My mantra when faced with discomfort much of my life has been Beam me up, Scotty! Being born into my particular family automatically put me on the PhD track at Denial University. So I got lots of early practice at simply ignoring reality or working overtime to make lemonade of lemons. I made so much lemonade I could’ve worked my way through college on the proceeds, if Life Sweetener were a sellable product.
Affirmations were my middle name for two decades. During the same time, I was a strong advocate of “prosperity consciousness,” forerunner of the Law of Attraction.
But what I noticed is that no matter how much I repeated my mantra: I’m beautiful and aligned with the powers of plenty, I kept forgetting. Or coming down in my own estimation again and again. Not with a bounce, but a splat.
Dang it. And each time it hurt worse than before because my transcendence had been premature. A whole lot of the bliss of gradual awakening was missing as I moved too quickly to be wise and spiritual.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m humbly grateful for my inheritance and for the practice playing the Glad Game. It has helped me recover from serious depression and, I’m told, served as an inspiration for many of the people I love. Going around the world with a cup half-full of gratefulness makes life worth living … in many ways.
But there has been a cost. I’ve missed important details. I’ve allowed myself to be manipulated and I’ve hurt myself and others because I’ve thought myself into a world I wanted to believe in, one that didn’t necessarily jive with reality. I’ve spent money and resources on the Eternal Spring of Hope and been disappointed and a little poorer.
Positive Thinking got me high faster, but ultimately I came down harder than ever because I was missing out on all of me. The crappy cake of harsh self-criticism was still there, no matter what the frosting.
My more deeply held beliefs didn’t match the reality outside …
Because I really didn’t trust reality straight-up, I made it pretty.
When my behavior or outsides didn’t cooperate with the eternal sunshine message, I felt worse.
Over time reality just kept showing me what I was missing, and I began to discover that meeting it with eyes wide open had a bigger pay-off than all the magical thinking I was so good at mustering. Now, more often than not, there’s a sense of spaciousness and freedom that comes from making peace with reality, rather than transcending it. There’s not much to come down from when I’m living in what’s true for me.
It might take more time to listen to what reality is showing me, but there’s not much that feels premature about that.
It just feels true, and that always feels good. And, when it comes, it’s right on time.