I have had this postcard, drawn by John Callahan, for many years in my "Food for Thought" binder which contains words and pictures to laugh, cry and be inspired by. Every time I read it, I laugh out loud. I think it captures a sentiment felt by so many people: life is not measuring up to your expectations.
Are you making the money you thought you would be at this point in your career? Do you love your home, life, spouse, kids and delight in waking up each day? Do you feel you have lived up to your true potential and found work that moves and inspires you? Are you in excellent health? Are you kind to others, ethical and compassionate?
If you are like most people, you may have a hard time answering yes to all these questions. It may feel impossible to get to such a place of happiness. From personal experience, I know it is possible to get there. It didn’t come from years of therapy or painful, difficult and time-consuming personal work. It came as a subtle shift in my own thinking.
Because I made some poor choices earlier in my life, I used to beat myself up for not figuring it all out. My inner dialog was something like:
"What is wrong with me? I know better than this! Why am I choosing to do something that I know is not good for me? Why can’t I figure this out?"
As soon as I would voice those words, I would feel my throat tighten up and a pit develop in my stomach. My head would get light and I would feel off-balance and ill-at-ease. This did nothing to make me want to change my behavior, in fact in most cases it made me want to do something destructive like eat a pint of ice cream or buy an expensive outfit or electronic gadget that I really didn’t need.
One day things shifted. I spent a lot of time in meditative prayer, searching for peace and understanding. Then I received a gentle message:
There is nothing wrong with me.
I don’t need to be fixed, doctored, taped up or altered.
I have not always made good decisions in my life. I stayed in relationships that were not good for my soul or mental health. I spent too much money and didn’t save enough in my 20s. I wasn’t always the best daughter or granddaughter or friend that I could be.
But my essence, my spirit, the me that was born to my Mom and Dad almost 40 years ago, is perfect just the way she is. Just knowing that has brought a tremendous sense of peace to my life. I am happier, freer, more joyful and more appreciative of the lessons I have learned. And as I have internalized this feeling, my life has grown and flourished just the way I hoped it would. I met and married an amazing, loving man. We have beautiful children. My work is fun and inspiring and challenging. I adore my home. Prosperity abounds. Personal and family relationships are healthy and loving. Life is good!
So no matter where you find yourself at this moment, no matter how many mistakes you have made or opportunities you have missed or hearts you have broken, please know that you are perfect just the way you are. There is nothing wrong with you.
I hope you take this thought with you into your weekend and feel the joy and peace that it brings.