Hidden in plain sight

This concept has come up twice for me today in various podcasts I’ve been listening to as I run errands and do chores around the house, so it feels like I need to write about it.

What are the things you know or sense about your life that you wish weren’t true? I’m talking about the things that hover just beneath the surface that you know if you actually confronted them you would have to do the really hard work of changing — changing your job, your relationship status, where you live, yourself.

I have been in relationships before that I knew were wrong, but I stayed in them long past their expiration dates because that was more comfortable than having the conversation, experiencing the emotional turmoil not only of myself but potentially the other person, and possibly changing residences, throwing a wrench in a friend group, and reconsidering something about my identity that I had always thought to be true.

I have worked in jobs that I knew were wrong for me because I was afraid to look for something else, a better fit. I was afraid to be seen as a quitter. I was afraid that I’d spent far too much money or time training for and working in the job. I was afraid that getting off that path would lead to confusion and regret if I couldn’t find stability again. I was afraid of losing prestige and status. I had bills to pay.

I have lived in places that I knew were wrong for me, but I was too tired to move, too nervous to consider where I really wanted to be. I didn’t think I deserved to ask for what I wanted.

And I have known before that I wasn’t living in integrity with myself. I had friends who I knew weren’t good for me. I acted in a way that seemed out of alignment with who I was at my core (though I couldn’t know for sure until I defined my values). I said things to fit in that I regretted saying later. I pretended to be someone a lot of the time so I wouldn’t have to face social death (which is a myth).

Living out of integrity with myself left me feeling exhausted, drained, and depleted at the end of the day. I always felt a nagging sense that things weren’t right somehow. Everything felt harder. I sort of dreaded most days. I thought it was normal to live with a constant, pervasive sense that life is a struggle and we just have to put our heads down and get through it.

Do you sense this disconnect in any area of your life? Is there some truth about you and your life that is hidden in plain sight that you try to ignore most days because actually facing it would mean some kind of massive overhaul and that’s just too damn hard and scary?

If you did change something and experienced pain and uncertainty for a temporary period, then came out the other side, what would your life be like? What would it feel like to live where you wanted to live, to work in a job that made you happy, to be in a relationship that sustained and supported you, to be yourself without fear?

Here, on the other side, it’s a lot better. In my experience, no amount of status, prestige, or certainty is worth as much as inner peace.

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