Figure 5: Breaking out of the standards and norms and Factor-x
Why don’t we stop regularly and look carefully at which fundamental values lie at the heart of what we’d like our life to be like? Why don’t we find our meaning first and then manifest that, as opposed to finding meaning from things outside ourselves?
Do we ever stop, never mind stopping regularly, to look carefully at what we want with our lives? When we look carefully at our lives, can we say, without any doubts, that our lives are meaningful?
Do we live our lives in a way that we experience inner peace, never mind now and then, but often, or almost always?
Are you content within yourself, and if so, is this the case only from time to time, almost never, or almost all the time?
Is it time to not just stop and look, but look carefully to see what you’re experiencing in your day-to-day life, moment by moment?
Do you have the courage to be brutally honest with yourself?
In the event that we see what we experience and realize that it isn’t really what we want with our lives, do we have the courage to make the necessary life-changing decisions? When we recognize any of the above, or connect with some of the other material discussed here, does it ring true that our life hasn’t amounted to what we would have preferred?
If so, is it fair to say that a life-changing decision is necessary? Is it fair to say that as you’re reading right now, you’re experiencing all sorts of anxiety? When you look carefully at this anxiety, do you see the connection between what you’d like to do and what your thoughts are at this moment, and that it relates to your Factor-x?
If we’re brutally honest with ourselves, we’re likely to see that we might be experiencing anxiety. Recognizing our experiences for what they are is a step in the direction of setting ourselves free. The next step is to see how that anxiety translates into having or not having the courage to take the next step, beyond the anxiety brought about by our Factor-x. Perhaps we don’t have the courage for that step. But at the least, do we have the courage to see that we’re experiencing the anxiety, and that we lack the courage in the moment to take that next step: the step toward what we’d really like with our lives?
Any of the following experiences is all about getting a glimpse of ourselves:
……anxiety when contemplating change
……recognizing what we’ve created with our lives
……seeing where we stand with ourselves
……seeing that we have a life that we’d rather not have the way it is
……seeing clearly (or maybe not so clearly) that we’d like to change it
……seeing we have the courage (or not) to accept these observations about ourselves
The more we stop and look at what we experience—and accept our observations of ourselves—the more we’ll get to know ourselves. And perhaps we’ll recognize that we do have the courage to take some smaller steps. And the more we do it, the more we’ll develop the courage to do it again. But, and this is a big but: The smaller steps build our courage, and the more we practice taking smaller steps, the easier it becomes as our courage and confidence grows.
But here is the “but”: There is one big step, one we almost certainly won’t have the courage to take.
For now, just be aware that there is a big step on the path to our first-choice existence. Fighting it or denying it won’t make it any easier to take that step. Yet if we resist the idea of it, we might never take the bigger or biggest step or steps, and as a result, always live a second-choice existence. The main thing is to acknowledge our experiences for what they are. Meaning that: perhaps we realize that we’re anxious; perhaps we see the next step but lack the courage to take it; perhaps we accept that we lack the courage to be brutally honest or to even see the next step—or at least acknowledge those experiences and observations. Yet refusing to acknowledge our reality doesn’t help. On the contrary, acknowledging our present state is a good start, and one from which we can grow. And acknowledging what we observe about ourselves, and accepting whatever we observe, in itself is a step toward liberating ourselves.
And if we stand up to our Factor-x and get beyond it without fighting it or denying it, we stand a chance of getting to live our firstchoice existence.
Always keep in mind that until we stand first in our lives—and this includes not allowing our Factor-x to drive our lives—we’ll have a second-choice existence. Only by stopping, observing, seeing and accepting what we want in the moment—that which we see when stopping to observe ourselves—do we recognize ourselves. Only then do we stand a chance of putting ourselves first.