There's Something Broken But It's Not You

I spend a lot of time thinking about our culture, and it’s a topic I bring up almost every week in my blog and courses in some form. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how terribly sad and actually tragic it is that culture should support its members into becoming more of who they are, but we, in Western culture, suffer under a mainstream mindset that undermines the realization of our full development.

For us, culture is a force we have to fight against instead of a net into which we can lean. No wonder so many people suffer from anxiety, depression, insomnia, intrusive thoughts, and addictions. Humans are not meant to figure out life alone, and we’re certainly not meant to have to break through the myths and unrealistic expectations we’ve been fed from a young age simply to have healthy relationships and make loving choices for ourselves.

It might sound reductionistic, but a great deal of what motivates our culture is greed. Simply said, we’re sold on consumerism from an early age, sending the message that happiness can be attained through the right clothes, makeup, jewelry, car, etc. Our culture – which largely means the media – isn’t interested in growing healthy humans as much as it’s interested in growing corporate bank accounts, and the way it does this is by inundating you with the message that you’re not enough.

You’ve received thousands of messages through the media designed to make you believe that you’re not enough so that you will buy something that will make you feel better about yourself. You don’t have the right clothes, partner, hair, skin, body, amount of money, house, car, friends, family, lifestyle, life choices. Everything about you is wrong, and if not everything, then several things.

This is a very, very sick message.

Deep down some part of you knows that “things” don’t bring happiness, but those old messages are etched deeply into the formative pathways of psyche, grabbing young people fresh out the shoot and intentionally creating a society informed by longing for an unattainable ideal. Keep selling, keep buying, keep climbing, keep seeking and maybe one day you’ll arrive at that golden palace of happiness.

The Search for Perfection is Big Business

To bring this down to a specific industry, when I first starting researching the wedding transition twenty years ago it became immediately clear that selling brides on an expectation of perfection is much more lucrative than guiding them through the underbelly of the engagement so that they can arrive at their wedding day feeling clear and present. The pursuit of perfection is more profitable than the pursuit of consciousness because if you believe that perfection can be attained by buying the “right” dress, flowers, venue, food, et cetera ad nauseam  you will keep spending and spending toward this aim. The wedding industry is a $55 billion dollar industry. It’s big business.

Consciousness is not big business. Teaching people that fear, grief, and loneliness are natural, expected, and essential aspects of a transition where you’re letting go of an entire identity and lifestyle before you leap over a cavernous threshold with only your faith as a parachute simply doesn’t sell. Yet this is exactly what the culture should be teaching. Where are the structures and elders that could help us navigate life’s most difficult crossings? Where are our time-honored rituals that help us make these treacherous leaps? They’ve been erased by a consumerist, capitalist mindset. And, as a result, we all suffer.

We know there’s something wrong. Humans are animals and our souls – the part of us that is connected to our very wise unconscious bodily realm – know that the way we’re being raised is broken, which is why so many people suffer. The rampant symptoms of anxiety are symptomatic of a culture that not only doesn’t help you grow but is working against you.

Is There Any Hope?

As depressing as all of this might sound, there is tremendous hope! I don’t believe that any of this is an accident. Rather, in some mysterious way that we can’t quite understand this is all in service of the evolution of consciousness for the human race. Just like the propensity toward distraction is an invitation to grow presence, so the grossly vulgar and overt focus on externals and consumption is pushing a new mindset to the surface, one based on simplicity and sustainability. The old ways have to die in order for a new paradigm to be born, and we are witnessing the dying of the old ways.

Sadly, every human alive today is caught in the cross-fire of this transition, and we’re seeing the suffering that arises from it. But we’re also witnessing what happens when we name and expose the lies that we’re fed, as many of you have experienced first-hand through your inner work. And a consciousness that arises through the exposing of a life carries a greater light than an unconscious awareness. It reminds of the psychological parable that Robert Johnson shares in his book Between Heaven and Earth:

 Children come into the world with that sense of celebration and delight in the awesomeness of life. Then we eat of that wonderful, terrible fruit depicted in the story of the Garden of Eden, and our lives become divided. In childhood we have innocent wholeness, which then is transformed into informed separateness. If one is lucky, a second transformation occurs later in life, a transformation into informed wholeness. A proverb puts it this way: in life our task is to go from unconscious perfection to conscious imperfection and then to conscious perfection.

