Have you ever noticed how everything is beautiful when you are in love? The sky is bluer, the waters are clearer, the breeze has just a hint of Jasmine, and everything falls into place as if Mary Poppins herself snapped her fingers and “It’s done.” Ah, yes, life is wonderful when you are in love.
But what happens to us when that dream relationship ends? We spiral out of control like Dorothy and Toto in the eye of the tornado in the Wizard of Oz. We feel like every turn is the wrong turn, every decision is leading us away from where we truly want to go and we have no idea how to turn our life around to get back “on track.” Sometimes we feel like the only way to find balance again is to find “someone” to lean on. Unfortunately, we attract other unbalanced people who are also looking for that sense of balance WITH YOU. Two unbalanced people do not equate to balance and only further complicates the problem by adding the other person’s problems to yours.
The solution is to do the exact opposite of what you feel; you must remain alone and focus on finding balance within yourself. I know, this is very difficult since you realize the only one to help you is you and you’re no help at all. Right! But once you recognize that you have the ability to change your circumstances, you don’t have to wait for anyone else to make you change. You can begin to take action on your own and this perspective gives you power and that empowerment feels pretty good.
Most people give up before they even get started because they see the entire journey before them. It’s like looking down into the Grand Canyon and wondering how the heck you’re going to cross it. You consider all the reasons you’ll fail; I’m not a bridge builder, not a contractor of cables and chains, I don’t possess the knowledge, or the finances, or the support system to accomplish such a grand task. So, we sit at the edge of the canyon and feel defeated. We can’t see our way to accomplishing the entire task because of what we can’t do, so we don’t consider what we can do.
In my practice I tell clients who say they are feeling overwhelmed as they consider change, “Do you know how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. But no one said you had to start at the tail!” This usually gets a chuckle as they realize that every decision starts with a plan. Every thought has a beginning (imagination), a middle (contemplation), and an action (execution) point. We consider the options and make decisions seemingly without thought, but behind the scenes there is a lot going on. When we slow down the process of contemplation, planning, and use our problem-solving approaches to create a strategy, we can see possibilities beyond our limitations.
There is a saying, “A dream without a plan is just a wish.” We think we can get through life wishing we were different, or our partner was different, our job, our families were different. We don’t know exactly HOW we or they should be different, but we wish we were so we could really get what we want: Happiness. But happiness is not a destination it is the result of accomplished efforts that result in successes. We don’t want to do the work necessary (effort) to accomplish anything, and so we sit at the canyon’s edge feeling defeated and unhappy. We actually are creating our own feelings of lack by living a life that has self-imposed restrictions and limitations.
You know how to love others: you think about ways that will bring your loved one a smile, a feeling of connection, and a warm feeling of appreciation. But when was the last time you “treated” yourself to something that would bring you joy, bring you connection, bring you a sense of appreciation? Bust out of this defeatist attitude by loving yourself. There is no shame in being good to yourself.
So, this morning, take a breath of fresh air. Can you smell it? Jasmine. Can you feel the air fill your lungs and inspire you on to a new day? Yep. That's you taking a moment to consider the possibilities. Smile. And love yourself a little today. You deserve it.