I was journaling this morning and I realized that there was an interesting pattern in my behavior.
Let’s say there’s an area where I fall short. This can be because I genuinely don’t yet know what I am doing or it’s a case where my expectations are not lining up with my reality. It could be at work where I am not measuring up to some task or it could be on a personal level with the quality of the food I am eating or the way I am treating people I love, etc.
The context is not as important here as the pattern itself.
So there’s this thing that I am not doing as well as I would like to or feel I should.
With some rare exceptions, I almost always know what needs to be done to close the gap between reality and my expectations. Maybe I need more training, a bigger time commitment, better choices, more patience, etc. The fact is I know what needs to be done.
But I don’t want to do it.
Even if I have a wonderful and authentic and valid reason why, what matters most here is that I know and don’t want to do what it takes to make this happen.
Which is okay. I don’t have to want to do everything.
Here’s where things fall apart: even though I know what needs to get done and know that I won’t do it, I also won’t let go of the expectation that it “should” be done. I “should” be able to do it.
So on one side, I won’t do it, on the other side, I won’t let it go so I still feel bad about not doing it.
This is where suffering comes in.
I am continuously giving myself a hard time for something I know I won’t actually fix.
When put that way, it seems obvious that I am creating a no-win situation. And it seems obvious that I should stop doing this.
But I do it all the time. I want things or feel bad about not measuring up to certain standards (often set by me) but I don’t want to do what it will take to make it happen.
So I decided this morning that part of being a grown-up is admitting when this dichotomy exists and actively choosing one side. If I am not willing to do what it takes, I will acknowledge that and then I will let go of the “should.” I will let myself off the hook. I will admit that this must not be important enough (compared to other things I choose to do) and that’s ok.
Whenever I find myself frustrated, disappointed, sad, I plan to ask myself “Am I willing to do what it takes to make this go away?” and if the answer is “No” then I let the feeling go as well.
I know there are cases where things are out of our hands but, for me, most of the time, it’s a self-caused problem. So that means it should be self-resolvable.
Let’s see how I do.