I might be talking about lies this week, but let me start with one thing that’s TRUE: all of us are doing our darn best to have a good life – we do the best we know how given all we’ve got.
That said, here are a few possible lies that could be running in the background limiting your joy during the journey. Check it out.
Says who? There’s no big book in the sky that dictates how things should be. There is no “right” way, there is just A way. There may be a way that could be more efficient or one that yields more benefit, but it doesn’t mean it’s “right.”
When we get trapped by this idea that there is a right vs. wrong way, we spend inordinate amounts of time deliberating over decisions. There is no right choice, there is just A choice. The good life isn’t spent trying to figure out the “right” path or “right” choices, the good life is spent living powerfully by taking action, choosing something – anything – and living it the best you know how. Pick a path, any path. The truth is, every path has trade-offs. Make peace with the trade-offs. Show up, commit, play full-out. Don’t like the outcome? Change it up! Us humans are graced with a beautiful ability to be fluid and dynamic. We get to learn from our experiences and continually adapt to what is and what is becoming. We can harness this and go for it by recognizing there is no right way, just a way.
Living in this frame, everything then is on purpose. Why? Because if my path leads me to change my direction then I can appreciate the learnings from the path I was recently on. If I truly hold that I’m doing the best I can with all that I have in each moment, then every decision I make ultimately serves me. Relinquishing the idea that there is a right way removes unnecessary resistance and allows for a lot more vitality and fun during the process.
What is a ‘mis-take’ other than an effect or consequence that didn’t measure up to an expected or ideal outcome? No bother, try again!
Ok, now let’s be clear – I’m not putting a blanket statement down that we shouldn’t think through the consequences of our actions. This is an important part of one’s ability to thrive and influence the thriving of those around us.
The lie we get caught in believing though is that the good life is lived by treading carefully to avoid choosing the (imaginary) wrong way. Thinking this way throws limitations on our path and resistance in our movement. This fear-based approach keeps us from thinking creatively and seeing opportunities and possibilities around us. So instead of trying to avoid mistakes, we can think of all possible outcomes as objective options. Our work isn’t to find the “right” one and avoid the others as mistakes, but simply to fearlessly commit to one and live it powerfully.
Believing that we’re supposed to avoid mistakes keeps us from claiming our power and fully showing up in life. Live powerfully, choose boldly, and do not be scared about “mis-takes.”
I’m in a lot of conversation over this one. Many people believe they’re broken, faulty, or incomplete and they’ve got LOTS of work to do to be the person they’re supposed to become.
You are who you are. And it’s perfection. It’s that simple. Really.
Talk to any 6-year-old. He’ll remind yourself of the inner wisdom you may have forgotten over the years. Here is a recent one with my son, Aidan.
Me: “Aidan, are you special?”
Aidan: “Um, yeah.”
Me: “Are you perfect?”
Aidan: “Uh, of course I am.”
Me: “What makes you perfect?”
Aidan: “Just because I’m me.”
See, that’s it! It’s that simple.
If we start to believe that we’re our thoughts and negative beliefs, then we get trapped by this lie. We aren’t our thoughts – they’re just thoughts. We aren’t our beliefs – they’re just stories. When we can step back and get really present we can recognize that there’s a difference between who we already are and the experience we are currently having. Who we are at the core is perfection. We just need to get our own selves out of the way and remember that.
There is nothing you need to do to be perfection you are. There is no one you need to become.
We set goals because we think achieving them will make us happy. And it gives us something to do. And for us hyper-achievers, nothing feels better than crossing stuff off a list.
But let’s get something straight, reaching a goal does not automatically equal happiness. I know you innately know this, but a reminder of this pervasive fallacy never hurts.
How many times did you hit that goal weight on the scale and thought, “Ok, now what?” The thrill is fleeting and our immediate thought is onto the next milestone.
Depression after finals, wedding, or baby? This says it all. Why? Because we crave the JOURNEY. Many times we’re stuck in the idea that the happiness is at the end. We get to the “end” and are often met with a sense of emptiness.
Happiness is now. Not later. Our work is to enjoy the process, not to only reach the goal.
I might get some flak for this one, but you know what? Life is life. And it’s now. It’s not short. It just is.
We use the term, “life is short” to motivate us into living without hesitation and avoid regret. While I understand the intention, I try to reframe from using this tactic. Because it’s fear-based.
Fear-based. Need I say more?
We needn’t use this idea to infuse a reactive sense of urgency in our daily lives and significant moments. Instead, what if we were to tell ourselves that life is precious, not short – a journey to be savored, not compressed. What if we were to believe that life went on forever? Imagine how that would influence our decisions. How would I invest my time and how would I invest in my relationships if I knew that they’d ceaselessly be with me?
“Life is short” is limiting.
Not to say that “life is short” doesn’t prompt an immense gratitude for what we’re given – no doubt it does. But inherent in the statement is a subtlety of loss and missing out. Rather than align to this “lie” we can honor that life is simply what it is, and we have the ability to live it exactly as we want by choosing love, not by avoiding regret.
There you have it – 5 lies that may be running in the background of your interpretations inadvertently keeping your fullest expression of joy at bay. Don’t agree? I’d love to hear your thoughts. What would shift if you tried on any one of these perspectives? What would you have to give up to do so? For those you committed to living on purpose, what additional insights or perspectives can you offer? Leave a comment and enlighten the rest of us! Thanks for being brave today. 🙂
Amy Eliza Wong is a life coach, writer, and speaker in the Sacramento, CA area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. Learn more about working with her.