This is a guest post from Hugh DeBurgh.
You know that little voice in your head?
The annoying one that insists on interrupting your perfectly comfortable life to remind you that you really aren’t that happy?
That your life and lifestyle could be so much better if only….
You want to know how to shut that voice up, once and for all? Well, there’s only one way.
You’re going to have to give that little voice in your head a fair hearing. Face that voice – give it its chance to say its piece – and then decide what, if anything, to do about what it has to say.
There are 6 major reasons that most people give to explain why they aren’t listening to that little voice. These reasons rarely hold up under scrutiny, but the reality is that they are rarely challenged. They just sit there, in the back of your mind, providing your conscience with a plausible excuse for wasting your life.
If you aren’t leaning on a few of these reasons to justify your lack of action, I’ll bet that you know someone who is.
These 6 Reasons are as Follows:
Reason #1 ~ “It’s too Late.”
You have been around the block a few times. And life has tired you out. You no longer have the energy that you had when you were younger. Yes, your dreams are still there, somewhere buried under years of hard life experiences. But dreams are, in the end, for the young and energetic. For people without responsibilities. And that certainly does not describe you.
Have you ever considered that your lack of energy isn’t so much related to your age, but your attitude? Have you ever thought that, perhaps, youthful energy comes, at least in part, from youthful minds that are open and excited at the prospects that life holds in store for them? And that the heavy weight that is holding you down today is not a broken body, but broken hopes and dreams? That it is your surrender to a hopeless, boring future that is weighing you down? And if this is true, that your continuing in this way of thinking is increasing that burden?
Believe it or not, when you decide to live a more youthful lifestyle, paired with youthful attitudes of hope, promise and excitement about your future, the weight of age disappears.
The body now has a reason to be strong, and, generally speaking, it rises to the occasion.
And, let’s face it, you really don’t need to be a 20-year-old athlete to live the life of your dreams, do you? You just need those dreams.
The only reason that you feel too old to live a great life is that you’ve decided to be too old to live that life.
Get off your ass and live!
Reason #2 ~ “My Partner would never Go Along with my Dreams.”
Do you see your partner as standing in the way of a new and exciting direction for your family’s lifestyle?
Well, let me ask you this. Have you ever given your partner a fair chance to consider this new direction that you imagine?
I’m not talking about little hints or off-hand comments. I’m talking about sitting down and having a real heart-to-heart talk about how you feel.
Have you done this? If not, then you really don’t know if your partner is as big an obstacle as you think they might be.
It is easy to convince yourself that your partner will be a bigger issue than he/she really might be. And if you are afraid to raise the issue, you may never find out.
Reason #3 ~ “It’d be Unfair to my Family – They have Their own Lives, you know.”
Too many people do not act on their dreams because it would require inconveniencing others, and, being unselfish types, these people have difficulty doing that unless they no longer care about those other people.
Is this you? Or someone who you care about?
Do you believe that it is your duty, your job, to live this way? To deny your own dreams and desires in order to avoid making waves in the lives of your loved ones?
Perhaps you are one of those sweet, unselfish folks. The loving, always giving type? The nice guy or gal?
Are you so flexible that you’ve flexed yourself out of existence?
There’s flexible. And then there is self-denial.
What do I mean? Every creature has a right to be. To occupy space in this world. To operate and make claims to things within their environment. Every creature has a right to choose and then pursue its own unique direction. And we really do define a thing by the path that it chooses.
When you fail to choose your own path, but instead mirror the path of another, you disappear behind that other. You become superfluous. You fail to fly in your natural direction, and so deny that you have one.
You truly cease to exist.
To be flexible is to be willing to compromise in order to keep the peace. However, compromise turns into self-denial when you choose to compromise that which truly matters to you – that which defines who and what you are.
Being part of a family does not require that you disappear as an individual. On the contrary, a well-functioning family is a place where you, as an individual, feel safe to thrive, just as you are, in the bosom of those who love you.
The best proof of anyone’s existence is not an animated body, but a well-lived life.
How about you? Do you really exist?
