Hope can be a wonderful thing, but for many of us it has been a coping skill, not a living skill.
Hope is a feeling that a desire will be fulfilled someday. Hope can be good if you are just coming out of despair. Hope can be that motivating factor where you realize you really can have a beautiful, prosperous, joyful life. Hope can be a soaring, opening, wonderful feeling. It can bring you to life.
However, what you do with hope matters.
If you use it as a motivating factor, and then start doing what is necessary to move yourself to where you want to be and who you want to be, then hope has done its job.
However, if you “live in hope”, then you’ll never really live in joy.
Hope, of the unhelpful variety, is the feeling of “I hope this will work out” or “maybe this will solve my problems”. It’s quite different than “I love my life and feel so alive” or “I know that what I’m doing today will get me closer to where I want to go and that’s why I’m doing it”.
I noticed this about hope yesterday as I was looking at some paintings I had recently done. Many of my favorite ones are about hope. They have light shining down from above, or wings, images of flight. And as I looked at them a familiar sensation of wistful longing came over me. Familiar? Yes, I spent most of my childhood clinging to that. And I really did need hope then, as I was in a desparate situation. I needed to cope.
But what is also true is that I needed a lot of other things. Nurturing, support, warmth, to be heard, to feel loved. And those are things I can give myself now. As an adult, I don’t want to live in hope that someday my life will change and I will be happy. I want to actively bring those qualities into my life. I want to change my life myself, and be happy now.
The “When X Happens, Then I’ll Take Care of Myself” Game
- When I automate my businesses, then I’ll start going for walks in the morning.
- When I make more money, then I’ll go on a vacation.
- When thing calm down with my business, then I’ll start working on passive income.
- When I’m perfect, then I’ll be happy.
- When my business is perfect, then I’ll enjoy myself.
- When I get this huge list done, then I’ll relax.
- When I finish what I “have” to do, then I’ll do what makes my heart sing.
Look at all the ways your life would be different “if” you had the money and the time and the tiny to-do list and everything in your business was smooth and delegated and handled. Make a list. What is your ideal work lifestyle? For me, I would:
- take a walk every morning
- eat fruit for breakfast every morning
- spend much of my day reading and writing, not checking email
- spend lots of time each day on my own projects
- spend lots of time each day relaxing
- go on vacations where I leave the computer at home
Most of these I can implement now. They do not actually require waiting. They just require a shift of priorities.
The trick is to realize that your business really is not a crisis.
If you grew up in a family where it was one thing after another, you may be used to putting out fires, and living from fire to fire. And our culture encourages this 24/7 “on” kind of lifestyle. People are always saying “Oh, I’m so busy”. Why? It’s completely unhealthy and unnecessary. Your business will not grind to a halt if you put yourself first. Actually the opposite is true.
The more you take care of yourself the better your business will do.
Remember the airplane and the oxygen mask and how you’re supposed to put yours on first before helping others? It’s like that. If you want to show up in your business to the best of your abilities, you simply must give yourself rest, good food, movement, time outside, social time, relaxation, creativity nourishment, and a good nights sleep.
But more than that, if you ever truly want to be happy, you have to start practicing happiness now. You have to make your own joy a top priority. And you need to do it now, not “when I…”.
Be aware of the roadblocks and consciously face them.
Why don’t people change?
- Habit energy
- Negative beliefs
- Emotional stuff that is being suppressed by your crisis mentality or work addiction.
So for #1, make a conscious and clear decision to put yourself first. You are a Divine being and you need to be nurtured to express your full potential on this planet. You want to be vitally alive, and you can be. Stop settling for being half alive and change your habits. Put structures in place to help reinforce the changes and get support in keeping them.
#2 – If your habit is a belief, an agreement that you aren’t good enough, that you are constantly trying to live up to something – decide to change your mind. Reject inherited beliefs and choose new beliefs that you want.
For #3, this is about doing some emotional healing work. Stop running from your feelings and face them. Feel them. Let them move through you and release. Clearing stuck emotions is a gift you give yourself and there’s no better feeling than not having a tarpit of emotions deep inside you that have never been healed. Get help, get support.
Go for radical self-care and self-support.
Imagine giving yourself everything that helps you feel good and energized and happy each day. Imagine not putting off your life, your vitality, your enthusiasm and joie de vivre for money or accomplishments or your customer’s happiness. Make your own true happiness the #1 priority. Is that selfish? Only in the best way. When you are truly cared for and happy, you will be able to show up in the way you were meant to. That is the biggest gift you can give the planet and yourself.