There’s a certain kind of pain that can come with being able to see what’s possible.
Ideals can be crippling.
Looking out into the future that holds the better version of your life may call you forward with exuberance, all frothing at the mouth with the potential of it all.
Or maybe it makes the present look bleak, the circumstances you’re in the fold of feel inadequate and what you currently have, pale in contrast to what you’re longing to hold.
I’ve heard so many people tell me that they can’t let themselves feel satisfaction for what they have, for fear that it’ll make them lazy or complacent, that I wonder if this kind of thinking may be an epidemic. Satisfaction isn’t settling. There are so many worthwhile reasons to move and act that blossom out of being deeply satisfied with how things are.
Finding satisfaction, even when you can see all of how things could be, is like rooting your feet comfortably in a supportive pair of runners and tying the laces before going for a jaunt.
Being satisfied with where you’re currently standing is foundational to having the freedom to move toward something you’re longing for. Otherwise, your actions are spurred from the impulse to move away from what sucks, or to fix or change your gripes. And gripes will always find you.
Moving toward what you want is for more fulfilling and productive than moving away from what you don’t want.
When you look into that bright future of ‘how things could or should be’, does it call you forward, into joyous and creative action? Or does the gap between where you are now and where you want to be send you into a spiral of self-recrimination, regret at what you’ve not yet done, or simply a bummer mood that what you’ve got just ain’t right?
When we use ideals or possibilities to make ourselves wrong, we abuse them, strip them of the gift they are. When we use them as a compass to direct our energy and attention, lovingly moving from a foundation of satisfaction, we get closer to them and can touch their reality, as though grabbing hold of the light of the future but without grasping for what dangles there as empty promises of perfection, threatening our wellbeing.
Loving where you are and loving where you’re going and loving the in-between is a path and a practice. It’s not easy one, but it’s certainly worthwhile.