The misalignment of us

Most people that you choose to have in your life are chosen because your lives or you as people align in some way.

It could be a similar taste in music, studying (or have studied) the same subjects, enjoying the same leisure activities, similar mindsets and worldviews or maybe you share the same aspirations.

Whatever it may be, when the base of your connection shifts it is likely that you may change your mind about having the person in your life.

Granted you will have built up a connection based on other things over time but when the core bits of you and a person no longer align, the relationship may no longer make sense.

This sort of thing quite commonly occurs once you begin to really figure out who you are and what you want in life. Perhaps the people you used to party with don’t really fit with the life you’re creating. Maybe your corporate aspirations clash with the aspirations of people around you to the point of causing disagreements.

Despite how it may feel, it’s a natural thing for relationships to change. It’s much better to allow things to be than to restrict your development or the development of someone else because you’d rather hold on to something that was never meant to last.

Reacting to mistakes

Here are 2 options for how to react when someone makes a mistake.

The first is to get mad as if the person made the mistake on purpose, maybe shout at them and ask why they did it.

The second is to let them know what they could have done better.

It’s similar to the idea of criticism and feedback. One of these reactions is useful whilst the other is simply someone using it as an opportunity to take out their own anger or frustration.

The first reaction will likely have someone feeling bad for doing something wrong and overtime could contribute to a fear of failure.

The second reaction will help someone understand what they can do differently next time and encourages growth.

Vulnerability and having your needs met

Do you really know what you want?

Often we go around telling people what we do want and even what we don’t want. Doing so can help you feel like you know and understand yourself because you’re able to articulate your needs.

What can end up happening is, when the needs you voiced are met, you come to find that it’s not what you really wanted at all.

Suddenly, you find yourself going back on your previous statement or displaying emotions like frustration or annoyance at the person who has done what you asked.

For example, you may say that you want to be left alone. However, when everyone leaves you end up getting upset.

The truth of that matter is that you didn’t really want to be left alone. Perhaps, it’s that you felt misunderstood, wanted someone to sit with you and listen or just wanted comfort. However, voicing these kinds of needs isn’t always easy because they show your vulnerable side.

It’s much easier to just say that you want to be alone, particularly when you’re not sure if the people around you are capable of meeting your real needs.

But, if you give the people around you some credit and allow yourself to be vulnerable for just a moment, you might find that you’re able to get exactly what you need.

If it doesn’t work out

We’re often brought up to believe that risk is a bad thing.

But the truth is it depends on the risk.

Packing up and moving to a new city could be considered risky but it’s not a bad thing. On the flipside, gambling away your savings hoping to hit the big time is risky and it’s not a particularly good idea.

I think when it comes to taking risks you know whether it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based on how you’ll feel if it doesn’t work out.

When the risk not panning out means your safety at risk it’s probably not something worth pursing. Let’s take the gambling example.

If it turns out well you could walk away with more than your annual salary which is enticing. However, if we look at what happens if things go wrong you’ll realise that you gain nothing. If you gamble away thousands of pounds you don’t leave the experience haven’t learnt a lesson.

Those kinds of risks aren’t worth taking.

But when you try something new, push yourself and get out of your comfort zone, even if it doesn’t work out as planned, you’ve given yourself the opportunity to grow and develop into the kind of person you want to be.

Perfection, perception and possibility

I once wrote that perfection is a falsehood. I stand by that statement. Perfection doesn’t really exist becuase of 2 things: perception and possibility.

What may seem perfect to one person will be viewed differently by another. Perceptions of others might end up changing your own view of your work. But perfection will never be universal because not everything is for everyone.

The end result of anything you do is based on picking one option out of several. But if at certain stages you found yourself caught between perhaps 2 out of the 5 options, when you’re finally done you may wonder about the possibilities of the other options. You might find yourself thinking, maybe it would have been even better if you chose the other option.

So why not let go of the perfectionism, something you’ll never truly achieve. Instead focus on the joy joy of creating your work and getting better and better over time.

Internalising boundaries

You can learn a lot from someone by simply observing them.

I recently noticed in a particular relationship that the other person had very clear boundaries. It wasn’t anything that had been explicitly stated but through this persons actions it was very clear what they were and were not open to.

Sometimes a persons boundaries can feel personal. You might feel that they’re being harsh and closed off toward you. On the other hand you might internalise it and end up thinking you need to put in more effort.

In the situation I experienced I could have taken it personally, in fact 5 years ago I would have. I’d have thought this means [insert monologue of dramatic over reaction here] and maybe this person doesn’t like me.

But I now understand that a boundary is for the person setting them, it has little to do with the people on the receiving end.

The difficult truth

Sometimes the hardest part is facing it.

Once you accept it, you can make a plan for what do next. That for many is exciting.

However, facing the difficult truth is the necessary first step. You do it by acknowledging and understanding the situation. In some cases it will involve admitting the role that you played contributed to a negative outcome.

That’s a helpful lesson because it allows you to understand the implications of your actions.

It might be a bitter pill to swallow but we all make mistakes. Luckily, we also have the capacity to fix them and make things better.

Identifying the discord

In some situations you might find that that there is a discord between what you want and the outcome you get.

If you’re unsure if this applies to you, think about some of your recent encounters with people.

What did you want?

What was the outcome?

Were you happy with the way things turned out?

It’s worth noting that what you want and the outcome don’t have to align completely. Sometimes you end up happy with the way things turn out even when it’s different to what you originally wanted.

But when you find yourself discontent with the outcome, the reason more often than you might think is your choice of words.

People often talk about how it’s good to open up, to let people know how you feel and be vulnerable.

However, it’s important to add if you don’t take the time to word things thoughtfully the outcome can be just as unhelpful as it would be if you say nothing at all.

Not being good enough

I used to be the kind of person that would internalise everything.

For example, if I didn’t get the job I applied for it was because I wasn’t good enough and not that they had 7 excellent candidates and only one role to fill so not everyone could be a winner.

I could give countless other examples but me internalising those experiences all came from the same place, this feeling of not being good enough. It’s a strange realisation when you start to understand that the way you see yourself contributes to the way you experience life.

Once I started working on how I saw myself, my entire outlook on life changed.

I recently had this experience where someone was intentionally inconsiderate. In the past I’d have kept quiet, felt bad, got upset and allowed that one moment to ruin the rest of my day.

Instead, I responded by simply asking why this person chose to be inconsiderate.

I understand why some people might up being that way but it doesn’t mean they can’t change, if they want to.

The way that things should be

We often go around with this idea in our heads of the way that things should be, in some ways it’s a good thing. When you know what you want you’re much less likely to let life pass you by.

On the other hand when you’re so fixated on the way that things should be you don’t give room for organic growth and development.

Lets say you applied for what you think will be your dream job but when you get there it’s not quite what you thought it would be. If you’re dead set on your ‘dream job’ you might end up leaving after a few months or staying put but hating it because it’s not what you wanted.

But if you take your foot off the gas and let go of the rigid plan created you might find that in this job you’re able to discover something that you’re actually interested in. It might be be even better than what you thought you wanted.

Letting go of expectations and letting things be isn’t always easy to put into practice. It requires patience and the ability to trust that things will turn out okay.