The Options Are Endless
"The Uncharted Road of Dreams belongs to those who dare to start without a clear direction."
"I don't know what to do with my hands!!" Ricky Bobby
Yep, I'm quoting Telledega Nights and I've never seen it... but I've heard the quote and I can totally relate! There are so many moments in life when I'm like, "What do I do with my hands?!" It comes from the analysis paralysis I was telling you about yesterday... thinking and over thinking instead of just getting up and doing. I even ran across an old video I did about a year and a half ago where I had the exact same revelation. That sometimes we just need to MOVE. Do something, anything!
Where does this analysis paralysis come from, you ask? Maybe you're asking yourself because you can relate. Well, for me, it comes from being raised in what they call an "eggshell environment." If you grew up in one you know exactly what I mean... You walk around on eggshells because you are so scared of tipping the VERY unstable scales off balance with, you know, your emotions, thoughts, desires or needs. So you stuff them all. And you learn to make tiny, very calculated moves that don't really risk anything. You're constantly asking for permission to breathe and to be you. But permission is never granted. It's never okay to be you because being you may cause either a parent or a sibling to spin out emotionally and the whole family will pay.
If this sounds familiar to you, then first of all, let me tell you I'm sorry. It really stinks to grow up that way - I know from firsthand experience. I'm honestly still working out the kinks of how to do this thing called life without constantly asking someone for permission. How to make my own choices and be okay with failing or flying - because either way, it's really all just learning... Learning things I was never taught and should have been.
So, today, I had a simple decision to make... It's Spring Break from school and I'm trying to decide what to do with my day. Not fatal or life changing, but to me it can feel that way sometimes because I have BIG DREAMS and I feel the weight of not wanting to waste my time or miss out on fulfilling them. So, oftentimes, I miss the cues in my own heart when I need to get out and have fun and adventure and just make myself keep my nose to the grindstone. Then, eventually, my heart and body and soul start really acting up and I can end up "checking out" in a way that isn't really helpful or fruitful. Binge watching TV, comfort eating, you know... the usual. All very culturally accepted ways of tanking yourself... because it does create this constant feeling of up and down, up and down. Life wasn't meant to be a cycle of ups and downs. It was meant to be rich and full all the time.
As I learn, what I am finding is that paying attention to my heart and my body and giving them what they ask for (and not always listening to my LOGICAL MIND) is the key to staying sane and eliminating the ups and downs. It requires a LOT of trusting myself and that has been the biggest struggle of my life. With the eggshell thing I mentioned earlier, the clear message is "Nothing I do is ever right." Not to mention I got trained that life is a cycle of chaos because it's all I've ever known. 5 years away from that environment and I'm still learning... but it's okay! Because every day and every choice I make to move away from that old system is one more drop in the bucket of my experience that the whole universe doesn't revolve around what I decide to do with my day and it isn't really all that high stakes.
Life will go on and "THE OPTIONS ARE ENDLESS!" One of my best friends told me that recently... and it stuck. Whenever I start to feel pinned in a corner about what I "should" do or how to get to the "best" choice that will create the least amount of ripple effects in others, I stop. I realize that this world is one of abundant opportunities, not a prison of rights and wrongs. I check in with my heart and ask it what it's feeling and what it needs and then I actually give myself compassion for the fact that decisions are hard and feel scary sometimes. Because I didn't train myself that way... my environment did. And comfort is the ONLY thing that helps us soothe those high stakes feelings and be able to make a solid, grounded choice. You can't logic away emotions. You have to look at them, feel them, and then comfort them. Then they die down and you can move on...
So that's what I did this morning and consequently, this girl is getting out of town for the day! Maybe even overnight. Who knows?! My heart said "Adventure" today and I'm going to listen. As I type this, I literally don't know what that will look like, but I do know I will be listening and following and trusting that the BIG God of the whole universe can handle the consequences of my choices and He isn't going to spin out or punish me. He's just going to love me and help me. It's like the other thing my best friend told me... "It's okay! You're just learning!"
I'll let you know tomorrow how it went!
LOVE YOURSELF AND LISTEN!
If you're stuck in a circular pattern and can't make a choice or hear your own voice, do this simple exercise (I totally can't take credit for this exercise! It was given to me by a wise woman.)
Sit down and write out how you are feeling, all the thoughts, all the worries. Just brain dump for about 5 minutes. They call it "stream of subconscious". It can be anything that's on your mind...
Then take another 5 minutes and give yourself compassion. Write it down. Don't just think it. Look at the reasons you struggle in the areas you do and give yourself a break. It can sound like, "I'm sorry no one taught you..." "I'm so sorry you're feeling hurt and sad right now..." Whatever applies to your situation.
Take another 5 minutes and focus on God. Write out all the things you are grateful for about Him. Whatever comes to your mind, but keep it focused on Him - not back on your problem.
After this process, you should find it WAY easier to hear your own voice and His and be able to move on... Just keep listening and loving.
See you guys tomorrow and maybe I'll have a cool story to tell!
P.S. If you grew up in an eggshell environment, you could be legitimately struggling with symptoms of something called Complex PTSD. If so, please be patient with yourself because this is NOT easy to recover from and will take time, attention and a lot of help from other people. If you need to talk to someone, message me and I can help send you in the right direction. I have lots of resources I have benefited from and can help you find a way out. I would also highly recommend finding a local counselor you can talk to because it helps to have someone tell you that what you're seeing/feeling all has a very valid source.