No matter how shy or passive you may be in other areas of your life, there is one role in which you have no choice but to lead – you must lead your own life, and you must lead it in the path that you were meant to live.
And know this – it is rare that anyone will lose the love of their partner and children merely because they decided to emerge from the shadow of others and acknowledge and pursue their dreams.
If they do choose to withhold their love, then it was never love at all. Just selfish control. And you probably already knew that, didn’t you?
Reason #4 ~ “Pursuing my Own Dreams is Selfish.”
Consider this Oscar Wilde quote – “Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live; it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.”
In the end, the real problem here is your perception that if you take action that leads your family in the new direction that you want, you are being selfish. And your job as a partner/parent is to sacrifice your life for your loved ones – to be totally giving and selfless. Isn’t it? I mean, really?
The first idea that I must dispel here is that that taking a clear, leadership action with your family is selfish.
It’s not. It’s your real job.
As an adult you are meant to lead. Your partner may share that leadership role. He or she may even be the primary leader. However, in this particular area of your family life, it is time for you to take control.
That’s not selfishness. It’s family leadership.
Reason #5 ~ “I am Uncomfortable with Family Leadership.”
Perhaps you just fear seizing a leadership role in your family? Maybe you are used to being passive in your relationships? To letting your partner make the big decisions? Maybe you see your partner as a bit bigger than life? Or you fear that, once you make this one big decision, you’ll be stuck making these kinds of decisions from then on?
Perhaps there have been moments when you could have taken bold leadership action for your family, but you hesitated?
Do you really think that it’s OK to live a life without leadership responsibility when you are married and have kids?
Whoever told you that the proper role for a parent and partner was to do what you are told? Perhaps to be an emotional well for others to cry in?
Why do you think this? Who taught you this nonsense?
It is a great lie being perpetrated on so many today. And do you know who is perpetrating it? You are!
If this is your life, then you are willingly swallowing a lie so that you can avoid confronting your fears. And, as a result, you avoid living your life as well.
That may have been the model that you grew up with, but I am here today to help you shake off that dysfunctional idea and to lead you in a healthier direction.
When you let the priorities of others determine your life’s direction – even when those others are your partner or children – you are indulging their selfishness.
You are living your life in the shadow of another’s priorities. You are denying your own existence.
Reason #6 ~ “I’m not Really Sure What I Want, Anyway.”
Don’t know what your path is? Perhaps you already are living in your true path? Not sure how to figure out whether you are on the right road in your life?
The answer is not whether your life is perfect. Everyone carries around some regrets, and makes daily compromises.
Your answer will come from that tiny voice inside of your head.
It is small and quiet. Not like the loud and obnoxious voice of your rational mind.
Your inner voice is very easy to ignore, but you do so at your peril. Because that part of you has the answers. It knows what you need to do. You just have to listen.
It’s so easy to live in denial, isn’t it? And if it wasn’t for that annoying little voice, you could live this way in relative peace. Perhaps you are practiced in covering over that disquieting voice?
It’s time to listen to the little voice. It’s time to take action.
It’s time for you to be “selfish.” It’s your turn now.
And if your little voice says that it’s time to lead your family in a new direction, then just get started.
You can compromise, of course. Or, better yet, you can work with other family members to weave a composite family lifestyle that incorporates the best of what each member wants without interfering with the heart of what you want.
It’s a challenge, taking this kind of responsibility on. And there is no guarantee that you will succeed.
But, for God’s sake, this is your life we’re talking about here. Can you imagine anything more worth the effort?
I wish you all the luck in the world in your new life’s direction. And please, let me know how you get along.
I would love to follow your progress on the road to a much better life!
Hugh DeBurgh, The Passionate Warrior, has dedicated his life to the achievement of the ultimate family lifestyle. You can find him writing about Creative Family Lifestyle Design over at his blog, The Way of the Passionate Warrior. Currently he is on the second leg of a worldwide travel adventure with his wife and four young children.Image courtesy of Alaskan Dude
So many excuses, reasons, lies, deceptions that hold us back. All of them bars in the prison of our own making. I believe it was in a book by Deepak Chopra that I first read about each of us living in a prison of our own making. It struck a cord in me.
