“ Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep. – Carl Sandburg
‘Being average is the worst you can be’.
‘Our potential is limitless’
‘we all deserve greatness’.
These are the believes I learned the last couple of years. But somehow I got lost down the rabbit hole, pursuing dreams and hopes which I couldn’t fulfill. This summer, both the circumstances and the universe came together in a pact where I was forced to slow down. I was challenged to become really honest about who I am, what in life was worth fighting for. Because I learned (the hard way) that everything has it’s price. Ultimate happiness sounds awesome and achievable, but was it?
As a millennial kid, born in a Christian family I really believed I was special and exceptional. Those where the things that defined the way I looked at myself. I learned however, by peeling off the layers of my emotions that I’m not more special than anyone else. I’m not exceptional and who I am is defined by my willingness to look deeply inside myself and act upon it. Ouch. And….think about it….
Who you are is defined by your willingness to look deeply inside yourself and act upon it.
So, all those crappy desires like staying positive and having pleasure suddenly felt hollow and untrue. Sometimes life just sucks. And the denial of this suckiness (just came up with this word) disconnected me from who I was.
I can even take it one step further…..
I wanted the result, not the struggle.
I wanted the victory, not the work that needed to be done (what the f*ck was I thinking?).
Life just doesn’t work that way. I really believed I did everything by the book, yet I forgot one crucial step. One life-changing question:
How do I feel about my negative experiences?
Yep, there you go. There I found myself crying on the bathroom floor not able to answer that question. I knew it was time to peel off the self-awareness onion. It was time to ask myself some tough questions. It was time to get down the root cause of my misery and I like to share the process with you in short.
We are all ‘blessed’ with lots of emotional blindspots. It’s the direct opposite of addressing emotions properly. Mostly we are taught that most emotions are inappropriate. We grew up in a society where scapegoats, insecurity, self-doubt, guilt and shame are considered to be normal and part of the game. As a result, we never learned to address our emotions properly and take full responsibility of them.
The ability to ask why those emotions matter to you. This is the hardest part because it asks you to be super honest and it feels super vulnerable. Kindness, self-acceptance and self-love are essential in this process. I love to write and contemplate about it and it’s in the journaling where the answers occur.
If you keep questioning yourself why you’re so touched by your emotions consequently and accuratly, this will help you in understanding the root cause of the emotion and why they are bothering you.
I found out that my values are the foundation of my being. They are the pillars of my existence and therefore utterly important. Here you can ask the WHY question. Read Simon Sinek Start with why…..youtube filmpje
Why is this a success?
Why is this a failure?
Why are you choosing to measure yourself? With whom? For what?
What standard do you use to judge yourself and others?
How is this helping you in having a fulfilling life?
As Mark Manson says in his book ‘The subtle art of not giving a F*ck’:
Our values determine the nature of our problems and our problems determine the quality of our lives.
If you can’t answer the why questions you might end up totally stuck with your values and your integrity.
So, my advise for you:
- Get rid of your shitty values and replace them with good, honest and reality based ones.
- Choose your life-defining metric thoughtfully
It’s precisely here, in this process, which I call willingness where you can find meaning and joy.
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