“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find…you get what you need.” – Rolling Stones
If you are like me, you are scared of the word no. You don’t want to hear that you can’t do something or that feeling of rejection when something you want so badly is refused or worse, taken away. I looked at the word “no” like that for so many years. Then…something shifted.
I use to be petrified of failing, I am a people pleaser after all and any mistake, misstep, or rejection could leave me reeling for days or even years (yep!). I would say yes to almost anything for fear of disappointing someone or “missing a chance.” I don’t recommend this type of existence. This type of existence bites the big one and means that you get yourself into situations where you are overloaded, overwhelmed and overstressed. I lived like that for a long time and I knew I wasn’t happy and in my mind I failed A LOT. I turned down projects that then went on to be huge successes, I hurt amazing, loving and incredible people by staying in relationships too long, I got into really bad relationships and refused to let go even though I knew I should, I tried to prove my worth by being the “good girl” and then would disappoint in spite of doing all I could NOT TO disappoint. At the time, I thought all of these situations meant that I was failing and falling and making the wrong decisions but now I see all of these “roads not taken” as the ones that led me here to a life that I am totally in love with (and falling more in love with everyday). I had to feel what DIDN’T work for me to find out what makes me soar. I had to experience that loss, that sadness, that regret and that guilt to realize how I don’t want to feel. Which makes my current state of joy that much more satisfying. I had no idea that the things that didn’t work out would push me on a path that lead me away from home to a big, amazing city (where I tried on many different hats) and then to Mobile, AL where I am the happiest I have ever been. Who knew?? Who freaking knew? Not me.
In closing, I share my own profound “Elizabeth Gilbert Eat, Pray, Love experience. If you know the book maybe you will recognize it, if you haven’t read the book then read it and get back to me. 🙂 I had just made one of the most difficult decisions of my life and had to have a really hard talk with someone that I loved very much. The conversation abruptly ended and I wanted so badly to run after him, to say that I had made a mistake and that I was sorry. This would have been the “comfortable” thing for me to do and this decision would have taken me down a very specific path. A loud and VERY clear voice inside me said “stay, just stay right here…this is for YOUR future self …and his greater good.” That phrase kept repeating in my head until I cried myself to sleep. I knew that the satisfaction I would feel to ease the pain in the moment would be detrimental to all that I was working on for my future and that my future self was speaking to me. It was incredibly difficult but it was a pivotal moment in my growth and I share that with the hope that someone else may need to hear those words too.
My life is fuller and richer because of the “no’s” that I have experienced and the things that didn’t work out. Now, whenever I feel regret or a case of the “should haves”, I look at my life and know that it looks exactly as I always dreamed it would…and it’s only getting better!
Featured image via Pinterest (artist unknown)