Sometimes life is just plain HARD.
You thought everything would turn out, and it didn’t.
You took a risk, only to see it crash and burn.
You got your hopes up and took one teeny tiny step towards believing in yourself…
Only to end up back where you started, worse than before.
Why can’t life be easier?
As LOVELY as it would be to have life hand us everything we want on a platter…
That’s never been how life works.
If we want something, it’s up to us to go after it.
What doesn’t get us any closer is wishing.
There are so many things I wish for…
But I know that I’ll never get them unless I take action.
As a young woman, I used to tell myself:
If I don’t have something, it’s because I don’t want it enough to change what I’m doing.”
I needed that message, because I’d been brought up with a different one.
I’d been brought up to believe that good things happened to good people.
If you just focused on being a good person, and you were patient, good things would happen to you.
So I poured all my energy into doing things by the book, exceeding expectations, finding out what I was supposed to do and doing it…
Only to find out that there wasn’t a reward waiting for me at the end.
There was just more work. More obligations. More responsibilities.
It wasn’t until I started asking myself what I wanted…
What I wanted my life to look like, who I wanted to be…
That I realized I’d had a choice all this time.
I didn’t have to do what my elders and mentors and superiors told me to do.
I was the captain of my own ship. I was the master of my own destiny.
I could steer my ship to an unknown land. I didn’t need a map; I could figure it out as I went.
I could trust myself to handle whatever dragons and sea serpents the ocean threw in my way.
You have what it takes to steer your own ship through dragons and sea serpents, too.
Once you have a destination, you will find your way through setbacks.
Your ship can get destroyed, you can get waylaid on a desert island, you can find yourself having to fight for control back from a trusted partner who betrayed you…
But the call of that distant land keeps singing in your ears. You can’t ignore it. You can’t forget it.
The strongest captains trust that call. They trust themselves to do what is right for them.
They listen to advice, they carefully consider options, but ultimately it’s their decision. They’re not going to outsource their decision-making to people who think they know better.
Not everyone wants to take that level of responsibility for their life.
Many people prefer to let others make decisions for them. They go along with the consensus of the crowd. They do what the experts tell them to do.
They just want to be good, and chart a safe course, and make decisions other people will agree with.
And that’s okay. Even that is a choice.
There’s a beautiful book by Martha Beck called The Way of Integrity that teaches you how to listen inside to find your truth and your path.
Martha did this crazy thing when she was younger.
She made a vow not to let any word that wasn’t true pass her lips for an entire year.
Little did she know that telling the truth would end up turning her life upside down.
She lost relationships. She moved. She changed careers.
When we finally start telling the truth to ourselves…
I don’t really like that.”
It’s not okay to treat me like that.”
What happened to me wasn’t okay.”
No, I don’t want to do it.”
I want to do this, not that.”
This is what I really want.”
This is who I am.”
This is what makes me happy.”
…Our whole world changes.
We can’t keep lying to ourselves anymore.
We can see that what we’ve been tolerating has been hurting us.
We can see where we’ve got waylaid on a desert island and lost sight of our destination.
We can see where other people have taken over our ship and steered it without our consent.
We can hear all the voices telling us that the distant land isn’t real, it’s probably not half as good as we think, it’ll take too long to get there, this destination is better and it’s closer, too…
And we can think, “Actually, I’m the captain here.”
You are the captain of your ship.
You are the master of your destiny.
Where are you going to go?