Yes, I think it was Deepak Chopra who articulated how we all live in a prison of our own making.
And now we have 6 reasons to stop doing so:-)
Hey Miss Footloose! 🙂
The real challenge here is reaching these people and nudging them out of their denial. I know of so many people who are never challenged in this way – or who routinely shake off subtle verbal challenges with stock excuses.
It is their life to live, of course. But sometimes it appears that no one loves these folks enough to talk to their spirit instead of their “avatar.”
I always hope to break through that false wall, just a crack, and plant a thought that grows inside of their spirit. That rekindles a flame there. And reignites a life.
Thanks for your thoughts! 🙂
Thank you for your insights..there was a time I probably entertained each of them..Now I think the #1 reason anyone is stuck is because they choose to be stuck..the moment you choose to ‘move’ is the moment your dreams begin to become reality…The perfect moment is this moment right now..Thank you for inspiring readers to *live*…
Thanks Joy! 🙂
Yes, it is a choice. But it is so often an unconscious choice. We just have to make that fact obvious to as many folks as possible.
And you are welcome. 🙂
your articles get more and more inspiring by the day. By reading this one, I feel so much better about making my decision about coming to work in France alone, leaving everyone I love behind. I don’t feel selfish at all, if anything friends and family are really proud of me… 🙂
My job is fun, the South of France is really beautiful, I’ve met several great people out here and I have no regrets in making this move at all now.
You’ve been a huge inspiration to me and I know you’ve had to kick me in the right direction at times and I am really grateful that you’ve come into my life and been who you are, those who are stuck in being non-existent need to meet you and get inspired! I’ll start this by emailing this article out to some of my own friends who I know could do with a tiny push in the right direction.
Hope to see you soon
Sheetal, good to hear from you all the way from France:-)
As I have said before, you certainly made the right decision in moving to France, even if its only for 6 months.
You are in for an amazing experience and you will be a more rounded person as result. Plus the work experience will open up many more doors for you.
I am happy to kick you again in the right direction anytime – with your permission of course.
And thanks for sharing the message and spreading the word. There is more to come from you – just watch this space:-)
Great post. If I weren’t in that “awareness” stage, you’d have kicked me there. 😉
My problem’s more of a personal one: I am “disabled,” and although I’ve chosen to redefine that as “differently abled,” so I can cut the crap about feeling totally useless, I still struggle with the energy part. I’m trying to figure out how much of it’s my conditions, how much of it’s my meds (which I’d happily change), and how much is attitude (which is completely in my control).
It’s a bit of a roller-coaster ride, but I appreciate hearing others’ reasons for struggling, and that I have the right to follow my dreams.
Great choice in guest wrIters. I hope you have him back. 🙂
Hi Annie 🙂
Physical disabilities suck.
Sorry for the harsh words but it’s true. And meds can make you so screwy that you are unsure how you feel. It can be really hard to focus on you when doing so can mean focusing on your pain and weakness.
This article was focused on people who have little excuse not to take action in their life. But the same excuses apply to those of us whose bodies don’t always cooperate.
Living a live creatively designed by you, focused on what really matters to you, a life of True Adventure, doesn’t require a daily regimen of base jumping and fire walking.
I get this view all the time from people. They think that I am trying to tell them that unless they spend everyday on an adrenalin-soaked extreme sports binge, then they aren’t living a life of adventure.
The dictionary defines adventure as something exciting and new that involves a bit of danger. But what is danger? It is what we imagine is behind our fears.
I love to read a guy with the curious pen name of “Bob Bitchin.” He used to be an extreme biker, and now he lives on a sailboat traveling the world. Bob has a saying: “The difference between an Ordeal and an Adventure is Attitude.”
Both ordeals and adventures involve facing our personal fears. Only the attitude varies.
So, no matter our physical condition, when we face what we see as danger, move into it bravely and with a positive attitude, we are adventurers. And that adrenalin is probably pumping too!
And when we focus on our fear of the dangers that we imagine an ordeal would hold, we hide, or we run. And as the danger seems to grow bigger, our denial of it’s existence grows more pervasive.
