How often do you find yourself chasing…a dream, a belief, a feeling, a love, a theory, a result, approval, confidence, an image, an ideal?
Where are we really going? What is it we really want? Why do we follow the carrot when we never catch it, and deep down we know we never will? Why is chasing inherent in us? Is it good to be chasing something “out there” to keep us motivated? Or is it keeping us in purgatory into perpetuity? Why do we go to bed without it every night…and then we get up and do it all again? The chasing? I don’t have the evolutionary or scientific answer to this, but I can speculate…
By nature we want to…
So, we keep going. We keep seeking. We keep trying. We keep striving. We keep reaching. We keep pulling. We keep pushing. Whatever it takes. We just keep going for whatever is “out there” in order to feel that we matter, in here.
But does it work? The striving? The relentless chasing? Does it ever bring the feelings we so deeply crave, want and desperately need?
I would say it’s a slippery slope with a lot of impending risk. There’ll always be something else. When you reach one pinnacle there’s already the next one just beyond your reach. Very few can climb their way all the way to the top of something (e.g. an Olympic Gold Medalist, Boston Marathon Winner, Bill Gates) and I believe if you asked them if they felt satisfied and no more need to chase, I can nearly guarantee the answer would be no. Not to mention, it’s very lonely at the top. What is enough? When is our thirst for more quenched? Is it ever?
Hard to say, but I see a lot of suffering in the pursuit, and often times even more suffering through great achievement. The feeling of “what next” or “what now” or “how do I top that” OR the common imposter syndrome that plagues those that rise quickly. The constant fear of being found a fraud.
So then what do we do? How do we aspire and desire and set goals so that we continue to stretch and grow, but also enjoy the process of getting there, and keep focused on the present? We all know that future tripping drives anxiety and past thinking can bring on depression, so the NOW is so important. If we’re always striving for more, we’re often regretting things from the past that we didn’t do enough of or should have done more of to get us where we want to go OR we’re focusing on a goal in the future that we fear we’ll never achieve like meeting our soulmate or hitting a career or financial goal.
How do we meet in the middle?
Where is the in-between and how can we learn to spend more of our time there?
How can we make the teetering between past and future soften?
How can we land more in the now?
It’s tricky. Goals are good, and in some ways necessary, but to what extent? I find myself stuck in this thought often. I am driven. I have high expectations of myself. I set big goals. And, because of this, I have spent many a year or years stuck in anxiety and depression. So, my theory is that having outward goals is ok, but my ultimate goals need to be encapsulated by how I want to feel, not where I want to go, be, do, have. Sure, I want to have financial security but why? Because I want to feel free. I want to have a successful marriage, but why? Because I want to feel loved. I want a successful career, but why? Because I want to feel a sense of purpose and acceptance.
Consider backing into your goals by asking yourself “how do I want to feel”. Once you know how you want to feel, you can set goals that help you get there and you can live in the now doing so. Therefore, what you’re striving for isn’t way out there, but right here, in you, today.
Here’s an example. You want to feel free. What can you do in your life today to help you feel free? Your ultimate goal may be total financial security and independence – but maybe you’re far from that at this very moment. So instead of living the misery of that future place that you are not aligned with today, what can you do now to feel free and take action?
Things you could do:
- Stop the bleeding – go through all of your expenses and find where money is leaking (old subscription accounts you no longer use, late fees, etc.)
- Look back over your expenses from the last 90 days to see where your money is going. You’ll be surprised where things are adding up – Amazon orders, the fresh cut flowers from the grocery store, that random lip-gloss you just knew you needed that is now sitting in the bottom of your purse untouched for weeks, the $7 lattés
- Now that you know your spending patterns and habits, create a very rudimentary budget or use an app like Mint to begin tracking expenses
- Pay the minimum payment on time for ALL credit cards each month and pay more as you are able and STOP using them for purchases.
