Look around you. What do you see? I don’t mean literally but figuratively. What is missing from your life right now? What would make your life complete?
Putting aside the restrictions of the current pandemic, think of something you’ve wanted that hasn’t happened yet. There’s a mistaken belief that when we get what we want, we’ll be happier. Experience has taught me that yearning for something missing from my life rarely improves the quality of my life. There must be a deeper desire to change our circumstances, aligned with our core values.
If we want things to change, it must begin with us to attract better circumstances. Sometimes it may arise from frustration with the way things are or the realization that something is missing from our lives. For example, if we are lonely, we might want to be in an intimate relationship to compensate for our loneliness. But are we making the right choice or are we trying to fill a void that can be approached in another way? For instance, we might take up a hobby or lend support by volunteering to a charity, where we find deeper meaning and purpose. Here, we may or may not attract a relationship, because that is not our chief aim. Our intention is to alleviate our loneliness and be around like-minded people.
Think about when you tried to fix a problem and it didn’t turn out as planned? Did you consider alternative solutions or were you fixed on a particular outcome? What I’m trying to say is: We must keep an open mind and explore other possibilities if we want to change our life. Lamenting how things are without taking action is a recipe for disappointment. It requires taking life into our own hands and searching for solutions. In truth, we may not know which outcome is beneficial until we road test it. So, trying to cure our loneliness through a relationship comes with its problems. Similarly, giving of our time through volunteer work also has problems, but the benefits obviously are greater.
Regrettably, life isn’t as well-organized as we like it to be, and there are benefits to this that we may not appreciate. But if we consider our actions as potential learning experiences, we cannot win or lose but learn from them, in which case we adopt an optimistic outlook when a situation does not play out as expected. Are you happy with this idea, that it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you’re learning important lessons and not beating yourself up? Life can be an imperfect school where each experience is a springboard towards further growth and expansion. We mustn’t view our experiences as wins or losses because that puts pressure on us to succeed. And as you know, success is the byproduct of repeated failures and losses.
I can relate to this because in my 20s and 30s, I made so many mistakes and thought I was cursed or doomed for failure. But looking back on those experiences, I can see how they had to happen, since I gained the wisdom and knowledge not to repeat them. So, whatever is missing from your life, consider these alternative solutions: Don’t be quick to jump to the first one that comes to mind. Take your time to test drive it, whether as ideas on paper or consulting with friends and family. You might not take any action, because sometimes doing nothing can be a blessing in disguise. I would encourage you to journal your thoughts and explore your solutions on paper before committing to a particular path.
To improve our circumstances, we shouldn’t believe life will undertake it for us. It requires a strong desire, aligned with our core values and exploring various options to pursue. Even then, there is no guarantee we have made the right choice, since there are no guarantees in life. Therefore, become curious about the process and see your decisions as pieces of a puzzle coming together. It requires being patient, curious, and not fixed on a particular outcome. It requires keeping an open mind and a soft heart so that life can bring us what we need when the time is right.