Johnson is describing the evolution of a single human life, but I think he’s also describing the evolution of consciousness as a species. We’ve been in unconscious perfection for a long time, and now we’re shifting into conscious imperfection. As we continue to evolve, we will arrive at conscious perfection (and this isn’t the perfection that the culture sells as it has nothing to do with accomplishments, accolades, or income).

So perhaps in some strange, convoluted way our culture is helping us grow into higher versions of ourselves after all. By pushing against the dysfunction of the system, we are given an opportunity to shed the innocence of childhood and evolve through the conscious imperfection into conscious perfection. And this isn’t a linear, one-time event: we’re constantly cycling through innocent wholeness, struggle, and growth, following an upward spiral toward consciousness.

How Have You Grown Through the Pain?

Every week in my work I hear expressions of gratitude for the struggle: “I’m so glad I endured the hell of relationship anxiety because now I not only know what real love is but I’ve grown in ways I couldn’t even have imagined before I feel into darkness.” How have your tumbles into darkness helped you evolve your consciousness? It’s difficult – if not impossible – to see it in the moment of suffering, but when you look back across the course of your life, and especially in your recent struggles, how have you grown through the pain?

37 comments to There’s Something Broken But It’s Not You

  • Hi Sheryl,

    Loved your post! It made me thoughtful about travelling. Every day I see some posts, photos and articles which I tend to interpret to myself like this: if I don’t travel right now, I’m waisting my life.
    Some people feel that if you don’t travel abroad 3-4 times each year, your life is not that great.
    While traveling is a great experience, to put too much energy, finances, time can make other areas of your life suffer..
    I still think about that – is it ok to enjoy your day to day life or am I just lazy,”settling”😄😄 Luckily with your work, with Byron Katie “The Work” I can always question my thoughts – is it true? 😃😃 And the world becomes cozy and safe again🌺🌺🌺

    • Beautiful, Maria! Yes, to questioning your thoughts and yes to questioning the current fads and expectations of the culture, one of which is certainly around traveling. There are many ways to live a fulfilling life, and traveling abroad does not need to be a part of it.

    • Samantha

      Maria,

      I too suffer from “eat, pray, love syndrome.” I see people on social media (before I deleted them) always traveling the world, studying abroad, etc as single people before “settling down.” I have intrusive thoughts like “You are wasting your life… you haven’t traveled on your own yet? You can’t ‘find’ yourself unless you backpack through Europe and do yoga in India!” (lol! Have to laugh at intrusive thoughts sometimes…)

      While traveling is a great experience, I don’t think we should use it as a vehicle to “find ourselves” as the culture loves to put it. In other words, when I am in this intrusive thought, I ask myself, “Do you actually want to travel to (Spain, Germany, etc) or do you want to ‘find’ yourself?” The answer is always the latter. “I” am not in Europe, “I” am right here!

      Also…if traveling/studying abroad alone was a prerequisite for marriage (or a successful relationship) there would be a lot more divorces I think 🙂

  • Kathleen

    I am a Conscious Weddings ecourse grad, class of 2013 and felt I have to comment on this post in case it helps someone else. I was in the depths of really hellish anxiety prior to getting engaged to my now husband of almost 6 years. For months as I went through the course, I fought against the norms of or culture on a daily basis to get to the truth that the choice that I was making to get married was a good one. I had to learn to trust myself, I had to learn what it meant to find a good partner, I had to dissolve my experiences of infatuation, I had to fight against the messages about what a perfect wedding day should be. I wish so much that just for a moment I could have given that terrified girl a snapshot of what my life looks like now, so she would know it would all be ok. Often when I look at my two beautiful children, I think that most of the work I did back then was to ensure their place in my future, and I didn’t even know it. I had to be so brave and it was so painful, but it brought me to them and to the good marriage that I have. When someone I know gets engaged, I try to steer them away from all the “shoulds” of society with regard to the lead up to the wedding day. There is so much pressure, and none of it contributes to the fruit of your daily life after the wedding, and the important moments you will experience later. So my message is to keep working, if you are where I was. It is so worth it. You don’t know how fruitful the seeds you are sowing will be. I honestly would not have the life I do now if I had not committed to this healthy work. And I truly believe it helps me to be a better spouse, mother and member of society. My job now is to continue to challenge the norms and to make sure my children can do the same.
    .

    • Bec

      Thank you so much for your post. I am currently where you “were.” Your post was very encouraging and gave me hope!

    • What a compassionate and generous comment, Kathleen. Thank you so much for sharing, and yes, the work we do during what can be excruciating transitions unfolds into a life more fulfilling than we could ever imagine.

