How following your bliss leaves some people behind-An opinion piece.
People really like to beautify their struggle, failure and the pain it brings. I get why this is necessary. I mean who wants to be the person that just gives up? Holding on in the tough times builds character and teaches lessons otherwise inaccessible. We adore the hero who, even on his dying bed, fought the good fight. And had it not been for the explorers, many of whom died in the process, our world would not have evolved to be this amazing wonderland we now enjoy. Society and the people in charge tell us that” winners never quit and quitters never win,” and so dutifully, we wake up at the crack of dawn, whip ourselves into working shape and bleeding our souls onto the floors of our offices day after day.
But when do we come to terms with something that is just not serving us so we can feel good about letting it go? How do we learn to trust our instincts if we only follow the rules and do as we’re told? We are told there is no substitute for hard word when it comes to success, but we all see clearly that that is a lie. I mean slaves were broke. So what are we really buying into when it comes to investing our time? Have we become so dependent on the “man” to direct our thinking that we cannot decide for ourselves what makes us happy and adds to our creativity? I’m not even just addressing those who work in jobs and careers in which they are not in charge here, I’m thinking of the entrepreneur, who has spent the last 10 years trying to get a digital marketing business to make money and failing miserably every step of the way. Or the chef who finds no joy in her daily creations but has done it the same way for 15 years and is now eating her way to death. When do you say, “man, this is just not working, I’m freaking unhappy?”
Hard work equating to success has kept so many people bound to their painful circumstances. What are we teaching the next generation when we work so hard, scowling at our computers, but still have no freedom to go on adventures with them because we have to work? What’s in it for us when the images we portray on social media show smiling, young people living their best lives, as we sit aging and angry that yet another prospect has turned us down or yet another project has turned to dust? Then there’s the school of thought that says follow your bliss, what if your circumstances have been such that you have never had time to discover what the hell your bliss is? What then? Now, I know some people will read this and think, “woah man, that’s so negative what you’re thinking. You need to go meditate.” And to those people I say, kindly go play in traffic. I kid, but let’s be real for a second. Some people are truly stuck in situations brought into their lives by generational disparity. Some people just don’t have the luxury of taking a year to go find themselves. so they take what is offered, while working late nights, to build what is advertised as a path to their freedom. What do we say to those people when their dreams of freedom fail? When the house they sacrifice to buy burns to the ground or the child they worked to send to private school kills herself because of bullying for being different?
Life doesn’t always work in our favor, this much is true. But who decides where the favor goes and whose reality is going to just blow. I believe in the law of attraction, I think it’s definitely an empowering way to live and self-govern. However, how does one undo years of programming that ensured you knew and feared those that were in charge and cemented the belief in an external locus of control? And how does one stop the negative momentum that was imprinted on the mind through beatings or toxic parenting or generational trauma? How do these people just stop the pain trapped in their DNA to find and follow their bliss? We say all these fancy affirmations, and we rub our crystals and pray to the goddess, all while encouraging those who are downtrodden to just keep going. I know I’m guilty. So when do we say to someone including our selves, my friend, you have put up an excellent fight, but it’s time to stop? When do we help someone to see that quitters do indeed win? I mean so many extremely successful people are college dropouts or quit on so many different projects until they find the right one.
While I understand that true grit is a wonderful character trait, I think it’s dangerous for us to be so committed to guilting people into staying stuck in unproductive, unacceptable or confining pursuits just so they can prove they are worthy of success. We are worthy of the freedom to enjoy life and all the trappings of success just the same way we are worthy of love. We just are, because we exist. I for one believe it’s high time we started encouraging people who want to walk away from soul-sucking jobs, toxic people and experiences to just do it. In fact, we should start a quitting movement in which we find those who are unfulfilled in their jobs and businesses and release them with a celebration to rival weddings. Knowing what you don’t want is half the battle, deciding that you will no longer endure it is the victory. It is time we let the people who lack the privilege of psychological wholeness to find the safe space to discover their bliss so they too can follow it without being labeled losers, quitters or worthless.
If you are struggling in your business, job or relationship and you feel guilty for wanting to quit, take some time to read about people who shut out the noise and changed their whole life. This is the life you are given, it’s not a dress rehearsal, so you might as well work first and foremost on enjoying it and being happy. Learn some tips for letting go by reading my blog Release and Receive: The Letting Go Ritual in which I discuss identity crisis and finding your true self by letting go of the old. It will help you determine if you are stuck in a guilt-riddled experience doing what is expected of you because you don’t want to disappoint someone and how to take charge of your own existence. Leave me a comment here or on that blog if it helps you in any way.