May 7, 2017
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Have you heard that expression before? Perhaps some similar and less cryptic expressions saying the same thing might be "Talk is cheap," "Actions speak louder than words," or "Put your money where your mouth is."
Many of us have a way of dreaming up ideas of what we want our lives to look like, sometimes preceded by "if I only had [blank]..." Getting frustrated by the lack of progress toward our bigger dreams has an insidious way of foiling even the smaller attempts to better ourselves and paving that road to heaven with good actions. How does that manifest for you? Is it a noisy neighbor upon whom you can blame your lack of prolonged concentration? Or aggravation that you can't be more aggressive in paying down your debt? Funny thing is, I guarantee that whatever it is, if it went away, you would find something else to fill its place to become that "one thing" that stands between you and your dreams or happiness. I know I do.
Why do we do that? Thinking about it logically, it makes absolutely no sense to stake our happiness, or lack thereof, on the presence or absence of a few trivial details. "Gee, if only my cubicle was farther from Marion, I wouldn't have to listen to her pathetic attempts to sing along to Magic 101.9 soft rock tunes all...day...long; and I could actually find peace."
So, again, what gives? Maybe, as much as we swear we want our dreams to come true, deep down, the prospect of that actually happening is terrifying. Or maybe deep down, we're not even sure if we really "deserve" it. Or perhaps we're afraid of other things that might come with it: "Gosh, I'd love that bigger house, but how will I afford the higher insurance costs and property taxes? Maybe it's safer and easier to just stay where I am and complain about it."
I challenge you to have a real conversation with yourself. Look at anything in life that you find yourself pointing to as the supposed culprit. What's the saying: When you're pointing at something else, you've got three other fingers pointing right back at you? Something like that. Maybe you are the real culprit.
What are those sources of chaos that you keep allowing to wreak havoc on your life and dreams? And, more importantly, why do you keep allowing them to do so? Maybe you hold the keys to your own self-constructed prisons. It's human nature to choose what one knows over the unknown. As a professor of mine once said, "When the brain doesn't know something, it makes stuff up." Safety relies on predictability, so if we find ourselves in a situation that we can't predict, it scares us to the core, our amygdala fight/flight response is triggered, and the prefrontal cortex, or thinking brain, goes off-line, and we construct something, anything, to be at least somewhat predictable and therefore "safe."
It takes a strong stomach, but if you ditch your chaos and challenge the reasons you have held onto it, you may open up a world of possibilities you never knew existed.
If this sounds like something you would like to dig into further, but are unsure of the next steps, you may consider working with a mental health professional or life coach to get outside perspective on what may be subconsciously holding you back.