I grew up in a family that believed it was morally unethical to not get what you wanted.
It just wasn’t right.
People like us (rule followers, hard workers, due-paying citizens) deserve a better deal. Good people get good stuff. It’s only fair.
Imagine how well that belief system worked for me when I went out into the big wide world.
Everything was so unfair! No one looked at me and said, “You’re a good person. I’m going to give you what you want.”
I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting the jobs I deserved or the lifestyle I was surely meant to have.
So I concluded the only thing I could conclude, under the circumstances:
I WAS getting what I deserved.
I must be a bad person after all. Bad people don’t get good things.
Rabbi Harold Kushner was no stranger to that line of thought. When his 3-year-old son was diagnosed with a condition that would kill him by his early teens, Kushner didn’t understand. His son was innocent and perfect. Why should someone who’d never done anything wrong suffer so horribly?
Kushner set out to write “a book that could be given to the person who has been hurt by life—by death, by illness or injury, by rejection or disappointment—and who knows in his heart that if there is justice in the world, he deserved better.”
The result became a bestselling classic: When Bad Things Happen to Good People.
But Kushner’s reassurances didn’t help me.
Okay, so maybe there was no link between being a certain type of person and getting certain results. But what did get the results?
If being a better person wouldn’t get me what I wanted, what would?
Setting more goals? Using the Law of Attraction? Studying more, practicing more, working even harder?
Thank goodness for Mike Dooley.
I came across his “Notes from the Universe” daily emails as a result of celebrity recommendations (I’m a sucker for a famous face) and quickly became a fan.
Dooley believes that:
Everyone gets what they think about the most.
So, if you keep thinking about why you’re not getting what you want, you’ll keep not getting what you want.
Have you ever done that?
Don’t worry. Me, too. 😉
The only way out of that mental dead-end, Dooley explains, is to stay focused on where you want to go.
Program your end destination into your internal GPS. You may not be where you want to be right now, but don’t worry. As long as you keep moving in the right general direction, you’ll get there in the end.
Where we go wrong is by insisting on the precise route to happiness.
We don’t just want health, wealth and abundance. We want to control the specifics, too. We want a particular house, a particular husband, a particular job, and a particular income. And we want them NOW.
A light went on inside my head. I’d done that BIG time.
I’d fallen for the “Santa Claus trap,” where you think you should get exactly what you put on your wish list. A girl who asks for an Elena of Avalor doll isn’t going to be happy with Fashionista Barbie. (Trust me on that one.)
But you’re more likely to get everything you dreamed of when your dreams are painted in broad brush strokes.
Wishing for romance is better than praying for that cute guy to respond to your online wink. Wishing for fulfilling work is better than putting all your efforts on getting one particular job.
It can feel like Santa Claus let us down when we fail to get the job or the guy we asked for. But that’s because we’re not seeing the big picture.
In the big picture, it may be necessary for you to take a dead-end job in order to meet the person who’ll offer you your dream job. Dating the wrong guy might put you in the right crowd to meet your dream guy.
It’s not up to us to tell that great GPS in the sky how we’d like to get to our final destination.
And you know what?
All that flailing around in my early 20s did serve a purpose. It kept me out of a career track, freeing me to travel. Had I got my dream job and dream guy right out of college, I never would have left.
Funny how things generally work out in the end, if you just wait long enough.