Sometimes you fight and wait for something for so long, that by the time you get it, you don’t really want it anymore. This can happen in relationships, when one person wants more than the other, and it can happen in professional settings, too. There’s only so long we can go, accepting less than we want, or allowing ourselves to be taken for granted, before it wears us down.
Part of the burnout has to do with our disappointment in ourselves; the sick feeling in our gut when we know we haven’t shown up for ourselves the way we should. That’s really the thing to examine. We can get caught up in the details, in the linear story of what happened, and why we did what we did, who said what to whom, where things took a turn for the worse, but really, the details don’t matter that much. What matters is why we participated in the dimming of our own light. Maybe you let your boss take advantage of you for years, because at least it was a steady paycheck, and no other plan seemed feasible. Or maybe you stayed in a relationship because you were in love, thinking you could change the other party, but really, in your heart, you knew they didn’t love you all the way. So now maybe you “have them”, but not really, not in the way that matters. Or maybe your boss senses a shift in you, or picks up on the fact that you’re just going through the motions, maybe she realizes she should have treated you better, but the attempts at recognition fall incredibly short, or seem empty, meaningless.
The bottom line is that there’s a difference between working hard for something you want, and kidding yourself. If the job isn’t right, if it isn’t growing, if there’s no potential for you to learn or open or pursue your passion, it’s never going to feel good letting years go by like that. If the relationship isn’t growing, if you and your partner don’t really want the same things, what’s the point? Sometimes it’s tempting to trade in short-term comfort for long-term pain. Just let me feel okay for now, just let me have one more month where I work this way and deal with this mess, and then I’ll get out. Just let me have one more weekend where I don’t have to face the pain of this reality, just give me a little more time to find the strength to accept what I already know. The thing is, in a mix like that, the longer you stay, the weaker you get.
I think life is pretty short if you’re firing on all cylinders. If you’re following your heart, and allowing yourself to be guided by your intuition, if you’re pursuing those things that light you up, if you’re moving toward people who are also moving toward you, who are excited to be on the journey with you, if you’re loving your heart out, my sense is that life goes by very, very quickly, that there probably won’t be enough time to get all the love out, all the gratitude out, there won’t be enough time to give everything you want to give. On the flip side, if you aren’t allowing yourself to be guided by your gut, if you aren’t letting yourself be pulled by the force of those things that set your soul on fire, if you’re chasing after love, affection, approval or respect, if you’re stuck in rage, blame or shame, if you’re too afraid to say what you want, loudly and without fear, then life is probably going to feel pretty long and painful. I really think those are the options.
We’re given this body, and that’s a gift. We’re given this energy, this time, this particular spark, and those are all gifts, too. You have something to give that only you can, and if you don’t get busy doing it because you’re allowing your spark to become a flicker, you’re also robbing the world of a gift only you can bring, and you’re robbing yourself of the chance to figure out what that gift is. You won’t find it when you’re loathing yourself. I mean, you might be able to identify it, but in order to fly, you cannot be weighing yourself down with guilt or shame or fear about your integrity. You have to be unencumbered in order to fly, and only you can figure out what that means. Only you know the shape of things that will work for you. Don’t waste too much of your time and energy fooling yourself, because you’ll also be squandering your gifts. Time is passing. It doesn’t wait for any of us to get it together. We do, or we don’t, and time still passes.
Sending you love, and hoping you’ll fly soon if you aren’t already,