To be human is to deceive ourselves.
We can’t possibly engage with all the truths about our lives all the time, we must ignore most of them most of the time lest we drive ourselves mad – but – whenever we face a significant problem in our lives the luxury of self-deception evaporates and we must be prepared to tell ourselves the truths we need to hear, otherwise we will make no progress.
Here’s one universal truth:
We choose what to focus on in life – we choose our priorities. We either choose on purpose or we choose unconsciously, but one way or another we choose.
Here’s another universal truth – each choice we make has consequences.
A natural consequence of a choice that moves us towards one goal will inevitably move us further away from something else – because we don’t have endless time or energy. If we come home from work and spend 4 hours a day perfecting our guitar skills – we will probably get very good – but since we can’t spend that time out socializing with our friends then our friendships will suffer – at least some bit. The only important question is – are you ok with the trade off?
Same with parenting – if we choose to work all day long on our careers – fair enough – however we can’t then expect to form deep meaningful bonds with our young children if we hardly ever meet them, and we can’t expect to have trouble free relationships with them when they become teens.
It’s a pretty obvious trade off – your career flourishes – but painful relationships is an inevitable consequence!
We can’t always know what the consequences of our long-term choices are – until they hit us – but when this happens the best thing we can do is connect the dots and let the truth sink in – especially if it is painful to swallow.
If we find ourselves living hand to mouth and suddenly arrive at retirement age with no savings or pension – fair enough, stuff happens – but to solve the problem we need to recognise the truth: that we made choices along the way and this is the result. Only then can we set about fixing the problem.
If we neglect our health, eating whatever we desire or allowing ourselves to live in a mostly stressed or anxious state, and then suddenly discover that our body won’t allow us to get pregnant – fair enough – it’s a personal choice – but before we can begin to correct our course we must allow ourselves to recognise that it is the result of a lifetime of choices. We don’t need to judge ourselves for this – we just need to accept it.
We may have been dealt a bad hand of cards – but it’s still a choice how we play them.
Prevailing when the odds of success are stacked against us is possible – but to win we must bring out the best in ourselves, and the first step involves telling ourselves the truth – that we are responsible for where we are.
If you want to get a bun in the oven but life wont let you – do you have the courage to connect the dots and speak the truth to your deepest self?