40-Something and Feminist? These Three Thoughts Might Be Blocking Your Path to Happiness.
Before we get acquainted with the thoughts, let’s see:
You’re educated. You’re passionate.
And you’ve never been afraid to call yourself a feminist.
You’re well-traveled. Culturally literate.
And you have at least one career under your belt.
Oh, and you know that you don’t have to put up with shit, right?
So what’s going on?
Why aren’t you happy? Deep. Down. Happy.
The crazy schedule, the washing, the deadlines, the mortgage, your aging parents….
These can be stressors for sure.
But what if that’s not it?
What if it’s more subtle?
Perhaps it’s in three thoughts:
1) I can change the world so I can change everything.
BREAKING NEWS: You can’t.
Okay, let’s get more specific. You can change the world, bit by bit – you can be President (hopefully that’s not just a theory), a Prime Minister, a CEO, a teacher, an entrepreneur, a mover and shaker.
You can change the view - the way your neighborhood looks, your house looks, the way you look – campaign for improved street lighting, paint a wall, put on some make up.
But even if you’re good at fixing things, making things pretty and changing the world, you can’t change everything. Or more specifically, you can’t change EVERYONE.
And it’s hard sometimes to make the distinction: I can change the world but I can’t change him or her – a partner, a boss, a member of your family or a person in your life who’s sucking your energy.
But you can’t. You can’t change everything.
And thinking that you can keeps you stuck.
When you think of 50 ways to change someone, you can’t hear the voice inside that says:
"Love them as they are"
"Leave them as they are"
"Just move on!"
2) If I just think about it some more, I’ll work it out.
There’s a place for analysis and critical thought.
These skills helped you secure your education.
The chances are you’ve used them at work where you’ve had an impact.
I get it.
You’re good at thought.
But we’re all overusing it.
Because we’ve forgotten about inner wisdom.
And we've forgotten that inner wisdom used to be queen.
If we stop reading endless blog posts and books about parenting, we often realize we already know how to help our child.
If we stop trying to behave in a way that’s defined us for the past 20 years, we remember what makes our heart sing.
If we step out of the storm of our thinking, if we let the storm pass without judgement, then, when calm, solutions become apparent.
Often, we don't have to think about it some more. We need to stop thinking, do nothing and let inner wisdom rise.
3) If I just struggle some more, then I’ll reach my goal and I’ll be happy.
Struggle feels so normal. We’re feminists after all.
But it’s not our default.
As kids we wouldn’t seek struggle; we’d seek joy!
We can join a struggle – a movement that lights our hearts and brings us joy and changes the world bit by bit.
But the struggle shouldn’t define us. The joy should!
For years, your body may have let you get away with a life of struggle. Struggle on any dimension.
In your 40s, your body will have it no more.
Can you already feel that?
Struggle is not the path you absolutely must take to reach a goal, because when you get there, where ever there is, struggle will be all you’re used to.
Perhaps it’s already all we’re used to: struggle, not joy.
Three little thoughts that 40-something feminists are holding on to as if our identities depended on them:
I can change everything…
If I just think about it some more…
If I keep on struggling…
They’re just thoughts.
They don’t have to define you, or me.
Here’s another thought:
What brings you joy?
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