It’s all about attitude. And intestinal fortitude – guts.
In order to live any life, physically impaired or not, we need both. In fact, I suspect that the physically impaired are more familiar with these character traits than most. 🙂
Hang in there. Every adventure is personal. Every victory is total. Focus on what you see standing in front of you. And take my energy, and the energy off all of us around you who care, and focus it on being the person you want to be.
God bless you. And thanks so much for your great comment!
All the best,
Thank you so much for your wonderful insightful words to Annie. Your words have resonated with me on many levels. I suspect Annie may be more adventurous than she may realise.
Every morning on my bus to work, an elderly lady in an electric wheelchair gets on. I always admire her as I deem her to be on a great daily adventure, as I cling to my routine.
In my life it has been my experience that when I made major life decisions, it was only made possible by my willingness to let fear of the unknown take second place to where I wanted to go. That sometimes came at a price. This relates to my decision to leave my marriage and all that goes with that. Now I find myself once again faced with balancing the need of others against my own needs, as my life seems to be totally obligated to others and circumstance.
As a mother and daughter of elderly parents I need to be careful not to use them as my own self imposed roadblock to my dreams. Can we have it all “Not always” or at least not in the way we might wish for. Thankfully I am a firm believer in “there is always another way” and I realise my own personal “rut” has stemmed from my fear often of making decisions and of course the only bad one is not to make one. I am going home today to metaphorically tear out the last page of my diary and rewrite the script I have recently written for myself.
“I shall go to the ball”, or at least, I shall become a writer, coach, travel, philanthropist and so much more. Those glass slippers may not be too sparkly any more, but as long as they still fit and can take me places…. its time to hitch up my frock and run, run, run…. Thanks Arvind /Hugh.
You really nailed the excuses. I think the last one, of “knowing what you want” is the one that gets me sometimes. The trick that works for me is to try something, or maybe a couple of things, and then focus on gaining a clarity of direction. The focus on clarity helps me define exactly which direction to head.
It sounds like you have a great strategy for helping you to discover what you want.
I hope that others will pick up on it too.
Thank you so much for your thoughts!
I think these are good reasons we tell it to ourselves. I know as I have used some of it myself 🙂 yes I will admit it here. Sometimes we are happy in comfort zones and do not want to get out of being comfortable and other times I noticed we are afraid of success. Great job at guest posting!
Thank you Preeti! 🙂
All of us use these excuses.
My goal was to shine the light of day on them, so that we all realize that we are doing this, and then we can do something about it.
And thank you for the complement! 🙂
I keep coming back to the perspective that what drains energy a lot (along with the self-defeating beliefs you’re mentioning) is denial of the emotions. We’re afraid to include in our awareness any emotion that doesn’t feel “good”.
In judging our emotions as bad they have nowhere to go and our energy gets “blocked” so we feel listless. Facing and being real with our emotions gives us the opportunity to stay truly connected to ourselves. We then have the energy to live our dreams because we are taking our whole selves along for the ride.
Integrating our thoughts and emotions changes our beliefs to a more life-affirming perspective = more energy available for aliveness!
These are my thoughts lately and I love how you keep us on the path!
I think you just added a whole new and extremely valuable dimension to this post!
We want to be comfortable. So we resist change. And yes, we deny negative feelings because they, too, make us uncomfortable.
The shame of all this is that we aren’t taught this as youngsters. This kind of self awareness could have a huge impact on the levels of both personal productivity and personal happiness in any society.
So why do we wait until we are much older and then just trip over this stuff?
Yeah, I know, kids don’t want to hear about this stuff, but you can weave real wisdom into their daily life just as you weave a vitamin into their daily diet. And the end result of both efforts is, hopefully, a healthier and happier adult.
Thank you for your fantastic thoughts, Lauren!
All the best,
A person is stuck with his current lifestyle simply because HE CHOOSE TO BE. If you want change, take control. If you don’t have the courage to do that, then do not complain. We are who we choose to be. There’s no such thing as an accident. It’s time to discover the true happiness within!