I felt like scum! When I quit my job to go into business for myself–I was stuck in a rut. My bank account was waning. I went from a $70,000 salary to zilch overnight.
My initial attempts to secure clients was failing. So I needed something to plug the leaks. People were relying on me; mum, dad, and bro (we shared a roof at the time).
Decisions I made had repercussions.
But despite knowing that I only had 6 month’s worth of savings to live off, I spent the first 3 months doing nothing about it. Despite wanting to care for my father especially (74 at the time), and promising him I would, I put my whole family in a much more nerve-wrecking position.
You think I would have used it as motivation to get a new part-time job. To secure some sort of cash-flow elsewhere. After all, doing sensible things to reduce risk and feel “safe” was a specialty of mine–double degree in engineering and finance, management consulting experience, design consulting experience, and organizational learning … you name it. I have a CV that could get me a job overnight.
In my situation, it would have been sensible to keep a job, and gradually transition to something I loved more. But I didn’t. I just backed out from that sensible path.
(I did eventually get a job, and it’ll make sense why when you finish reading this post).
And for that, I spent many days feeling like scum.
But that’s my point.
It’s easy to find logical and in some cases, extremely genius “step-by-step how to” solutions online these days. Things that you think you should do, or ought to do to make things better for yourself. Things most would consider “No brainers.”
But something can still feel amiss. Until we understand that what keeps us stuck is a sophisticated and unique function that runs beyond our common awareness, it is hard to find a sustainable solution. Each person must be dealt with respect and care.
Telling someone to do any different to what they have been doing, or experience something different to the way they have been … just don’t cut it.
The important thing to recognize is that your current experience (no matter how painful or pleasureful) is your highest priority.
That experience is precious.
“Yeeesss Yes!” (tried to reproduce Golem’s tagline here)
It is exactly the best option on your life’s menu–or you wouldn’t allow, promote, or preserve it. To understand this or refresh your memory, refer back to the post on the positive intention behind everything (The Art of Personal Change III — Doing the Best You Can … Always).
The question we want to ask in order to explore more dimensions of the positive intentions that the many parts of us comprise is …
What is so precious about the current experience you are generating?
This is key.
For me, I valued feeling useless and like scum.
When I was 4 years old, and there were family arguments between mum, dad, sister, and brother–I couldn’t do anything. Despite the anger and tears that were expressed by my loved ones, I stood there not knowing what to do.
I didn’t want to feel the heartbreak. I didn’t want to take a side. So I froze.
Because I didn’t do anything, I blamed myself for everything that happened.
It was better for me to feel useless, than to feel the hopeless heartbreak that could have come from the imagined reality of my family falling apart.
I then decided (at 4 years old) to be a peacekeeper; stay low, don’t take big risks, and don’t ruffle feathers. I made sure everyone was cared for too, and their priorities would precede my own.
Anything I did for myself would be very limited and covert.
Genius solution? For a 4 year old, yes.
But with the wisdom of a 29 year old, I know that no one expects a 4 year old to be an expert mediator or to forgo their needs for others! Ha ha.
I laugh but it’s a cry-worthy matter.
Because my 4 year old didn’t see it that way. A 4 year old just lovingly does what he/she can, with the limited information they have in hand.
Now, being responsible and a peacekeeper came with the condition of feeling useless and like scum–the feelings of being useless and like scum became the foundational conditions to get me back on task.
These collapsed conditions are a function of our human construct that coincide with what I discussed in a previous post (The Art of Personal Change II — Perfect Solutions that Have Expired).
Feeling like scum and being usefuless was a necessary trigger for me to get off my butt (eventually) and be responsible again.
So I eventually got a job again, plugged my financial leaks–and built my business in my spare time. And within 6 months, I was thriving by earning a full-time living doing what I loved.
Of course, there are better solutions to being focused, discipline and on point. Not everybody has to feel useless and scummy to perform.
But my 4 year old did. And I have to respect the 4 year-old’s contribution.
The better solution?
My 4 year old needed to be shown how adults really saw him. And more often than not, those who were arguing when he was around, didn’t expect him to solve their problem by taking on their burdens. Nor did they make him the problem explicitly.
This is information he did not have (it was deleted from the field of all available information), that would have been useful.
So aside from recognizing the positive intention, it is useful to converse to the younger parts of us and give them some useful information that they just did not get at the time.
We must of course, present it in a useful way that a 4 year old would understand. In their language.
So in the silence of your hearts and in the ways your whole being knows how–try chat to the younger part of you that have worked so tirelessly to create what we are experiencing, now. That’s right. And as you breathe we repeat, “Thank you for your love. Thank you for trying.” Visualize how no one expects a little 3 or 4 year old to be responsible for their problems. And no-one expects them to be the solution at that age. “You can relax for now. It’s not your responsibility.”
As we come back to sense where we are in life now, it is useful to appreciate that we have perfectly promoted and allowed the experience we are having.
Join me with the next post of this series, The Art of Personal Change VI; To Hold Dear.