I recently came out of a fog.
Part of what was affecting me was a career move that perhaps was not right for me.
Now, I am extremely glad that I had the experience because it taught me a whole lot about who I am (and, perhaps more importantly, who I am not).
But I knew at one point that I needed to leave my job. I saw a trusted and respected teacher just days before I left and she advised me to make sure that when I finally made my decision and made this official that I was doing so with a healthy perspective.
I am a single mother.
This was an extremely well-paying position.
But it was taking away all my creative energy; I was practically in survival mode every day, and the position was taking its toll on my ability to be an adequate mother, friend and writer. It was also impinging on my capacity to take care of myself.
I was not able to both live this way and to be compassionate with myself—let alone others who I love dearly.
Here’s my takeaway:
Before I had seen my teacher, I likely would have put my notice in with the company and then scrambled to find something else, afraid that things were not going to work out.
I would have left my job and then been able to focus on nothing but the false sense of a gaping hole in my world.
So I had an extremely important decision to make—and this decision is one that we all make in every single moment of our lives, whether we are conscious of it or not.
I had to decide between seeing this situation through the lens of fear and lack or through the lens of joy and opportunity.
There are only these two lenses.
There is nothing else.
So instead of taking the leap from my job and panicking because I told myself that I had no safety net, I decided to turn away from what was not working for me to see the opportunity that awaited.
And there was so much opportunity.
I have another friend who is going through some turmoil with her ex-husband. She was talking about how the next 4-6 months are going to be so difficult, and while she may be right I reminded her that she does not know this yet. She is looking at her world through that lens of fear and lack—she is afraid of her future, but she truly does not know what is to come.
We never know what is to come, and even if we are fairly certain about certain implications, if we are seeing one portion of our world through the lens of fear and lack, we will begin to see everything this way.
The lens of fear and lack makes everything murky.
It makes our world dull, and it can truly take away from the vibrant colors of all that surrounds us.
When we are seeing through the lens of fear, we are living in fear. When we live in fear, we are always thinking, speaking and acting out of some degree of self-protection or self-preservation.
With this lens, we walk through our world with our heads somewhat down and our hearts somewhat closed.
It does not have to be this way.
If we are in a relationship that is toxic, we fear letting go of something that deep down we don’t need. We fear loss. We mourn perhaps a future even that has not taken place—and perhaps likely never will. We feel that we will be in the place of lack without this person, but I submit to you that this is not true.
None of us are ever lacking anything, and it is our attempting to make ourselves whole via relationships that is at the root of most codependency problems.
To look through the lens of joy and opportunity means to bring color back to our world.
By doing this, we are allowing ourselves to see what is there, and therefore put ourselves in a state where we have an increased capacity to receive.
When I left my company, I did so with gratitude. I drove there that morning to talk to who I needed to speak with and while I did so I practically shed tears of joy because I was so grateful for the experience.
I truly was.
We can make adjustments in our lives—especially regarding relationships with just this: Gratitude. Because gratitude displaces fear. Always. They can not coexist at the same time. If we are having a difficult time switching this lens, I suggest digging deep and turning to gratitude. See and feel joy for what you have—not for what you lack. If this is too difficult, we can always just be thankful that it is not worse.
My friend who is experiencing challenges with her ex-husband has so much for which to be grateful. She has decided to be intentional about creating opportunity during this time by taking some classes, spending extra quality time with her son and pursuing other hobbies.
After seeing the fear that was beginning to kick within her, she made the adjustment to her lens.
We have the ability to flip everything in any moment.
Instead of thinking, “I have to”, we can choose to think “I get to.”
We get to do all of this.
We can choose joy and opportunity. We can look up and open up our hearts and our minds to all that is there—when we choose to see it.
Author: Katie Vessel
Editor: Caroline Beaton