A few days ago, I posed the following question on Facebook: what is your biggest challenge?
Big question – I know. One after the other, the answers came in and they were both surprising and insightful. Those answers sat with me for days.
Overwhelmingly, most people said their biggest challenge was with themselves.
I suppose it saddened me on one level, but made me happy on another. At least, I thought, these people can create a solution for their problem. They aren’t dealing with extenuating circumstances where they feel a sense of hopelessness; they can take action at this very moment. I related to them.
Throughout my life, I too have been my worst enemy, my biggest critic, and greatest barrier to a life of happiness. Those answers took me back to times where I would subconsciously sabotage everything that was right in my world. It took me to a time when drama felt more comfortable than peace – because I suppose to me that was an unknown. On some level, peace scared me because it could be spoiled. And that would be out of my control. That was my truth and it is only now that I realize why.
Fear. On some level I feared something different. I feared a loss of control. I feared that happiness was an unachievable mirage. At least amongst all of the negative energy, I knew wouldn’t be disappointed. I created this dark little world and it couldn’t be taken from me.
Then I decided to take a chance on myself. I risked all of that unhappiness for the potential payoff of being happy. From an outside point of view, it all seems so obvious. While living it, on the other hand, it felt so complicated. And somehow I blamed everything in the world, other than myself.
As absurd as all of this may sound, I know that I am not alone in this experience. In fact, I continue to see this cycle all around me. I see people create problems that would have never existed without their imagination. I hear arguments amongst people who don’t actually have a conflict to begin with. I listen to people who have a long list of everything that is wrong with their life – even though they have the power to change it. I watch people work jobs that they hate everyday and for years as though happiness is something to be put on hold. I watch people put their holidays aside in exchange for the momentary relief of daily expensive coffees. I see couples put on elaborate displays of love because they don’t want to admit the truth.
Why? Because change scares people and I get that.
What I also know is this all too common reality of unhappiness is even scarier.
If you relate to any of this, here is my challenge to you:
- Be honest with yourself and identify what aspects of your life make you unhappy. Don’t get into blaming yourself.
- Do something about it.
Oversimplified? Maybe. Ask yourself this, what is scarier: life as it is, or life as it could be?
Sometimes taking a chance changes everything. Trust me it changes everything.