In my life, I recently encountered what we commonly refer to as “heartbreak”.
I’ve discovered from my training that heartbreak isn’t real. It’s just how certain situations show up to us in life. What sustains the emotional response is what we tell ourselves about the situation and what we make it mean.
But that doesn’t mean I didn’t encounter a wide range of emotions after a conversation one fateful night.
At first, I felt shocked and heartbroken. I was in pain.
Because I started sharing what I was going through with friends and my extended support group, I turned that around in about half a day.
At that point, the situation was showing up as clarity, freedom, energy in my world.
But only two days later, it was showing up as responsibility.
If only I had read between the lines. If only I had shared my inauthenticity sooner. If only I had spoken up earlier. If only I had been more forthright with my feelings.
I was beating myself up. My mind was foggy, and my emotions clogged.
I was stuck, so again, I turned to sharing, and this time, I called up one of my mentors.
Having explained the situation, my mentor said, “there’s one thing I haven’t heard you say yet, which is that it’s not your fault.”
My mentor continued to reinforce this idea that it wasn’t my fault. And, he shared with me that I am who I am, and that I’m meant to live that out. He also shared that the right person would embrace who I am and even be drawn to it.
We tend to change our behavior around those we care deeply about. We adapt to create a version of ourselves that we think others will accept, without even knowing if that makes us more acceptable. We make up stories about what we think others would find more interesting, more attractive, more valuable, and so on.
That’s not the person others were drawn to in the first place.
So, I got to try on that what I’d experienced was not my fault.
Suddenly, the situation in question was showing up in my world as peace and light excitement.
Of course, I will allow myself to feel whatever I feel over the coming days, weeks or even months.
There is nothing wrong about what any of us we feel.
The problem is the stories we construct around that, which are sometimes subversive but usually detrimental.
I’m not worthy of love.
I’m not attractive.
I’m not valuable.
Those types of thoughts can circulate in our minds, and we accept them as normal.
But then we carry them into future relationships and situations, oftentimes without any sense of awareness. That’s where things get tricky.
Have you ever considered that it’s not your fault?
Have you considered that you are who you are, and that’s who you’re meant to be, that there’s nothing wrong with you?
So often, we are in pursuit of something we don’t have.
And, when what we’re doing doesn’t work, and we don’t reach our goals, we try to do more of it, do it better or do it differently.
Have you ever noticed how more, better, different only offers incremental progress or change?
But we keep repeating that cycle of more, better, different.
But what my mentor was showing me was that maybe we can shine just as we are. Perhaps we would be better served coming from a place of self-acceptance. Not trying to be someone else. Not trying to be more, better, different. Just shining as we are.
We don’t choose people, projects, jobs or businesses in a vacuum. It’s coming from somewhere, nature, nurture or otherwise. It’s coming from the people we regularly interact with and the media we choose to consume.
And, our choices can solicit criticism from others.
When you begin engaging in a project you care about, you start to see that other people have all kinds of other plans for you.
What comes to mind for me is the parable of the Mexican fisherman and investment banker.
The essence of the story is this:
An American investment banker was vacationing in a small coastal town in Mexico when he noticed a fisherman in a small boat. He noticed that the fisherman had been successful in catching several large, fresh fish.
So, the banker asked how long it took for the fisherman to catch the fish, and he said it only took him a little while.
The banker then asked him why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish.
The fisherman responded that he’d caught enough to support his family and immediate needs.
The banker asked what he did with the rest of his time.
The fisherman shared that he slept late, fished, played with his children, took a siesta with his wife, strolled into the village to sip wine and play guitar with his friends.
Seeing an opportunity, the banker suggested that the fisherman spend more time fishing, buy a bigger boat, upgrade to a fleet of boats, sell his fish directly to a processor or open his own cannery. This would involve moving, of course.
The fisherman asked how long this would take, and the banker responded it would take 15 to 20 years. He explained that the fisherman could then go on to sell his company and make millions.
The fisherman asked what came next.
The banker explained that he could retire, move to a small coastal fishing village where he could sleep late, fish a little, play with his kids, take a siesta with his wife, stroll to the village, sip wine and play guitar with his friends.
The point is this — if you’re already living your dream life, you don’t need to change anything!
There are plenty of people out there who will tell you that you should do it more, better or different.
And, maybe you’re excited about that, and you want to pursue that path. That’s fine too.
But maybe, just maybe, you’re already shining exactly where you are. And, maybe a deep sense of self-acceptance will allow you to be at peace with what you’ve chosen.
You are not a mistake. There’s nothing wrong with you. When choosing a mate, a career, a job, a business or otherwise, choose from the core of your being and be unapologetic about it.