Several weeks ago I had a conversation with a classmate and I just haven’t been able to get out of my head. Without going into details, she asked me for advice and every suggestion I gave was met with a “Yeeeeeaaaaah, but…” and then a monologue on why that won’t work because her circumstances are so radically different then mine (they aren’t). I was left frustrated and thinking, “Well, why did you even ask me?” Then that jerk “reality” slapped me in the face and I realized I do the exact same thing when I am like when I’m- ahem- not open to suggestion. It was like being face-to-face with a part of yourself that you not only don’t like very much, but try really hard to ignore. I immediately wanted to call everyone who has ever offered me advice and apologize.
But it got me wondering why we resist help when we ask for it? Do we really think we know better? Or that our problem is so completely unique that no one could know the trouble’s we’ve seen? Or maybe we’re afraid of taking that leap to real, lasting change? I think I’ve always been working with that last one. Even if you are doing something crappy, at least you know what to expect day after day. The devil you know is better then the one you don’t, as they say. Not only is change scary, but it takes a commitment and hard work. Without those two things our goals are only daydreams.
I’m not going to lie, the hard work stinks about 90% of the time, but satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment that comes with achieving your goals is so worth it and, between me and you, it’s addictive. For real. I was never much of a goal setter until the last few years. Actually, that’s not right. I was a goal setter. I wasn’t a goal achiever. Not that I’m out filming “Be Rich, Like Me!” infomercials from my yacht flanked by my cabin boys, Keanu Reeves and Adrien Brody (don’t judge, you have your imaginary celebrity boyfriends and I have mine), but the first few little goals got met and then it was like, “Now what?” So, I set a couple new ones and work towards those. Trust me, they don’t have to be major things or even very fixed. Lately I’ve been trying to add a minute on to each interval I run per week (like this week it’s a 6 minute interval, next week a 7 and so on). Sometimes I have to extend the deadline or I just can’t muster the energy. But even if it’s 3 times a week, it’s that much more then the week before and all of it adds up. Now, if I don’t have a goal to work towards, I feel kind of lost.
Back to the topic at hand, this conversation also got me wondering about how much good advice I tossed out over the years because I thought I knew better or the other person didn’t know what they were talking about or I was afraid to change. I’m sure it’s a ton, but I’m also sure everyone else has done the same thing. It made me think of that saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I used to wonder where my “teacher” was or wish for someone to tell me, “You need to do this, this, and this and your life will be awesome!” But here’s the thing, those teachers, they’re not just people who stand at the front of the classroom. They’re all around us. They “appear” because we become aware enough to recognize the lessons they are teaching us- whether they even know they are teaching or not. The person I was talking to taught me a huge lesson about myself even though they didn’t mean to.
So if you’ve given me advice ever, I apologize. From now on I promise to be more open to it….
most of the time sometimes once in a while maybe.