In the twilight moment between sleep and waking, when the slumber ends and reality breaks through, Olivia wakes with a pit in her stomach. Wanting to drift back into oblivion, her eyes fluttered as she forced herself to come to, taking stock of where she was and what the day held for her. A familiar wave of nausea made it all the way up to her throat.
“What is wrong with me?! I am so messed up. I have a job that pays me good money, a hot husband that loves me, a huge home, and great kids. I have the life everyone wants! Why do I wake up every morning secretly sick to my stomach? I need to get my head on straight, and appreciate what I have.”
And so begins another day of negative self talk, and going through the motions. Olivia’s life worked, according to everyone else, but it was her life she was waking up to everyday. The “everyone else” who thought she lived a dream life, weren’t the ones living it for her. They weren’t the ones who went to her job every day working for a company that bled the life out of her, keeping her in a constant state of anxiety. They weren’t the ones who knew the night before the wedding, that she was about to marry the wrong person. They had no idea that a beautiful house, and name brand everything meant nothing to her. All of this compounded such that at times she even carried the unspeakable, horrid thought she’d like to just run away from the overwhelming responsibility of the children.
And yet, if you see her in the park, at the symphony, or on the job, none of this is even remotely clear.
What has us stay in situations which are causing our soul to shrivel even to a last gasp? Fear of judgement? Fear of the pain of transition? Fear of, how uncomfortable will I be? Can I live without this lifestyle, and these comforts? What will people think, and will I be able to live with myself?
Only when the pain of staying where we are becomes greater than the pain of the unknown, will we make a change. And why must we wait until we are pushed into change by no choice of our own, possibly due to tragedy or catastrophe? The truth is, should Olivia be fired from her job she would freak out and panic, but then would adjust and work elsewhere because she is capable. If her husband divorced her, she would grieve and hate it, but eventually move on. The loss of the ‘lifestyle’ would initially be painful, but then the realization would set in that many of those comforts aren’t really the things she wanted to be about anyway.
Another truth is, it may not really be working for those closest to her. By Olivia living in this constant state that is contrary to her values and passions, she is emitting an energy that is rattling the souls of others. And if those changes were actually to be made, those around her may breathe a sigh of knowing relief.
Living an inauthentic life can be a soul stealer, and permeates those around you.
What if we proactively got clear about what we wanted in our life, took some risks, and made some changes? It takes a moment of deep commitment. A moment of waking up from our sleep walking, and realizing it doesn’t have to be this way. We can be at choice. A moment of resolve and determination. Of waking up.
For Olivia it may be, “I will not live with this pit in my stomach ever again, not ever again, this can no longer stand.” Are there places in your life that can no longer stand?