Nobody wakes up one day and says: “This is the day I ruin my life.”
You ruin your life unconsciously, and slowly. You ruin your life through one thing and one thing only: an intolerance for discomfort. It’s not a lack of willpower that makes us overspend, eat, drink, shop and socialize with all the wrong people. It’s just that we’re hurting, and will do anything to make it stop.
In fact, if you look back at your life, and consider the things you most regret, the things you’ve most struggled with – you can trace every single one of them down to one root experience, which was that your pain exceeded your pain-coping resources.
It’s easy to think that “getting your shit together” means perfecting your coping mechanisms, and that’s because so many people do that so well.
Most people go around thinking that getting their lives together means glossing over the fine details, having a clean elevator pitch that gives you the illusion of stability or wearing a pant size that makes you feel as though you are better than other people– immune, even, to their criticisms.
Truly getting your life together is letting that image shatter. It is the day you decide you are ready for deep healing.
It is not losing weight, it is learning to eat regularly and healthfully and confronting the uncomfortable feelings that make you want to restrict or self-loathe and then binge. It is not getting a higher position that you don’t even want, it’s finding something that feels so genuinely good you don’t feel compelled to dwell on what other people think of it, hoping to riff off of their perspective. It is not just having a fatter paycheck that you assume means you’ve “made it,” it’s confronting the reason you overspend and under-save, and whatever it is you are trying to swipe, buy and acquire your way out of.
It is the day you realize that you are not going to get out of a relationship more than you are willing to give. It is caring about the things discomfort tells you are insignificant, like an organized handbag or a budget on a spreadsheet, or visiting the eye doctor or having real goals like reading more or seeing more of the world around you.
Getting your shit together is living in your life rather than in other people’s heads.
It is doing things for how they feel, and not just how they look. Life pulls us all apart in uniquely traumatizing ways, and for a while, most of us stitch ourselves back together using thin veils, semblances of healing. We date the wrong people because the familiarity of the toxic relationship dynamic gives us a contact high; we consume things at rapid rates because every new top, every meal out, every moment that keeps us disassociated is better than feeling it all.
Getting your shit together is doing things that let you breathe more easily, not things that suffocate you until you can no longer feel what’s wrong. Gurus say that emotions are processed through the breath, and that the things that heal us ultimately make us breathe more deeply, and the things that distract us from healing fill us up so that our oxygen intake is shallow, but comfortable.
Getting your shit together means finally being willing to take lots of deep, uncomfortable breaths until you unknot all the parts of you that your fear and your assumptions and your experiences tied together. It is deciding that living a whole and full and healthy life is your only priority… and all the things that you did to distract you from making real change? They were the real problem all along.