The other day, someone said “There are 7.5 billion people in this world and you’re going to let the opinion of one person stand in your way?” I have heard different ways this has been said, but yet, hearing this the other day was as if I had never heard this before. And suddenly, a light went on in my head.
I like this way of thinking. I like this because it is true. There are billions of people in this world. There are so many different ways to become the person we want to be, and yet, for some reason, we allow people to interrupt our path in life. We allow people a voice in places where they have no say. We take things personally, when in fact, most times people say or do something this has nothing to do with us. This is more about them than anything else, and yet, we adopt this. We accept this and we take this in.
Remember something, everything we say or do is done to honor a thought, a need, a feeling or an idea. We act for a reason. We respond for reasons. We talk for reasons, which means everything we do has a reason behind it. This uses energy and sometimes, this can drain us of our energy.
My question is why do so many of us forfeit our hopes and dreams because someone says it can’t be done?
Why do we listen to any of this?
Is this because of fear or is this just insecurity?
I remember when I was a kid and I heard a teacher say, “Everything is impossible until it’s done.”
I like this idea. In fairness, perhaps this is one of the most valuable lessons I ever learned in class.
I like the fact that there is a way to find hope (if we choose to). I like this idea. “Everything is impossible until it’s done.”
I like that this allows for a drive from within. This acknowledges that the real cheering section has to come from within. Otherwise, there will only be the voice of the opposing views. Otherwise, there will only be doubt and there will always be someone looking to tell you that “It can’t be done.”
But let me ask you something. How does anyone know what you can or cannot do?
I have learned that a person can have everyone on their side and still feel alone. I have seen this in my own life. I have seen what happens when there is no belief. And in this case, what’s the point, right?
Why bother anyway?
I have said this to myself along with all the self-sabotaging things that coincide with this type of thinking. But to what avail? What does this do?
Where did this leave me? Or better yet, what did this lead me towards or does this keep me with just more of the same?
7.5 billion people in this world and yet, we tend to invest our time with the ones that do not deserve our attention.
7.5 billion people and yet, we still think about the opinions of people that are literally meaningless.
Is the need for acceptance so great or is it that our personal persecution of “Self” is so intense?
Is it that we judge ourselves so strictly? Why?
Why is it that we hold ourselves to so many painfully unrealistic standards? Why is it that we devote so much of our time to ideas or people that do not deserve a place in our head?
I am sure that everyone understands this from an intellectual standpoint. We all know that yes, sticks and stones may break our bones. But I agree with Author, Rober Fulghum when he says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can break my heart.”
I agree that we hold onto ideas of shame. Words hurt and so does rejection. We allow outside opinions to sway ours. But again, to what avail?
What does this do for us?
How does this improve our life or help us to promote our best sense of self-efficacy?
I have seen hopes and dreams hijacked. I have watched people forfeit their efficiency to self-deprecating thoughts and behaviors. I have seen what happens to dreams deferred.
I have undergone the heartbreak of waking up one day and realizing this; there was no one else to blame. In fact, it was me that accepted the trade. I came to the realization that I subjected myself to a trade that was below my worth, which only attributed to my anxiety and depression. I gave up on myself. This was me. This wasn’t anyone else.
I had to find that cheering squad from within but first, I had to find the energy to build up the gusto of my home team. I realized that I gave myself away cheap because I was afraid. I was afraid that I was not going to be accepted, wanted, or included or worse, I was afraid to find out that I am nothing but flawed.
Think about this. Think about the energy consumption and the resulting wastefulness of shame, blame, regret and fault.
I often talk about the energy we have, which is always constant. I envision our energy like a circuit board. We are the primary source of our energy. However, we can do one of two things. We can conserve our energy and use this wisely or we can waste it. Compare the mind to be like a mansion with thousands of rooms. Each room is with a light on and each is burning up electricity.
This is us.
Compare the mind and our different capsules of thought; compare our ideas and fears and the memories which do not serve us well; imagine the angst, the resentments, the regrets, and all the unwanted outcomes, responses and regrettable factors in our life. Now, compile this in the form of a mansion with all the lights on.
Imagine the brain is the only power plant in town, which it is. Think about this mansion. Think about all the rooms in the mind, burning with the lights on, and yet, all this does is burn our energy.
Think about the way we learned to conserve energy as kids. Think about the lesson to always turn off the lights when you leave the room. Shut the door behind you when you leave a room, right? We were taught this to save electricity or save on the heating bills.
Now, let’s go back to that mansion with thousands of rooms. Think about the mind. Think about the rooms in which we have lights burning. Think about the energy behind this and then consider what the outcome would be if we could shut the lights and put those rooms to sleep.
How much energy would we have if all the unneeded thoughts or unnecessary arguments were no longer burning lights?
Rather than live in the rooms of our past, what would it look like if we were able to shut the light and simply close the door behind us? How much energy would we have then? Would our energy improve?
I know mine has.
Back as a kid, The Old Man used to get mad if I’d forget to shut the lights after leaving the room.
He’d ask me, “What are you trying to do? Light up the whole neighborhood?”
He’d say the same thing about standing with the front door open in the wintertime.
“What do you want to do? Heat the streets?”
Then he’d say, “Shut the door. You’re letting all the heat out!”
When the energy bills came, The Old Man would say something like, “What do you think I am, made of money? How about you pay these bills and see if you leave the lights on anymore!”
Then again, like most fathers, my Old Man used to walk to school, six miles, both ways and uphill in the snow. But I digress.
However, there is something very poignant about this lesson. There is something so simple and true. From a personal standpoint, we tend to waste our energy. We tend to give our energy away to either heat or light up the neighborhood around us, and yet, meanwhile, we are the ones that get stuck paying the bills.
I go back to that mansion in my mind and all the unnecessary rooms, which were burning lights. I go back to the idea of people, places and things. I go back to that number again of 7.5 billion people in this world and yet, for some reason, we waste time with too many people that do not deserve our energy.
I remember taking a class about energy conservation. They talked about electric usage and wattage and lights and the misuse of good electricity.
Imagine if letting go of our struggles were as simple as shutting off a light switch and closing the door behind us?
Maybe it is that simple.
Maybe we just need to find the lightswitch. Or better yet, maybe we need to give ourselves the permission to do so. This way we have more energy to encounter the rest of the 7.5 billion people in this world and enjoy the people who are just aching to meet us halfway and smile.