We are in the stage of life where people are getting divorced. The “mid-life crisis” is hitting and people are realizing that their time is finite and they are not happy with where their lives have gone so far. As a result, they are feeling compelled to change it all at once and/or find various ways to escape the distress of their new found reality.
We have friends who are “finding themselves” with a new husband/ wife, new cars, going on backpacking trips or even pilgrimages in order to discover “who I really am”. Others are “finding themselves” in a bottle or by over-indulging at work.
We talk about fining ourself as if it is out there, waiting to be discovered like a treasure on a map.
That is like saying I am going to find my nose in Fiji, or my new wife will help me find my nose, or I will find it by going on this trip, or with my new car, with my new friends etc. It is going somewhere or doing something to find something that we have always had with us. When we take the time to reflect in the metaphorical mirror, we see it as plain as the nose on our face.
I like to use the COAT ANALOGY
When we are born, all the people closest to us give us a coat. The coats are their style, not ours. They are often too big or too small. They never seem to fit quite right. Some may smell, be ratty or torn. As we keep meeting new people, we start to get weighed down by all of these coats.
Each coat is telling us who we are supposed to be, how we are supposed to act, what is supposed to matter to us, even what we are supposed to look like! It is SO EXHAUSTING walking around day in and day out with all of these coats! We were them to work. We wear them at home. We wear them when we go out. We have them everywhere we go!
Eventually, we decide “That’s it!” and we dump them all! Almost immediately people start picking them up and saying “Hey! You forgot your coat” and handing them back to us.
Eventually we end up with all of them back on. Weighed down. Unhappy. Unsatisfied. It may not even be that the coats are all that bad. They just are not the right coat for us. We judge ourselves for not being happy with the coats we have and continue to drudge away through life.
You see, we can go to Fiji, get a new husband/ wife, move, change jobs, earn more money, drink more etc and if we are still wearing all those coats, we won’t feel great. We may feel better in the short term, but once the novelty of any change wears off, when we are still carrying everyone’s expectations and judgments with us, we still feel weighed down.
The truth is, it is up to us to give ourselves permission to take off all the other people’s coats. They are not ours. We can gracefully say thank you and release them. With a bit of practice, we can even learn not to put them back on when other people try to give them back to us.
Under all of those coats is us! We were hidden under there all this time! That is why so many people who “find themselves” consistently describe it with words like FREEDOM, LIGHT, like “a weight has been lifted”, “clarity”.
So how are you doing with your coats? Are you feeling weighed down lately by the burdens of other people’s expectations? Or are you feeling victorious and free, ready to LIVE your life?!
See you next week!