    • Rochelle

      Thank you so much for sharing Kathleen!! This has brought me to tears! Congratulations on all the work you’ve done 🙂

    • CT

      I just wanna thank you ! Thank you so much for coming back to share your story! It truly just means a lot.
      And also can i just congratulating you gor doing the hard work and now enjoying your own fruit of hard work!!!
      All the best !!

      CT

    • DB

      Kathleen, thank you so much for your post. I am currently where you were, and am in the midst of doing “the work”. I have always had so much difficutly going through transitions througout my entire life, and my parents were not there to guide me through or show me the way. I didn’t have wise elders in my life either, to teach me and guide me, but somehow I always managed… until I got engaged. My engagement and its resulting anixety shook me to my core as it was the biggest transition I had ever gone through and I was the farthest thing from being prepared for it. Here I was in my early thirties without the tools to handle this huge shift, and struggling to understand what it was to be an adult never mind a wife. Only now am I starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that this experience is a necessary part of my growth. So nice to know I’m not alone and I’m grateful every day for the technology that allows us to find the guides we have been looking for.

  • Thank you for the clear articulation of the impact culture, all cultures, play on the individual psyche. Understanding this perspective is a cornerstone of my work with intergenerational and elder populations. Global culture is recognizing ways to commodify every aspect of the aging process and this is undermining the value of elder wisdom and the support rather burden they can bring to younger generations. And,not incidentally, continuing to be productive contributing citizens.

    I’ve struggled mightily in my own life, with physical trauma, with anxiety and with finding my own true voice. Raising my voice for conscious living is selectively received but it is valued by those open to receiving it. Writing has proved for me not only therapeutic but liberating. What a big leap it felt to publish a co authored blog, theparsleyway.com. Perhaps not so surprisingly writing for it allowed me to grow stronger and less anxious in all my relationships and refine my goals for the next phase of my life. Shortly I will be moving on to new website, and refine my outreach in new ways, as I grow into Johnson’s informed wholeness. Again Many thanks Sheryl, Claire

    • Beautifully said, Claire, especially the piece about commodifying the aging process. Kudos to you for shedding light on this essential area, and for bringing your voice to the conscious blogging conversation. x

  • DeeQ

    Hi Sheryl,
    Spot on once again, and written concisely and eloquently.
    I’m now through my current dark realm, and it has absolutely made me grow and accept who I am and most importantly thankful for who I am.The inner peace it has brought me is immeasurable.
    Thank you for your work, it has been life changing for me and it has indeed made me more conscious.

  • katers

    Thank you Sheryl, this was so important for me to ready today. Lately I’ve been having older friends and colleagues (in their 50s-60s) talk to me about their “struggling” children in their 20s. They ask how I “got it together” while their adult children can’t (I’m in my 30s). It deeply upsets me because I’m FAR from ‘together’ and I feel like they aren’t making an effort to really understand their children’s needs. I probably went through the exact phases as their children in my 20s. Except my parents never felt they had to fix me or something. They didn’t nag me, force me to do anything or compare me to their friends’ successful kids, which if they did would have worsened my already low self-esteem. They were most helpful in proof-reading my resumes, cover letters, and rehearsing job interviews so that I found a job that helped me leave the nest and give me space. But I battled feeling conflicted over not wanting to “grow up” with my desire to be an “adult” throughout most of my 20s. I cried so much about no longer being a kid cared for by my parents! To add to that, I also cried and freaked out about my romantic relationships, work/career, friendships growing apart and other tough transitions. I go through similar worries, anxieties, and intrusive thoughts as I did in my 20s, but I’ve learned with time and inner work (I’ve been reading your site since I got engaged and took Trust Yourself) how to navigate legitimate red-flags vs suppressed fears/insecurities/grief bubbling up. Since my first mental breakdown when I was 25 (long story) I invested a lot of money and time on counseling and healing my mental wellbeing and I STILL feel far from perfect, but at least I’m OK and trust myself way more than I did a decade ago. I just feel disappointed in hearing my older friends negatively judging their children on what I feel is a very normal growing up phase.

    • You’ve done so much work on yourself, and that’s probably what their older friends and colleagues are seeing and responding to. If you feel comfortable sharing exactly what you shared here, you would be offering them a tremendous gift.

