Whatever It Is, It Shapes You

Filed in Finding & Following Your Voice, When Writing Is Hard by on May 6, 2011 • views: 579

Tree Ocean Shapes You 2I hear people all the time say the words, “I can’t.”

I can’t leave my job right now, because I have too many bills. I can’t change my relationship, because he/she just won’t change anyway, and I can’t leave, because, well, we’ve been together too long and there are the kids to consider. I can’t go after that dream right now because I just don’t have the time or the energy.

All these excuses may in fact be very legitimate. But I read something by spiritual leader Osho the other day that got me thinking more seriously about the consequences of these sorts of concessions we make in our lives:

“It is not only that you do it; by and by it shapes you…”

It’s rare to think of things this way. We think we are doing the job we hate. We are living in a stale relationship. We are hanging on by our fingernails just a little bit longer until this happens or that happens, which of course, rarely happens.

What we don’t consider as we invest more and more time into that job, that person, that situation in our lives—is that it is shaping us.

If you take a moment to consider that carefully, you realize the potential danger.

What is the Situation Doing to You?

Let’s say you continue to work at a job you hate. Day after day, you drag yourself out of bed, drag yourself to work, chug down buckets of coffee, pig out on donuts and cake to help yourself feel better, put up with demeaning comments form the boss or your coworkers, continue to do projects that don’t challenge you, then drag yourself home at night to plop on the couch from exhaustion, not just from the energy you spent getting through the day, but because of how it’s sapping your soul of inspiration, say nothing of the extra pounds gathering around you’re waist, and then you eat some more, drop into bed, and get up to do it all over again the next day.

The same could be said of living in a stale or destructive relationship. Day after day you walk on eggshells, try to say just the right things, try not to say the wrong things, organize your time around what he/she wants you to do, organize your schedule according to the things you can or cannot do with him/her, argue, fight, cry, then suck it up and try again, gradually losing more and more of that spark you once enjoyed, until you’re operating more like a robot and less like a person in love.

If your inner voice has been urging you to make a change, but you’re not sure you should take the risk, turn the situation around.

Stop thinking about what you’re doing, and start thinking about what it is doing to you. What kind of person are you becoming as a result of your job? Are you happy? Inspired? Full of energy and life? Are you surrounded by people who encourage you and bring out the best in you?

Or are you consistently tired, grouchy, irritated, and spent, with your self-esteem drained all over the floor?

What kind of person are you becoming as a result of your relationship? Do you emanate love and happiness to everyone you meet, or are you suspicious, angry, guarded, and bitter? Do you look forward to a wonderful life with this person, or are you too busy trying to figure out how you’re going to get through the next day?

So often we think we can make it through, if only…if only we hang in there a little longer, another job will come along. If only we are nice enough, he will be nicer too. If only we can get this bill paid off, then maybe we can think about pursuing our dreams.

We think that only if we are strong enough, we can stand up under these challenges, and remain happy, loving, healthy, well-adjusted people.

Who Are You Becoming?

If you believe that, take a look at a tree by the ocean. Battered day and day out by the wind, it bends and bends until all it’s branches point one way—away from the ocean. The ocean changes the tree.

You are no stronger than a tree. Your circumstances will bend and shape you. What’s happening to you? Who are you becoming as a result of the circumstances you’re living in?

It’s difficult to change. Always difficult. Sometimes it’s best to take small steps toward where you want to go, but take those steps you must, if you want to become something more.

Osho says:

“The mind clings to the known, to the familiar, to the secure. Now that your job is secured, changing a job means moving into new difficulties, new situations. One never knows whether one will be able to cope with them or not. Maybe the new job will not pay so much—but these things should never be considered. A little less pay will do, a little more inconvenience will do, but if you are happy doing it then everything should be sacrificed for happiness.”

If you’re not so sure about that, look in the mirror.

Would you want to be around that person right now? If not, it’s worth it to take a risk.

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