We are all pushed everyday. We are either pushed by external forces (bosses, spouses, peer groups, etc.) or by internal forces (our beliefs, morals, boundaries, etc.) These forces tend to define our world and decide the world in which we live.
If you are a citizen of the United States that does not sound like living in the land of the free does it? Where in the equation is our freedom exercised?
A lot of people would say that the freedom comes in the choices we make. We choose to accept that specific job, we choose to marry our partner, we choose whom we hang out with. Conversely we choose our beliefs, we choose our morals, and we set our own boundaries.
But is that the real truth? Is that where our freedom lies?
I don’t believe it is. Freedom doesn’t come from making choices that fit within the social paradigm (for external choices) and the majority, if not all, of our morals and beliefs stem from what we were taught as children. That is not much of a choice at all.
So there we stand day in and day out being pushed in different directions by forces we were truly free to choose. That’s why you are at home on Sunday at 7 o’clock and your throat gets tight as you start to think about work the next day. That’s why you get that pit in your stomach when you do something your Father wouldn’t approve of.
When you are not capable of freely expressing yourself and plotting your own course your body will tighten up and it will resist. It will make you worry, get you sick or just in general stress you out. Long story short it breeds a gnawing feeling of frustration that you cannot shake. No matter how many raises you get or how great your life looks on paper.
You’re out of balance and out of control and being pushed down a path you didn’t truly choose.
So what do you do? How can you counteract these feelings? It’s simple and totally counter-intuitive advice… but the key is you need to stop resisting.
Imagine the external and internal forces I described are the rushing water of a river. Anything that tries to resist a river eventually erodes, that’s why river banks widen and rough rocks slowly become smooth and round. The more you try to fight the current the more you slowly get beaten up.
Instead you need to go with the flow and let the river take you downstream and eventually the river will fork and you can choose a new path. When life is overwhelming you the instant response is to CHANGE EVERYTHING and you just want to make this monumental shift but that is too hard and you can’t accomplish it. Sure you may try for a little while and fight it but eventually you’ll give up because it was just too hard a task.
What you need to do is say to yourself “Ok, this sucks and is totally not what I want but I can’t do it all at once” once you admit that it will take time you can begin to make small course corrections. Making tiny decision after tiny decision to alter your course then when the opportunity presents itself you will be able to change your path completely.
If you adopt this mentality you will start becoming aware of when those moments of resistance appear. Allowing you the opportunity to actively make a choice not to fight it and adjust accordingly. It is the subtle moments in life paired with the right action that will bring you where you truly wish to go.
Life is every changing and it rolls on and on. If you try to fight with life you’ll never be happy and you’ll never be in control of where you are going. If you embrace it and go with the flow you’ll start looking out at the horizon and see all the different paths you can take along the way.