  • HopefulForHope

    I know that I have grown, the majority due to finding your work, but I still don’t feel all that removed from the thick of my pain and I can’t wait for that day. Just this week I was talking to a friend and she reminded me of how much I have grown since the very beginning of when my relationship anxiety began. She reminded me that I have learned about real love… actually getting to know someone and growing in love with that person and their kindness and gentleness and goodness… and how I realized that everything I had believed up until the age of 27 when I began dating my first boyfriend/now husband was all built on fantasy and infatuation. I so badly wish that at the time of my struggle I had someone to tell me that it’s ok to not be sure of what love is/if I wanted to marry him. I had so many intrusive thoughts of trying to figure it out based on the belief that “I should JUST KNOW.” It was so painful and hard for me because I felt so unsure and would look for answers in every interaction. I longed for the wisdom of someone older/wiser helping me through it. I believed something was wrong with the relationship (despite the beauty and friendship and specialness) all because I had consuming anxiety that I thought meant was a clear sign that it was all wrong… while also having intrusive thoughts of a previous crush I knew nothing about but who I was totally infatuated before starting to date my husband.

    My husband and I just went to the spot where he asked me to be his girlfriend and I got caught up in a moment of doubt when I thought of how painful it was back then for me because I wasn’t certain I wanted to be with him… I more so just said yes because “why not give it a shot?! He is such a wonderful man…” I cried to him for a moment saying how sad I was that so many of my early memories with him are full of sadness when i think of how painful it was for me that I was so “unsure.” And this is one reason why I love my husband… He said something like “I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m so glad with the way our story turned out and that I had to show you how much I cared and you grew to love me and it wasn’t based off an infatuation…” On the car ride home he also told me how maybe with our daughter (due the end of March) will be in a similar situation one day and I will be able to share with her my experience of growing in love with her dad…
    I know I have grown and learned so much but I still get caught up when I hear certain things or watch certain movies and I wish that weren’t the case… I wish to be so far removed from that pain and so confident but I’m sure it will take more time.

    • What’s so interesting about your comment is that the growth is evident, yet because there’s still pain it sounds like it’s hard for you to take in the growth. It’s okay that you still get caught in projections; we call get caught from time to time! What matters is that you now have the accurate information and have done the hard work through the Break Free course that will allow you to reel in those projections so that you can keep showing up for real love. Remember: there is no finish line when it comes to inner work. We heal in layers and spirals, shrinking fear and growing love with each descent.

    • NicoleD

      Thanks for writing this post! I currently am in the midst of finding my way through relationship anxiety and I believe the majority of it is due the belief “you should just know.” Similar to your experience, my past relationships and beliefs were all based on infatuation and fantasy. My past two boyfriends were completely based off infatuation and physical attraction, where as my current boyfriend was the “let’s see where things go.” I think a part of me feels guilty or sad that we didn’t have the lust stage of a relationship, but on a positive note we have slowly grown together. Reading your post reminded me that I need to maybe stop and think about how much my relationship has grown, and how my anxiety isn’t consuming me as much as it used to.

      • I’m glad the post was helpful, Nicole, and it sounds like the Break Free course is helping you dismantle the myths and unrealistic expectations about love and relationships that we all carry so that you can embrace real love. It’s all a work-in-progress but it sounds like you’re learning and your relationship is growing, which is what it’s all about.

  • Anne Marie

    Sheryl, I have a more general question. Is it “normal” when going through transitions to be stuck in the liminal zone for what seems like too long?

    I’m 25, and undergoing a lot of transitions at once. I graduated college in the spring, moved out of my parents’ house, in with my fiance for the first time, all while moving out of state after living in the same city all my life. It’s been a lot at once.

    I feel a pervasive emptiness and sadness that hasn’t quite lifted since the move. I cry almost daily. I moved 4 months ago and haven’t yet established a social group, which is part of the problem. I feel a bit lost, dissatisfied, and disappointed with life in general, which I’ve in turn projected onto my fiance. Does the transitioning process take this long? Maybe it has been because so much changed at once…

    • One of the great myths or misconceptions in our culture is that grief should be fast. We simply have no tolerance for the fact that change and the accompanying grieving process has its own timetable. So YES, transitions can take a long time, and four months isn’t very long at all. Not to mention that the decade of the 20s is one long transition, for all the reasons you’ve shared above. If you haven’t done so already, please listen to my niece’s podcast. It will put a lot of this into perspective for you:

      https://conscious-transitions.com/wisdom-from-my-niece/

  • Sara

    This was such a beautiful post, Sheryl. My boyfriend and I were just talking about this and how we really live in an escape culture. That most people believe if only they had XYZ they would be happier and when their life doesn’t go that way, if they don’t have love for themselves, they end up going down a sad trajectory usually either searching for the happiness in another external form or just giving up completely. I know I have struggled with that and am becoming more grateful for my anxiety pointing me to do this work.

