So often we look up from years of pushing. Pushing to make sure we are successful in our jobs, supportive of our families, and to fulfill the expectations of the people in our lives and by the time we pause to look in the mirror, we find ourselves wondering, “What about me?” We tend to lose ourselves in what we’ve been raised to believe is the way to live, of course, we were taught this by a completely different person who had to learn their own way as well. Self-abandonment manifests itself in our lives and leaves us feeling depleted, run-down, and burnt-out. It’s also how I started down my path of healing and restoration.
We are years into the future from what we were taught, and as we examine our life we see that we are handling that big job, we’re handling those kids, we’re playing the roles and have “settled in” to our mature adult lives and everything is perfect. Or is it? Where is the adventure, the flavor, and the taste to feed our curiosity?
We are a fierce species, capable of creating any experience our minds allow us to imagine, and yet so many of us are dragging ourselves through our daily lives. A rather ambiguous piece of advice I use to hear a lot is, “Don’t settle”. Well, I settled. I settled for what I thought everyone else wanted for me. To find love, buy a house, have kids, a successful job, etc. is what I did to fulfill these expectations. Was it what I wanted though? Truthfully, I never slowed down long enough to really examine if it was. For me, what my parents demonstrated was what I convinced myself I wanted. After 2 years of marriage to the mother of my son, I realized that I was not serving myself in the least. This being before my awakening, I hadn’t discovered what I needed, or how to ask for it, there was just this empty void and me practicing self-sabotage.
In my next long term relationship a year or so after the divorce, I was doing it again. I thought I’d found the “right” woman and restarted my cycle of self-abandonment. After a couple years of strain, thinking I was doing the right things for her, she decided she needed space. She moved out “temporarily”. After about a month of alone time and reflection, I finally recognized my cycle. Self-abandonment, self-sabotage, rinse, repeat. I was continually settling for and trying to complete this picture I was determined to hold on to – when I realized, it wasn’t MY picture. Here was the fork in the road, my departure from that cycle. Spiritually, emotionally, and mentally I chose to dedicate my life to me.
The thought of dedicating one’s life to themselves may sound selfish (a word that I believe is misused in this scenario), and I understand. What needs to be understood however is that when we choose to neglect ourselves in the service of others, we get worn out, and what we have to give to others turns into a mere fraction of what we might want to give. What if you were able to give with joy rather than exhaustion; it can be done. It’s so easy to become unbalanced in our everyday lives and it’s important to stay vigilant around your needs; recognizing when you need your space to recharge, knowing when you need some adventure, some spontaneity and taking action to bring it into your life can be the grand life-changer!
As a dad to a 13 year old boy, I am challenged everyday to maintain boundaries around what I have to do for myself, for my business, for my relationships, and for him. He is by no means last, he’s often first. Sometimes business comes first, sometimes me, sometimes the relationships, but I have discretion to do what’s needed in the moment. Scheduling is one of my life opportunities, and if it’s one of yours, get in touch with your bandwidth and pare back commitments as necessary. Having a strong handle on what I’m wanting to accomplish in my life and being able to communicate that to those directly affected is critical, and my greatest developmental opportunity for growth. This is how I’ve become un-settled. I no longer settle, instead I am empowered by me to go for all the things that occur to me that I would love to have in my life.
Recognizing my cycle revealed some questions that needed to be answered; What do I want? Do I have the support? How do I communicate what I need? How can I support those around me in a similar way? This was a life changing process that happened in my early 30’s. It doesn’t matter your age though, our awakenings can come when we least expect them, but always when we’re ready.
What does your cycle reveal about you? Are you ready to un-settle?