As I ponder the start to the new year, at first, I feel sorry for myself. I make the foolish, painful mistake of comparing myself to others and focusing on what’s missing in my life instead of all the good things I have. It can be all too easy to go down this path.
Then it hits me, as rain pours outside my windows while I sip a mug of cocoa, cozy and warm: My life hasn’t been changing the way I’d like, not because I’m stagnating, but because my spirit has needed consistency to feel safe. Like a plant tucked snugly in its soil, in a corner of the garden in the sun, my steady, nourishing surroundings have enabled me to feel secure and cared for enough to grow and even bloom.
I often feel frustrated and fearful that my life isn’t changing. When will my career and prosperity expand. . . and where the hell is my Mr. Right? But when I think about it, I don’t want all of my life to change. I love my strong, healthy body and beautiful, comfortable home.
I teach my personal growth coaching clients about the “four legs of the stool”: work, relationships, health, and home – the core areas of our lives. If too many of them are up in the air at once – in transition or not working for us – we feel unstable. Because the health and home legs of my stool are solidly on the ground, I’ve been able to ready myself and explore more to create a purposeful career I love and look forward to finding true love.
And while my life has looked the same on the outside for a long time now, I’ve grown in leaps and bounds in wisdom inside. I’m nowhere near the same person who ran off to fast on a vision quest ten years ago and left behind her entire world to start life anew. Since then, I’ve discovered we don’t always have to make big, rapid changes; small, gradual progress leads to happiness just as true.
So, if you’re feeling stuck in one or more areas of your life, try reframing your view: Consistency, not stagnation. Safe, not stuck. Consider looking with gratitude at the pieces of your life that have stayed the same. Some are blessed with loving partners, family, and friends as they deal with challenging health issues or explore their careers. Others have consistent income from their job to support them as they explore something new. Instead of getting angry or beating yourself up for your life being “painfully” the same, ask if perhaps you’ve needed constancy to help you feel secure enough to evolve, on levels and in ways that may not be outwardly visible, but are even more critical to becoming who you truly are.
Many people teach, “embrace change.” I say, also, embrace constancy. It may be exactly what you need right now to become your best self.
© 2019 by Laurie Gardner