Seems that lots of my friends have had a crazy start to the year. Conversations about how weird the times are, how frenetic the energy is between people. That things have been tense and long held structures are now shaky and changing. These times of #MeToo, whistleblowing, public enquiry and increased scrutiny got me thinking about how as people we just tend to ‘go along’. It’s like we’ve been in a coma, not upsetting the apple cart, preferring the status quo than an argument or a spotlight on us.
This reticence to examine our wider world led me to wonder about how we’re all managing as people. I ask you, when was the last time you checked in with yourself and did some deeper digging into what makes you tick? Are you happy with the adult you have become? And have the influences that bought you to this place been in your best interests?
While we may be considered adult because our age tells us we are, when was the last time you took a long hard look if your beliefs, your values, your goals and how your boundaries reflect who you are and where you sit in life?
The irony of becoming an adult is that your lessons start when you’re very young. Basically, you get whatever your parents had to pass on, good or bad. Which is excellent if what they got was respectful, open minded and considerate of you as an individual, even though at that stage you are simply a child. Your parents get to write a bank cheque, creating and moulding a little human being to be the best they can be or something else. It’s a massive responsibility for any person, this parenting gig. Often it sucks.
It is very easy to blame parents for your lot. And some have had it much worse than others. Inflicted upon them wide ranging forms of abuse or violence, neglect or the responsibility of looking after parents who can’t care for themselves. Starts like that require a child to gain skills to keep them going each day. They become survivors early and stay in that survival mode for every after. It’s hard to shake it off and move into a thrive mode instead.
But we reach a point when we must take step away and take hold of our lives as our own. People tend to grumble about the idiosyncrasies of their families, complaining about ruined Christmas Days, the over-domineering mother and the siblings who have never gotten along. As an adult we have the choice to begin to unpick the threads which have made us individuals, for good and for bad, to reassess our place in the world and the type of people we can become if we set our own course.
Understanding yourself and being able to reset the direction which suits you means that outwardly, as well as inwardly, you will change. Things you used to say yes to, you may now say no. Conditions you once allowed will be no longer acceptable. New boundaries will govern your interactions. Time may be spent in different ways, with different people, and relationships will take on new meanings. It will be hard and challenging. People will get very pissed off with you.
The key to this new journey of yours is the mantra of success which goes something like ‘I no longer care what people think of me’. Out goes the need to be liked. Say goodbye to the bending over backwards, ’Nothing is a problem’, ‘I will be your servant’ whimsy of yesterday which not only exhausted you but left you miserable.
Along come the people who celebrate and support you. Hello there new direction, clearer goals and strangely more time to do the things you enjoy. Out the backdoor goes the drama and the grief, as you allow others to do their own inner work while you are busy centring on who you want to be (the best version of yourself) and where you want to go.
Yes, it’s hard work to strip back the behaviours and reflex responses to things we took up when we were little. That is why reassessing these things is so important. These may not reflect who we have become as adults. We now have an opportunity to question what fits and what needs to be left to the side. Emotional roadkill. It happens.
The world needs a new vibe, a new push. We had one after the industrial revolution and we still await an adjustment of values and morals in an age which provides us with a global community, an environment pushed to its limits and the lingering control of the last generation. So start with yourself. Begin to ask questions. Do the work. Bring out your best then apply it to wider world. We need the best adults to come forward now. Life is changing.