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