Over a decade ago, I bought some proper knives. Because I’m always trying to do multiple things at once in the kitchen and the knives were very sharp, I often cut myself – not quite needing stitches. More than once Michael did his “Lurch” groan and muttered about digging out the old knives as he went to get the ready supply of butterfly bandages.
Was I distracted, careless? No more so than before, but those knives weren’t as sharp. They worked, as I did sawing through a particularly hard chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano. It took a lot more work and was seldom as elegant.
We have actions, processes, thoughts, and choices we may have utilized for a long time. They worked in the moment. Even if they didn’t really resolve the issue, they helped us manage, but we barely register how much extra work they require.
Our cherished coping mechanisms actually keep us stuck, and until we try something new, we may not recognize just how stuck we are. There are obvious mechanisms like shopping, alcohol, comfort or stress eating, etc., and the results are visible. Others may be less obvious and have no outward appearance — insecurity, overwhelm, looking after everyone but ourselves, not feeling like we are “enough” so what’s the point? Most of it goes on in our thoughts, but it’s noisy, isn’t it?
We kind of know we are stuck, but at least it’s familiar. We know that feeling, and even if it’s uncomfortable, it’s “known.” Who knows how it would be different if we broke out? Who’s to say it would be any better? It might bring on other thorny questions like, “Why am I here?” and “What’s my purpose?” At which we shake ourselves and find something to do.
Familiar with that circle of thinking too? It often occurs when we’re beginning to consider a real change, but fear or a stumble sends us in retreat to the comfort of what we know. We can always fill the emptiness by DOING more.
Yet, there’s that longing for something real and meaningful, isn’t there? We can pile responsibilities and activities over it for a while, but when we have a moment to ourselves, it’s there again. Beyond the desire to lose 20 pounds. It’s that desire for who we want to be and almost think we can be – what we link losing the extra weight will make us but doesn’t.
Those coping mechanisms are still there, and we have to dismantle them, face our stuff. That’s when we find real freedom. One step at a time, even if you stumble, propels you forward. Imagine that.
If this resonates, send me a message.