As we grow older, we begin to create ‘bucket lists’ to make sure we fulfill certain goals we set for ourselves. Perhaps you’ve got a “30 Must-Do Things before 30” list and you realize you’re nowhere near to completing them. While you may not be a world traveler who has visited 80+ countries, it’s time to write a story that always keeps YOU in focus – even if it’s not exactly how you pictured it being long ago.
Today’s Thoughtful Thursday explores what to do when your life may not look like you thought it would, but how you can embrace how your life looks now!
Guest Blog Post by Christine Hassler
We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” -Frederick Keonig
Since I was a little girl I have wanted children. I loved playing house and had a collection of dolls that I mothered. By this point in my life I thought I’d absolutely have kids of my own . . . But I don’t. I have felt the longing for them, especially when my friends and younger sister gave birth and I witnessed them stepping into Motherhood. Along with all of the joy that brought me, it also brought up some feelings of sadness and thoughts like, “Will I ever have the experience of being a mom?” The more I thought those kinds of thoughts, which were creating the sadness, the more the longing became an ache that really hurt.
Until one day it finally stopped hurting. And NOT because I met the man of my dreams, got pregnant and became a mother. It was because I had an “aha” moment after an extremely powerful session with a client. As she was sharing about a huge shift she had, I was aware of how overcome I was in that moment with love. My heart felt so full. It finally dawned on me that I do “mother” already. Not in the sense of raising children of my own, but rather by offering my clients feedback, support, nurturing, encouragement, guidance and most of all unconditional love. The longing for what I did not have went away because I started to pay attention and allow myself to fully take in and experience what I do have. I began to understand that the essence of Motherhood is far more impactful than the form it takes.
If there is something in your life that you want, you may be so fixated on looking for it in form you expect it to be in that you are not seeing how you actually have what you want already! We create stories around how what we want is supposed to look like. Then we become attached to that story and we create all kinds of rules around how things are supposed to show up in order to feel fulfilled. Your stories about how things “should” look are creating tunnel vision and blind spots in your life – and unnecessary suffering!!!
I invite you to do an exercise to support you in really getting this distinction. Take a moment and look around the room you are in and notice everything that is blue. Really look for all shades of blue and create a mental list of the things you see. Maybe the sky through your window, a shade of blue on a pillow, the color blue in a painting, and so on. Great job! Now after you read the next question it is very important to close your eyes immediately after you read it. No cheating! Here is the question: can you mentally list all the things in the room/space you are in that are or contain the color brown? When you’re done, open your eyes and come back to reading.
Now look around and see how much brown is in the room that you did not remember initially seeing. You didn’t notice all of these brown things because you were so fixated on looking for the blue. And all those blue things you are obsessed with finding or having are making you blue!
If you would like to suffer less, savor what you already have in your life. Look around! Instead of aching for a romantic relationship, savor the relationships you already have. See your incredible friendships, relationships with mentors, colleagues and community that are filled with love. Instead of longing for a career that you are passionate about, look at the things in your life that are lighting you up right now. There are other ways in which you are sharing your gifts with the world that may not be taking the form of a job. Instead of obsessing about needing more money, invest your energy in observing the ways that you are already abundant. If you are aching for children of your own, look at all the ways you currently mother or father others.
There are infinite possibilities of ways your dreams are coming true right now!
I encourage you to ask yourself what fantasies you have conjured up about what your life is “supposed” to look like. If your life is not matching this picture you created sometime in the past, it is time to update your story and truly recognize the gifts of the present.
Let go of your attachment to the form. Stubborn hearts get broken more often – and take longer to heal. Stop being so convinced that unless something unfolds in a certain way, you will not be able to experience your heartfelt desires. Trust your longings, but don’t always trust what your mind does with them! Look around and see how the Universe is abundantly presenting you with opportunities to express and experience your inner most desires.
Your dreams are ALREADY coming true; open your eyes to see them and open your heart to receive them.
“Anger always comes from frustrated expectations” – Elliott Larson
About the Author:
Christine Hassler left her successful job as a Hollywood agent at 25 to pursue a life she could be passionate about…but it did not come easily. After being inspired by her own unexpected challenges and experiences, she realized her journey was indeed her destination. In 2005, she wrote the first guide book written exclusively for young women, entitled 20 Something 20 Everything. Christine’s second book, The 20 Something Manifesto written for men and women stems from her experience coaching twenty-something’s.
Today, she supports individuals as a Life Coach helping clients discover the answers to the questions: “Who Am I, What do I want, and How do I get it?” As a professional speaker, Christine leads seminars and workshops to audiences around the country. She has spoken to over 10,000 college students as well as to conferences and corporations about generational diversity. Christine has appeared as an expert on The Today Show, CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, E!, Style and PBS, as well as various local television and radio shows, speaking about life issues and “Expectation Hangovers®” – a phenomenon she identified and trademarked.
Christine is the spokesperson for Zync from American Express and the key resource for their Quarterlife Program which empowers young people to take control of their finances. She also created a life balance curriculum for the Leadership Institute and is a member of Northwestern University’s Council of 100. www.christinehassler.com