deeply, thoroughly, and genuinely broken. Over and over and over again. Try envying that. —Lastly…
All change is a form of loss, loss that requires grieving and forgiveness.
Which adds up to a hell of a lot of grief.
Everybody has their own vision of success and happiness. Your vision may differ greatly from mine. Most people don’t do the things that they want to do tho. They don’t live the kinds of lives they want to live. They’re not the people they wish they could be… and there’s really no good reason for it!
The narrative that we impose on ourselves is typically one of delaying happiness.
–I’ll be happy when I… “___” I’ll be content and fulfilled when I finally… “___”
Real fulfillment doesn’t come afterthe change, it happens on the wayto change.
Now get out there slugger! Go forth and suffer and rage with dignity and grace!