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Who Has the Answers? You Do! (You Amazing, Butt-Kicking, Fantastic Person, You!)

May 11, 2010

Wow, that post title was really exciting, huh?

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time lately (lately, Jen? Seriously, you’ve been spending the last 30 years, 5 months, 18 days and 9 minutes doing this!) worrying about what to do. Worrying about what I should eat to be the healthiest, worrying about what workout to do to feel or look the best, worrying about what career path to take, worrying about when and if I’ll be married and have kids, worrying about my cats, worrying about my parents, worrying about my skin, worrying about my life, blah blah blah and on and on.

I don’t think I’m alone on this, but I’m realizing a startling thing: I am looking for answers everywhere in the world but in myself. Okay, sometimes I remember to ask myself the answer, but mostly I read books that I hope will tell me how to peacefully live, show me exactly what to eat, give me some insight into how to figure out the perfect career, and tell me how to have a good relationship with the people in my life. I also talk to other people, read blogs, read newspaper articles, and ask my cats how to fix what’s “wrong” in my life and what to do to make things perfect, or at least better.

It’s tiring, let me tell you. I don’t know if you know this, but every single book that you read and person that you talk to, two-legged or four, is going to give you a different opinion. Imagine if, as you were a child trying to learn your colors, everyone told you what this color was, but they all said something different. Your brother told you it was purple, your teacher said it was green, your mom promised you it was yellow, and your dog sniffed your butt. You’d be uncertain as to what the truth was, wouldn’t you?

Well, what to do with your life is different from learning your colors, because YOU are the one who knows what you want to do with it. Colors were established long ago and we all just agree on what the are; they’ve been decided by an external source. You are probably tempted to think your life can be explained that easily too. In fact, you probably have had many experiences where an external choice was made for you: You will be polite, you won’t ask for too much, you will go to college, you will marry, you will be a lawyer, you will join the Rotary, or whatever. You probably first got these messages from your parents, and later your peers, and now maybe your partner or co workers or friends.

We’ve been sold into the idea that someone else can tell us how to live. Sure, you may get great inspiration from a book or public speaker that changes your life, but it truly just sparked something in you that was already there, you just needed help seeing it.

Recently I’m noticing that people (me included) say they “don’t know”. They don’t know what they want, they don’t know what to do. They don’t know the answer to how they feel. I think it’s a lie. Not a conscious one, mind you, but one that has been conditioned into us. We can’t say what we want because it’s wrong to want. Or the other person’s wants are more important than ours. Or it’s too scary to want.

I’ll probably forget this by the time I hit “publish”, but I am the only one who knows the answers to the question “What should I do in this moment to live my happiest life?” Also, you are the only person who can answer that same question for yourself. I think we should read, we should explore, we should see what resonates with us. But I know sometimes I can hear an author’s voice, or the words of someone I love, in my head when I’m trying to make a decision. Almost as if I think they’re going to judge me or disapprove of what I’m doing. I want to listen to people, read books, go to events, and keep my own center. I am the only one who knows what’s best for me (I’m repeating it over and over to make it stick!).

Okay, I think I’m done now. I hope you’ll consider what I’ve said, and realize that you’ve got all the answers and somewhere deep inside you do know what you want, you just have to be brave enough to look.

Have a great Tuesday!

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