    As you have challenged me to drop into my heart I can see how my heart is cracking open. Its the craziest thing! Lets be honest that it hasn’t come with out a lot of tears and anxiety for quite some time. I’ve spent the past couple of months just working through the resistance because truthfully its scary to dig in and see whats there. Tonight tho I felt like I found some gold. As I dropped into the sadness and fear of being scared to play and let my boyfriend be close to me, I also felt the pain of just how much I love him and how he’s really the only man I’ve ever imagined my life with. And with that comes learning to trust, vulnerability, and learning to love someone else with all their quirks and foibles. I’ve dated other guys who were wonderful men and the anxiety still existed, but I never could fully see the future with them, so there wasn’t as much on the line. Now the pain, fear, and irritation are boiling to the surface and all they have screamed is “run!” But as I discovered tonight, getting underneath them is so worth it. When I talked with my bf tonight I felt so much more peace to just be and enjoy him. Even when the fear or potential irritation could come up, it was little and I was able to move past it with much more ease. Theres still more work to be done for the anxiety to become more manageable and for me to learn all the tools I need, but I’m having more faith i’ll get there.

  • Amanda Aragon

    My new boyfriend and I have been on the brink of breaking up these past couple of weeks because of my relationship anxiety. I’m a believer, so I believe that the Holy Spirit guides us. In church we are constantly taught that the Holy Spirit prompts us and nudges at our heart. I hear many times if you don’t “have peace,” don’t do it. My problem is that I get scared that God doesn’t want me to be in this relationship because I “don’t have peace.” I have relationship anxiety. And it ‘s hard for me to know if I’m truly being led by the Spirit or by my own fleshy desires. My boyfriend is truly a great guy he’s a little rough around the edges and hasn’t been in a relationship in 7 years but i know that he is a good guy. Yet, my fears and doubts, and the whole thing about being led by the Spirit makes me feel like maybe I’m getting this all wrong and there is something wrong and I’m afraid it highjacks my mind and then leads up to us having a conversation about our past and that leads to hurt. Another thing is I’m very attracted to him which I wasn’t with my other boyfriends in the past, but hes not big on conversation like my past boyfriends. However, he is very funny, and fun, and I feel like he can be himself around me, and that encourages me to also push past my shyness. But I’m afraid I can’t help but feel that doubt like something bad is going to happen, or he’s going to leave me..or he isn’t the right guy..etc. Etc. I really wish I could just enjoy this relationship and except him for who he is and be present with him. I love God I really do and I want to follow His will for my life, and be led by the Spirit, but How do i know what that means when I’m in a relationship? Most Christian dating video would tell me to pray about it and if I Peace go for it, but if I don’t stop. And I’ve been praying a lot.. and i have peace that I really want to be with him, but at the same time I don’t. This is just tough. And I can’t help but to think how society has made everything harder for everyone. All I can go back to is I need serious healing.

    • Sara

      Hi Amanda,

      Hope u read my comment below. I also wanted to say my boyfriend is similar in that he is a little rough around the edges and isn’t as chatty as other guys I’ve pursued previously. I say pursued cause I was the pursuer and they were the distancer. I also feel the same way in that I can just be my silly self with boyfriend and it pushes me to look past what everyone else thinks. Just know ur not alone in thinking that these things you are experiencing are only you. 🙂

  • Sara

    Hi Amanda,

    I wanted to give some input as I’m a Christian too and I know exactly what you’re talking about. Wondering why you don’t have “peace” but feel fear all the time if this is the right relationship for you. I have been told similar things by other believers and grew up in a church that talked about the Holy Spirit ruling you’re life. while i know there is truth there, I also have seen God answer prayers in my relationship in the midst of the anxiety I’ve experienced. In fact theres been too many to count at this point. When i’ve been stuck or wondered if this was right, I’ve asked God for help or said, “would you show me this in this relationship so we can move forward?” And each time he has. So as I learn to trust God I learn to trust myself too. That I can trust God to lead and help me. So just because there isn’t necessarily that peace that surpasses all understanding it doesnt mean that its not meant to be. Fear can cause alot of our thoughts to be distorted rather than seeing things through love.

    • YES to every word, Sara ;).