- Take inventory of things in your home – declutter and consider selling things you don’t need or at least give them away to give yourself a sense of more space, less clutter
- If possible, start putting 10% in an investment or savings account every month. Add more as you are able. This adds up a lot over time!
- Stop over-consuming. Think before you buy…anything. Give all non-essential purchases at least 24 hours before purchasing. Sit with it. Make sure it fits in the budget (remember this could be part of your savings). Always consider finding things second hand when possible or borrow things needed for single use.
- Make your food. Don’t know how to cook? Learn a few simple, healthy meals! You’ll save yourself a TON and you’ll feel better, too.
- Set a savings goal of where you want to be in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years and start tracking your progress.
Getting some control over your life and your finances today, even in little ways can bring A LOT of freedom. Focus on what you can control today. It will automatically help you achieve your goals of the future.
In another example, many of us are looking for love. We are literally dying for it. We simply cannot live our lives happily until we have found our true love. I see this all the time. I have been this person. It is so heartbreaking because I know the pain and I want to take it away from everyone I meet that is dwelling in its’ murky waters. In this example your ultimate goal is to find true love because you want to be and feel…loved. What can you do now to feel loved? If you feel loved, you will draw the right, aligned love to you.
- Take care of yourself! If you want true love and to be loved, you must first love yourself and this starts with really good self-care – and not just physically…mentally is equally if not more-so important.
- Physical activity – just move your body in whatever way is enjoyable to you. But do it and do it daily!
- WATER – a lot of it.
- Whole, healthy, organic foods. Stay away from processed, refined foods – those are not loving.
- Limit or eliminate alcohol if you find you are relying on it to feel good.
- Meditate – learn to do it if you don’t know – start small, but give yourself this gift every day
- Hobbies – lean into things that bring you joy. If you don’t have one, pick one up! Breathe life into YOU!
- Eliminate unhealthy habits – quit smoking or compulsive shopping or whatever your thing is that you’re using to “feel love”.
- Pay attention to where your thoughts are and what is influencing them. What are you reading and watching? Are these things feeding into your desire to feel love or are they creating doubt and fear? Read books that bring you hope and joy – reduce your TV time, and only watch things that make you feel good.
- Who are you allowing in your life? Are there family members or friends that are creating a toxic, unloving environment? Limit or remove these individuals from your life temporarily or indefinitely if needed. Surround yourself with those few, honest, true friends and family members that breathe life and truth into you and the world, not the opposite. This doesn’t mean they have to be happy people all the time, it means they are not destructive to you or themselves.
- Fall in love with yourself and learn to accept and love the dark and light, healthy and unhealthy aspects of yourself. We are a blend. We are not all good or all bad. We are total of the sum of all of our parts – a whole pie, not a piece. We take the light with the dark, because it makes us the total us. We are always growing and evolving and changing and morphing. That is how we should be!
- Do things that bring you joy and give you hope. Maybe this is volunteering, or having dinner parties, or being outside in nature.
- Build a vision board with confidence knowing that anything is possible in your future, especially when you’re cultivating your best, most confident and secure self. Don’t look at the vision board with longing, but with certainty!
When we treat ourselves as we would like to be treated by a future partner, and we accept ourselves as whole, perfect beings (WE ARE PERFECT JUST AS WE ARE AT ALL TIMES, THERE IS NO “ACHIEVING PERFECTION” only continued GROWTH) then we are putting it out in to the universe what we desire and expect and how we wish to be treated and that, my friends is what will show up in your life.
Ultimately, there is a lot you can do NOW that will lead to those pie in the sky goals and desires you have IF you take the time to pay attention to how you want to “feel” and put that in to action in the present. You want that perfect soul mate “out there”? Be your perfect soul mate “in here” right now.
It’s a proverbial teeter totter and it will always be that way, but the closer you stand to the center of the teeter totter the less it moves up and down – when in doubt, move toward center. Pay attention to what is right here, not out there and I guarantee what you desire out there will soon be much closer to your center – within arm’s reach.
Sending you so much love because…love ALWAYS wins.
Becky…with the good life