I had one of those conversations a while back.
The other person meant well. (I think.) She was just offering up what she probably thought of as a “pep talk,” a rousing little sermon meant to invigorate, inspire, and motivate me.
Instead I felt like shit.
You can do it! her words said. Because it’s easy! Certainly it’s easy for the smart, talented, charismatic people of the world! I mean there are just two types of people, people to whom things come easy, and the other kind!
…Then the awkward pause where she realized that she had just divided the world into two camps (natural born winners and natural born losers) and put me in the non-desirable camp.
So then she came in hard for the fix.
If it isn’t working for you, maybe you just don’t have the right attitude! Turn that frown upside down! Raise your vibration!
She meant well, but it wasn’t helpful. I have been grappling with this particular hill for years, toiling faithfully and even heroically up a mountain that seems to grow ever steeper, and she basically implied that maybe I wasn’t just cut out for climbing.
I know some of you have felt like this. You worked up the courage to show someone your complex, raw, messy, hard problem– and they looked away embarrassed, like you’d displayed a nasty wart at a fancy party.
It’s a sick, lonely feeling.
People don’t know what to do when someone is faced with a situation that doesn’t fit within their mold. It scares them, because it shakes their belief in a world where nothing really terrible can happen to them because they crossed their fingers just right.
They believe things like:
If you work hard, you’ll succeed eventually.
If you just eat organic, you’ll be healthy.
If you meet the right person, you’ll never be lonely.
If you work hard enough, the recognition will come.
If you think positive thoughts, those will make you take positive action and you’ll get positive results.
Let’s be clear: sometimes those things are true. Maybe even lots of times.
But my clients and I, and I daresay you too– we live in a world that is a little more complicated.
Where things don’t always turn out fairly. Where people you love get hurt. Where someone else reaps the benefits of your hard work. Where someone you trusted betrays you. Where someone gets the break you’ve been waiting for. Where the good guys don’t win and the bad guys don’t play fair.
This is just life, darlings. It’s glorious, and it’s a shitshow!
It’s time to move past easy platitudes or quick fixes. Let’s admit that life is more complicated than most of thought it would be. Whether you’re working at parenting, marriage, making art, running a business, navigating the corporate ladder, or changing the world– it will bring you to your knees. Sometimes with reverence; sometimes with a howl.
Let’s stop believing that this means you’ve done something horribly wrong or that you’re just not cut out for winning. Or even living.
Disbelieve that bullshit with everything inside you.
Yes, even when all evidence points to the logical conclusion that you aren’t cut out to succeed at whatever it is.
You’re cut out for it when you take the scissors and merrily start cutting!
Keep going, loves. I know so many of you feel so hopeless right now; everything feels futile and pointless and awful. But HANG IN THERE. The really interesting things in life are going to be more complicated– but MAN they make the best stories.
There’s so much we don’t have control over. But we have control over ourselves. Our hearts. Our boundaries. Our attention. Our actions. Our perseverance.
And the best way I know to shape those things is by being deliberate with the words we use. Because we always have control over that. I made something for you to help with this part– it’s totally free, and you can go get it HERE