Often in life when we’re going through a difficult time or something unideal happens we end up feeling stuck. We think it’s because our situation is just so awful and terrible. However, often we end up stuck because we aren’t putting enough of our effort and energy into the solution.
For example, lets say you got made redundant. You then spend the following days or weeks talking about how you didn’t deserve it, how X person should have been let go instead of you, that it’s not fair, you’ve been hard done by, it’s ruined your life, constantly dropping your redundancy into conversations and wallowing in self pity.
As much as it’s important to acknowledge a difficult situation, there’s little to no benefit in dwelling.
Instead, you could focus on moving forward and getting a new job. That could involve updating your CV, researching companies to apply at, filling out job applications or thinking about what you want your next career step to be.
A new job might not come come quicker but I think that being pro-active can do wonders for boosting your morale.
When you’re used to doing things alone, the thought of asking other people for their input, ideas or opinion might not be so appealing.
But often seeking the perspective of an outsider is much more useful than we realise. They’re able to see things from a point of view that is not so easily available to us.
I think sometimes we just want to say that we did things totally and independently, we don’t want other people playing a part or being involved. But if we could only welcome input, ideas and opinions from the right people it could actually be the very thing we need to help us when we get stuck.
Sometimes when you’re so used to being independent and doing things alone, the idea of collaboration and working together is unappealing. After all, your past has shown that you don’t need to work with someone else to get things done, so why should you change that.
However, sometimes from collaborating with others it allows us to focus on our strengths. We’re then able to produce something that is much better than if we were to try and do everything.
For example, lets say that you work in product photography/prop styling.
A job may require someone to source props, someone to come up with a theme and provide creative direction, the stylist who puts the props together and then a photographer to take the photos.
Just because you can do all those jobs yourself, doesn’t mean you should. You may be an amazing prop stylist but if you’re not really a photographer maybe working with one would help you produce better results. And of course you can learn new skills but sometimes trying to split yourself between too many things just reduces your ability to do any one thing well. This then brings brings down the overall quality of the final result.
And so, maybe it’s worth shifting our perspective to realise that sometimes things might be good when we do them alone but they’ll be better if we do them together.
How you feel about something one day, might be totally different to how you feel a few months from now.
It could be about food, a tv show or a hobby.
Maybe you grew up reading a lot of fiction and you were the sort of person who felt like non-fiction wasn’t for you. You may have even felt like it was boring or that you could never be immersed in non-fiction in the same way that fictional stories managed to capture, engage and entertain you.
Then, suddenly somewhere along the way, you have a change of heart. Maybe it just took one good non-fiction book but maybe it happened bit by bit. Either way, you no longer see things the way you used to.
…and when to fold ’em.
I know next to nothing about Poker but I love this phrase.
When you have the choice to either stick with something and hope for the best or to bow out and move on, it can be difficult. Sometimes we end up believing that we should stick with things until we’ve ‘fixed’ them. Or we tell ourselves that we should keep going even when it’s clear that things aren’t working well.
We think we’re doing the right thing when really we’re just making ourselves a little bit more miserable as days go by.
In contrast, walking away sounds too much like we’re giving up, that’s the reason we won’t do it.
And like that phrase goes, better the devil you know. There’s always this fear of walking away and ending up in a situation that leaves you worse off than when you started.
But that outlook is so bleak and unhelpful, perhaps it is seen as realism. However, it’s always important to consider that things might not get worse, they might actually get better.
Sometimes when you encounter an issue you only look at it from your perspective. You focus on how you feel, how you’ve been treated and you can end up playing the victim (often unknowingly).
Sometimes we take the position of the victim because we want to be coddled and we want to be saved but doing so puts you at a disadvantage because you’ll always be waiting for someone else to make things better.
And when you go to people and tell them the problem you’re having you might find that they seem unsympathetic or as though they aren’t on your side. This can make the issue’s your having feel even worse.
But sometimes all it takes is looking at the situation from another point of view to realise that you’re so focused on yourself that you’ve ignored the experiences of everyone else around you.
Sometimes the choice you have to make is between taking care of yourself and meeting other peoples expectations.
Nobody wants to be considered a let down which is why often people end up putting themselves aside and focusing more on other people. But you shouldn’t treat yourself as though you don’t matter, you matter just as much as everyone else.
It shouldn’t take you sacrificing yourself in order for other people to be happy.
And maybe you haven’t even realised that you’re doing it. Perhaps it just takes you looking at things as an outsider to realise, you’re so focused on meeting other peoples needs that you’ve stopped making time to tend to your own.
Ideas of things are always beautiful and wonderful because we can make them whatever we want them to be. Reality on the other hand is much more rigid and fixed.
It’s like the ideas are the smell of a cake and reality is the actual cake. You could smell chocolate cake and anticipate it to be the best you’ve ever had but when you cut a slice and take a bite, it’s absolutely awful.
And so, I think as much as it’s important to daydream, it’s very important to focus on the reality of things because things don’t always turn out the way you imagine they will. And just like with the cake, something that smells good or even looks good doesn’t always taste good.
Who you are does not have to be so rigid that you force yourself to be defined by ticking several boxes and sticking to them. You can be one thing today and another thing next week.
So often we go through life trying to find ourselves and figure out who we are so that we can settle into ourselves. Yet in doing so we end up limiting ourselves because maybe who you thought you were or wanted to be at 20 will be very different to who you evolve into in your 30s.
We focus on things like having a career that we work towards from our teen or even pre-teen years. We assume that the plans we made 10+ years ago won’t change. And even when they have changed we struggle to let go because it opens us up to changing and exploring ourselves once more. We aren’t always ready for that because there is societal pressure to figure yourself out and settle down.
You’re told that you need to have your life together by a certain age which sometimes leads to you making choices to do things that you don’t even really want to do. And if you get to 30 or 40 and you’re still exploring you’re considered somewhat fringe, unconventional and even looked down on.
But maybe you don’t value the things that other people value. Perhaps you’re very aware of the life that you could or could have lived but you’ve chosen another path that has lead to a deeper exploration of life and self. Something you’d have never had the option to do if you had chosen to give in to expectations of the way that life should be.
Sometimes we choose to view life in such a simplistic way that we don’t even consider that something is missing.
You perceive things as good or bad and wrong or right without leaving room for flexibility.
But often the truth lies somewhere in between.
For example, Robin Hood was a thief which is bad but he helped poor people which is good.
Limiting him to one or the other is an over simplistic view that doesn’t accurately portray the full picture.
Sometimes both things can be true.