Last week, a friend reached out to me to share an article that she thought I may find useful, and also told me about a documentary she recently watched. She went on to talk about how it’s important to make changes in life when we are unhappy, but that it’s not always better to “go big or go home”.
She texted me this elaborate analogy about someone being unhappy with their home, and how taking a sledgehammer to the walls of the house and destroying everything may seem like a good idea at first. It may even be exciting to break down all the things we thought we hated about the house with the prospect of building a brand new and improved home!
But that doing so may actually feel very overwhelming and exhausting, and bring about more confusion than before. When really all the home needed was maybe a fresh coat of paint or new curtains.
Thank you Mel, for sharing your analogy with me, because it has really helped me find compassion for myself in a time where I can’t seem to give myself a break.
This year has been a year of change for me. It has been huge. And I forget that.
It has taken this analogy for me to look back at the past 8 months of my life, and realize that I essentially did to my life, what that person did to their home: I took a sledgehammer to it and literally broke down all semblance of my life as I knew it.
I left my job as a nurse practitioner.
I left my boyfriend.
I left our apartment.
I started going to therapy.
I stopped training to lose weight.
I stopped shopping to fill a void.
I tempted to stop drinking alcohol.
I contemplated leaving the nursing profession as a whole.
I decided to explore dating women.
I contemplated leaving the country for a few months.
I contemplated many things, actually. Clinging to the grandiose idea that my next venture would be THE solution to my seemingly endless suffering.
It took that analogy to make me realize that maybe the answer to my problems is not so grandiose, after all. And maybe it really lies in the most simple aspects of my daily life. Maybe all I needed was a fresh coat of paint.
So I am putting down the metaphorical sledgehammer. Because I am freaking exhausted, and I can’t keep destroying everything in my life that threatens me. I can’t keep pushing away experiences that scare me or trigger me. At least, not forever.
After months of searching for answers and expanding energy trying to figure out what is wrong, I have come full circle only to realize that nothing is actually wrong.
As captain Jack Sparrow once famously said: “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem”.
It’s no freaking wonder I feel lost and exhausted : I have stripped away every aspect of my life and have left myself exposed and vulnerable.
On top of that, as wonderful as therapy is, it is fucking brutal! A lot of the work is in taking ownership for the role I have played in how my life has turned out.
The role I played in burning out. The role I played in my last relationship failing. The role I’ve played in pushing away friendships. The role I’ve played in my depression.
It’s great, to realize the power you have over the outcomes in your life. But it’s a double-edged sword. Because it’s equally devastating to realize the power you have had on the outcomes of your life.
So now I have a huge renovation project on my hands – metaphorically. It’s exciting, because I get to rebuild from scratch. However I need to take my time, and do this one baby step at a time.
It’s tempting to compare myself to others, and almost impossible to ignore my short comings. Yet it’s completely unfair and unproductive to do so.
So thank you Mel, for the beautiful analogy you shared with me. I can find it in myself to give myself grace, while I take the time to rebuild my life. One little change at a time ☺️