Who Needs Social Judgments?
Do you have a wonderful marriage, 2.5 kids, a house with a white picket fence, and a dog? Me either. When we are young we’re told that if we work hard and educate ourselves, we can do anything and have any life we want. This is the Great American Dream, but can be a little harder to pull off than it seems. Of course there’s nothing wrong with aiming for these satisfying goals, but the reality is: Life is messy, and far from “normal” for most people. There are a lot of random factors that can take us off the track to our dreams.
We don’t get to choose who we fall in love with.
We may not have all of the opportunities that others have.
Accidents and illnesses happen without warning.
So many things can interfere with our perfect plans and yet it’s easy to feel guilty or like a failure if we don’t accomplish our dreams after a number of years on this crazy planet.
Think About Your Own Life
What has happened that may have bumped you off your path toward your goals? Maybe, like a client of mine, you had a baby at a young age. My client left college and married her boyfriend. She had seen herself as a free-spirited artist, traveling the world. Now she is a stay-at-home mom. Or, maybe you can identify with another client who developed a chronic disease that forced him to give up a career in construction. Or perhaps, like my dear friend, you fell in love with a married man who loves you back, but would never leave his wife. None of these folks asked for these complications, and they sure didn’t see them coming.
Life is like a chaotic stew, and you never know what you are going to get in your spoon. Unforeseen changes to our life plans can throw us into confusion, pain, and fear. Our dreams get sidetracked, or even squashed. But…
There is Hope, My Friends
The young stay-at-home mom has never been happier. She is not only dedicated to raising her child, but watching the development of her baby has inspired her to create artwork for children. My client with the illness has come to develop a very high spiritual awareness because he has been forced to slow down. He’s also gone back to school, and he really enjoys it. The friend who loved a married man learned a lot about herself and what she really needs, and those needs include being in a relationship with a man who is available to her. It was no easy task to walk away from the one she adored, but by focusing on self-love she realized she deserved better. And now she has better.
These messy intrusions to our life plans can be terrible and wonderful. What my clients learned was how to adapt to their situations. They found innovative ways to restore their happiness, and they learned new skills and self- awareness. Although each stumbling block in life can be difficult to work through, we can gain so much from it, and the universe provides us the chance to really grow in wisdom and strength.
We Have Been Blessed With Choices
We can give up and let our road blocks defeat our spirit, or we can make the decision to evolve and make a conscious decision on how to heal and move on. Sometimes our situations can be changed, other times we may need to accept them as graciously as we can. To be honest, grace and growth are usually the harder route through troubling times. Giving up is much easier. But when we choose to grow and learn, we discover ourselves transformed as we come to the end of the experience. Our true selves shine through and we become better people. For our pain we are given the gift of self-respect and fulfillment for having done the best we can.
One More Important Thing to Remember
Don’t beat yourself up for the past, or for getting into a difficult situation. With each obstacle, allow yourself time to honor your feelings of anger, guilt, frustration, or despair. This is part of healing too. But when you’re done, take a deep breath and face the mess.
Your life may not be ideal according to what you imagined when you were young. Paths shift, desires change, and the unexpected will alter the best laid plans. But it’s your life, and it doesn’t have to fit in a perfect box. It just has to fit you.