I love watching those ‘fly on the wall’ documentaries about child development.
Small children are presented with a sweet and told if they don’t eat it, when the adult comes back, they’ll get even more. Usually the sweet is in the toddler’s mouth before the adult has left the room!
However, as the children get older, they are able to wait for longer and longer before enjoying the rewards.
That learning gained as children, to postpone immediate gratification for a larger gain, takes on new proportions as our adult responsibilities grow.
By the time we are working and have mortgages and families, it can feel like most if what we do is for some future benefit. We stay in jobs we no longer enjoy with organisations that don't appreciate us and bosses that drive us crazy, so we can have the things we think we need.
We hope by the time we get to really enjoy our rewards, they will have multiplied. Yet 2020 has reminded us there is nothing solid about 'job security' and we've all heard of dedicated workers who dream and plan until they reach retirement only to find nature has other ideas.
As Wayne Dyer said,
Don't die with the music still in you.
With all our responsible adult behaviour, let’s not forget our creativity, dreams and self expression. There is a cost to squashing our creativity, silencing our ideas and setting our dreams aside.
If this is what life is about for you, the chances are you're not seeing a cost. Repeatedly shutting down our desires often leads to feelings of numbness, like going through life on automatic pilot.
We might compensate ourselves with food, drink & holidays or try other methods to escape from reality. This, combined with day to day stress has implications for our health.
All the while we are not fully present to our relationships and those closest to us bear the brunt of our frustration. We think we are making sacrifices for our families whilst not realising our true impact and the example we are setting.
We might fix on goals and improvements to make ourselves more comfortable but these really don't get to source of the problem.
If we wake up to recognise the problem, we still might not see a way out. The other options might look reckless and incompatible with our responsibilities and we are quick to talk ourselves out of taking action.
Opening up a little space of possibility in our thinking, gets us questioning the assumptions we've been making about how we 'should' do life, what it means to be responsible woman and what our true priorities are. Tapping into this ever present wisdom clears the way for fresh insights and new thoughts and actions.
And then the question has nothing to do with 'should'. The path that's right for us becomes clear.
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