The Cruelty We Never Share
By Chris Palmer, M.A, Founder, FigureOutYourLife.com
I can see it in you. The weight of life. The struggle.
I can see it in the way you sometimes silently walk empty. In the reluctant way you clock in at work.
Or the disappointed way you look at yourself in the mirror.
It’s in every silent regret of things not done. Of loves lost and feelings unexpressed.
I see the unspoken doubts in your faith that make you sad, and maybe even guilty. And the emptiness of comparisons that never end.
But the worst of it is the voice. Your voice. The one that measures every single stinking perceived inadequacy you have.
And throws them in your face.
And sometimes deafening.
I only see it in you because I see it in me too. And I hate it.
But it’s in all of us. All it takes is one small awful thought to start doubting.
All it takes is a story or a picture or a post that shows someone living a life you admire or yearn for.
And people rarely share their bad side, their weaknesses, their lack.
So we compare our lives to their highlight reel. We are built for comparisons. And we’re built with this fight or flight instinct.
So fear creeps in. And the doubts and comparisons and regrets rob us of joy.
There is a tiredness in regret. And every moment we let ourselves believe we are less, is a moment we rob ourselves of life.
We always have a choice. Sure, maybe we can’t stop that little voice that fears we are inadequate, that somehow we are not enough.
But we can manage it. And every time we catch ourselves being so painfully critical, we can shake ourselves out of this self-defeating crap, take the reigns, and go after the life we want with no apologies.
This is your life.
It’s been given to you by God or the universe or both, and apparently you can choose almost anything you want.
We make our own cages. We limit ourselves. It’s that damned instinctual fight or flight instinct that so often turns to flight. And fear.
You can fight it. I can fight it.
This isn’t some b.s. motivational fluff. You can choose. Every moment of every day.
I’ve coached millionaires who are still so empty inside.
And impoverished people who are hopeful and alive.
No one is immune.
But everyone can feel alive.
I’m not saying it’s easy. It is not true that we all have the same opportunities. And you’re just going to drag yourself around sometimes.
And beat yourself up.
But we all have opportunities. Even to the very end.
So if you, me — all of us — would choose to use that horrible, painful, cruel negative self-talk as an alarm to wake up, everything could get better.
You could choose fight instead of flight. You could make one step, one stand to change one tiny thing.
And each small choice leads to more. You get stronger. You fight more.
In short, you’re alive.
Nothing is going to be magically easier. In fact, it’s harder.
But it’s better. The rewards of really going for a life, and really fighting that voice, changes everything. And your strength in choosing your own path, on your terms, makes you feel more alive than any experience you’ll ever know.
It’s always your choice. You don’t have to do anything. But for me, I’d rather fail and feel alive than be afraid and lose the chance to have really lived.
And by the way, I don’t have any of this mastered. No one does. But I see it in me. I hear that voice telling me I’m not good enough, or maybe I shouldn’t do this because I might fail.
Or worse yet, maybe I shouldn’t do something because of what people would think of me.
And sometimes I succumb. But most of the time I use it as fuel, lick my wounds, and take one small step.
Something. Anything. Just a step to validate that I can. And it leads to more steps, until the fear is drowned out by action.
Imagine a world where people weren’t always so cruel to themselves. If you really gave yourself a break, how would it change everyone around you?
Just imagine 7 billion people fighting their doubts and fears and taking one small step to go after the lives they really want. How alive would the world be with that kind of energy and passion and life?
I’ve seen people die with incredible regrets. Painful regrets.
Wishing they spent more time with those they loved.
Wishing they had been less fearful about their passions.
And wishing they had been fearless enough to be who they were, instead of worrying so much about what other people might think of them.
There is a beauty in being exactly who you are. Imagine if any of us could do that for even a moment. It’s possible.
And the beauty would be deafening…