Have you ever wanted something so much that you'd do nearly anything to get it and make it happen? Only to find that once you did get it, it wasn't what you expected?
As humans we're hard-wired to strive. We see something different from what we currently have and it looks good. We want it. Or we're not content with our current situation, be it with our jobs, relationships, where we live, and we look for ways to change it. Make it better. Make ourselves happier. While it's good to strive to be better, when it comes to "making" things happen, pushing it is often a bad idea.
Back in 2008 I was tired of working as a substitute teacher and felt I was ready for my first job as an educational interpreter. I had received my degree in American Sign Language. I obtained real-life experience working at the Deaf School. I was ready! Then, seemingly miraculously, I received a call about a job opening. This was the middle of the school year, mind you, so job openings were rare. I was ecstatic! Apparently a colleague had recommended me to this particular school organization and they called. I went for my interview and it went well. I waited days, if not weeks, to get a call to find out of I got the job or not. It was nerve-racking, to say the least. Then finally it came. I was hired! I had my first job working as an American Sign Language interpreter! I felt like I had made it. The next step was where would I be working? At which school? Elementary? High school? With which student? Deaf students who attend mainstream schools vary widely in the communication method they use, language style, background, etc. Having worked so much, not all that happily, in elementary, I was praying for a placement with a high school student. The wait to find out which student I was placed with was even longer and more arduous than the wait to find out if I was hired in the first place. In fact, I had to call them multiple times, as the second semester, and my start date, was rapidly approaching. I found out that they wanted to put me with an elementary student. I was bummed. It was not what I wanted. So I spoke up. I asked, respectfully, if I could work in high school. In other words, I pushed for what I wanted. And I got it. They agreed to place me with a high school boy. Again, I couldn't be happier. But then guess what happened? As the semester waned on, issues arose. I won't go into them here, but by mid-semester, I began wishing I had kept my mouth shut and just accepted the elementary placement. Lesson learned. Fortunately the following school year they adjusted their staff of interpreters and I was placed with a different student, one I was a much better match with.
To give another example of how I pushed my way to unhappiness and anxiety, let me share my story of my latest foster dog. I have been fostering dogs for my local humane society for over a year now. I love it. Most of the time anyway. And most of the time I sit back and allow the staff at the humane society to decide which dog they believe will work best in my household (with my 3 other dogs and 3 cats). Nearly every match has been a good one. I bet you can guess which ones haven't. Yep! The ones I pushed for. Case in point, the last dog I actively sought out and pleaded to be allowed to foster. I knew him from the shelter and believed him to be a sweet, mellow, older guy. Which he was. Except that he didn't like one of my dogs. It got so bad that I couldn't so much as touch my dog without the foster dog literally attacking him. I was right there, so none of the attacks led to any blood shed, luckily. But as the days went by, I saw my own dog get more and more anxious and unhappy, and myself as well. I ended up taking the foster dog back, apologizing that it just wasn't working out in my home, and I will try another dog (of their choosing) next time.
I typically think I know best. I know what I want. I know what will work for me, or not. I know, I know, I know. But I don't. Not on the surface anyway. Probably on a sub-conscious level, I know my pushing isn't the right thing to do. But I push anyway because I egotistically believe I know best. Ha! Sometimes we all need to sit back, step back, and let things happen naturally. That's not to say we shouldn't seek out experiences or things that we desire. But when we find ourselves pushing, forcing the matter, that is when it's time to stop. If you get really still and quiet in those moments when you find yourself pushing, I bet you'll hear that little voice, or get a feeling in your gut, that this is not good. I need to stop. I know I've felt that feeling. That's why I know I'm pushing, because it starts to feel like a strain. I start to feel anxious, as if all my hopes are pinned on this one, very particular thing happening just the way I want it to happen.
Let me share something with you. The Universe has our backs. It'll all work out. Everything plays to our favor. Everything. It's ok to not know how things will work out. Or even if they'll work out. I've seen this time and time again in my life as well as those around me. You may feel like you'll never get a job. You'll never meet that special person to build a life with. You'll never get that house you want. But then it happens. You get the call. You cross paths with someone amazing. You actually close on your new home. The key is not to force the issue. When you force something, even if you believe it to be a good thing, more often than not you'll end up disappointed and wondering what went wrong. If someting has to be forced it's because it's not meant to happen. Yet. The time is not right for you, for whatever reason. Trust that. Keep the dream in your heart and it will come true and it will be amazing. Let the Universe work for you. It already is.
Quote of the Day:
"Of course you don't know 'how.' It's ok that you don't know 'how.' To be honest, you're not really supposed to know 'how,' because it's when you don't know, that you're pressed hardest to learn that [the Universe does]; to see that the hows are the domain of the Universe and that your job is only to define the end result and get busy." (modified from tut.com)