Thinking about making a change? Considering something new, but the lack of certainty about the outcome causes enough stress that it no longer feels appealing?
If only we knew for sure that we would succeed before we embarked on something new. If I knew I would always get exactly what I wanted, I would do anything. Fear into the unknown keeps us where we are, no matter the quality of the current moment.
At some point emotional fitness becomes a journey into the spiritual.
The goal of emotional fitness is to exercise our core emotional muscles. In other words, the muscles of our authentic voice. We are emotionally fit when our choices are guided from our authentic voice – the voice of our dreams and desires. If we want to follow this path, we may need to make some changes to our current life. However, we do not like change because we do not know the outcome. We like to stay where we are, even if we are suffering, because it is familiar. So, we deny our internal voice in fear of the path we have not travelled.
What are we saying?
We are saying that changing our circumstance is uncomfortable because it leads us away from what we know. We would rather suffer than face the unknown.
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
I almost tattooed this on my back when I was about 25 years old. Maybe that does not sound too risky to many of you, but as a Jewish woman whose mother repeatedly reminded me that I could not be buried with my family if I got a tattoo, it was huge for me. (The guilt won and I did not go through with it.)
The reason I love this quote enough to consider a tattoo is because I believe what T.S Elliot said – that change only happens by walking the path of ignorance – the path we do not know. If we stay the course, we get the same outcome. If we change course, we can get a new outcome. We can only change our lives if we change the path we walk; change the actions we take.
Who wants to walk the path of not knowing? We want to know what we are getting ourselves into before we try something new. Sounds great, but it is impossible.
What to do?
I want to make a change because I am not happy, but that requires change into the unknown.
Emotional fitness is a journey into the spiritual because there is a moment of faith that must come with emotional fitness. We have to trust that we are always okay despite our external world shifting.
We cannot push our will on the universe and try to bend the current situation to match our needs. We have to trust that we can make changes and the universe will be there to catch us.
The fear is that we will step forward in our truths and fall. If I trust myself to step forward in a new direction and I trust that the world will have room for my voice, then I have everything I need to make change. I do not have to know the outcome to have the confidence to make a big change because I already know the outcome – I will always be fine, even if the circumstances around me are not the way I would like them to be. Life circumstances may or may not work as I would like, but I control my thoughts about those circumstances. I can always choose to accept life as it is.
Fearlessness is the secret ingredient to emotional fitness because it allows us to have the courage to show up in our life as we were meant to be. Free from the misguided messages of family and culture. When we are fearless to show up in our truths and vulnerabilities, it is a spiritual act. It is spiritual because we are acting from our spirit, our true self.
You don’t have to trust the path you walk, but you have to have trust in your self.
Take a step forward.