Occasionally I find myself doling out tidbits of advice to people. I must have a “please tell me your problems” sign on my forehead. I do no not hate this. It’s something that happens to my mother, my best friends and 90% of the people who do not have a resting bitch face. It makes the listener feel important (Hiiii ego) and provides an opportunity for connection and growth.
It is easy to examine someone’s problems from the outside and provide insight, but how do we do this with our own lives? How do we get past the emotional baggage? The very nature of our own shit is that it is in our face, preventing a clear view of the entire problem.
There are indicators that you’re giving advice and NOT taking it:
- You readily jump to help others, while secretly crying in your car afterwards. (Jokes. Just jokes. Maybe. Yes, just jokes.)
- Clarity comes to you only when dealing with others’ problems. Otherwise you’re blind. With a cane and walking through life constantly bumping into your own shit. It is annoying. Trust me. I have bruised shins from bumping into my own issues.
- While detailing what one “should” do to ease their issue, you feel a nagging pull in your stomach. You write it off as the tacos you ate at 4am.
I generally tend to swallow the feelings that surface surrounding my own “WTF” moments and dive headfirst into philosophizing. This website is the very epitome of that. Of all the countless articles and messages and emails I’ve written to others, I’ve half-assed doing exactly what I demand of you. The excuses I made for myself are the ones that I made friends pinky-swear they would never utter.
“I’m not ready.”
“I won’t be any good.”
“What happens if I fail?”
Time to walk the walk.
I tell you “I love being a beginner” and to “do things even when you don’t feel ready”, you know, those things you write when you’re comfortably trotting along on the same routine. Now is my time to feel the terror.
Instead of traveling for the winter I’m dedicating all my monetary gains this year to furthering my education. This weekend I will fly back down to Costa Rica, the very town I lived in last year, to become a student at the Nosara Yoga Institute. I have put this off for so many reasons. Not the right time.Not enough time. Not enough money. Not enough experience. Not enough anything. Not for me. One of my dearest friends asked me five years ago why I wasn’t pursuing a “career” in Yoga. My answers? Absolute shit.
“I’m not ready.”
“I won’t make any money.”
“There is no stability.”
“I’m still not ready.”
“I won’t be any good.”
Never mind that I barely make a living wage in an industry many would classify as “unstable” [see: seasonal employment]. I climbed the ladder of guilt and excuses. I used every one in the book. Perhaps these excuses were the byproduct of an American upbringing, poor career counseling, and the status quo pushing the single-focused life path. Perhaps the word career threw me off; the very idea that we must pigeonhole ourselves into one job title for entirety makes me squeamish.
A step-by-step guide to get out of your own way:
- Watch yourself when you speak to others about their problems.
- Listen to yourself and take it seriously.
- Then sit down with a good friend, preferably a reliable and truthful one.
- Preferably with a bottle of wine or tequila or whiskey [or coffee if you’re abstaining for some reason].
- Ask them to tell you like it is.
Oh and then go do that thing, whatever terrifies you the most, but you feel you must do. Don’t put it off any longer. You won’t ever feel ready, especially if it is something worthwhile. Fear is a good indication of how much something matters to you. Unless it is jumping off a bridge. Even if you’re attached to some rubbery cord and your friends tell you it’s fun and it’s exactly like flying. You are not flying. You are falling and you should be afraid.