      And the clue in your comment that you’re suffering from relationship anxiety, Amanda, is this: “But I’m afraid I can’t help but feel that doubt like something bad is going to happen, or he’s going to leave me..or he isn’t the right guy..etc.” That’s your fear of loss right there. Fear distorts perception and is the opposite of peace.

      This article may also help:

      https://conscious-transitions.com/living-gods-will/

  • K

    I feel like my wife is a beautiful, unique person,but I don’t feel like I “love” her. We both hurt each other, have gone through a lot and we both feel exhausted by all that we have gone through. We both have grown by leaps and bounds. But now I’m starting to feel suffocated and also there’s some resentment there. I just feel so much grief, pain. Does our relationship still have hope? Sometimes I feel like I’ve “grown out of it”.

  • K

    There’s just so much sadness within, like almost feeling as though I’ve moved on and maybe the best thing to do for both of us is to leave. Maybe we’re not “meant to be”. It hurts very badly, all these thoughts. Could this be my truth? I feel resigned, hopeless and sad. Before I used to have intense anxiety, now it’s just sadness, pain. Is it a sign that this is indeed my truth?

  • K

    And I have intense guilt feelings of letting her down, hurting this person who believes me to be the centre of her world, who always loved me with all her heart. I always feel my love is not pure because it’s mixed with so much fear. She’s the most genuine person I have ever met, and yet why do I feel so much Ameer, resentment in our marriage. I used to have a beautiful vision for our marriage. Now even that vision is blurry and hazy.

  • Lovingkindness

    I have now reached a point that I can look back on the painful time on my life from losing a friendship I valued to being terribly anxious about my relationship and be incredibly thankful. I really do feel like they were gifts that brought much needed wisdom and learning. I am consistently able to touch difficult feelings in my life and understand where they originate. I can remind myself when I temporarily forget what true oatmeal love is. My good friend is currently going through some difficult times in her marriage to someone that is emotionally abusive and I’m becoming even more aware of more that I need to learn — which have nothing to do with her situation and all to do with my response to avoiding pain and wanting to control the outcome, for myself and for others.

    Sheryl, I am eternally grateful. I am over a year into my engagement and get married in October that a man I wasn’t sure was “right” for me because he isn’t my clone. Oh how little I knew! I know without discovering this site and other associates resources I would not be prepared to be the mostly-conscious (when are we ever done?) wife to the best man I could ask for and friend that I am now and am still becoming.

    Thank you.

    • This is so good to hear, Lovingkindness. I’ve watched you grow through several of my courses and on the blog, and I can hear a strength and fullness of Self that is allowing you to show up with your own wisdom and reassurance. Brava!

  • Chandana

    Thank you so much for this. There is so much truth in your post and comments shared- it lifts a load of heaviness off my chest right away. I think we’re all carrying the ‘Im not good enough’ baggage that tends to accumulate and gets heavy and when we dont take the courage (and responsibilty) to acknowledge and speak about it, we can slip into feeling extremely isolated and alienated. It is sad that there are’nt enough spaces or enough healthy communication in families and amongst friends to make it any easier for the brave person who wants to shed light on these issues that are deeply personal, on one hand, yet completely universal on the other. People are too afraid to confront these issues themselves, is what it seems like.. So they’d rather not listen or convince themselves that everything is okay. And most of the time the dialogue ends there. But how much more it could be with an open dialogue. It has been disheartening to realise, as I grow in my own awareness, to see that a lot of my childhood friends and immediate family function with this mindset and it has been a real challenge to stand my ground and say ‘no, I will not continue the same way’ on one hand and lovingly let go of these relationships on the other. They choose to stay where they are. Just as I choose to move on. It is also quite funny to realise that for someone in the US, wishing to go to europe and India might feel like the THING they ought to do urgently while for someone in India, going to the US or Australia might be the thing THEY ought to do- so noone is happy where they are , especially when ingesting all of the social media pics and posts..like the ‘eat pray love syndrome’ for a Westerner,mentioned in an earlier comment, universally it could simply be ‘the grass is always greener elsewhere’ syndrome. Constantly reminding ourselves that we have enough right where we are, along with ‘we are enough just the way we are’ is so, so important. Thank youfor making this conversation possible.

    • So much wisdom in your comment, Chandana. Thank you. Yes, we seem to be suffering from a worldwide “grass is always greener syndrome” which leads to the myth of “I’ll be happy when…” So much peace occurs when we recognize that there are no magic pills or instant fixes, and that well-being is only possible when we take full responsibility for our lives as they are.

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