In the summer of 2014 my sister and I were sitting down for lunch and I was telling her about my relationship with an emotionally unavailable guy that I had found myself drawn to.
My sister listened to me and let me express my thoughts and emotions as I dined on my vegetarian fajita and she on her Mexican desert.
You have to understand that my sister isn’t blunt, harsh or careless with her words like I am. No she chooses her words on purpose.
In that way she is very much my opposite.
She is one of few words and has a brilliant way of telling people the truth about themselves in a soft clear tone that if you aren’t ready for the truth you won’t quite hear the weight of what she says and skip right over it as casual conversation.
My sister has a philosophy on truth that I most certainly subscribe to.
She says that when you speak to people and you plant a kernel of truth in them it isn’t your job to make sure it grows – it’s theirs. She helped me to realize that if someone doesn’t receive the truth from you to never take offense because your purpose has been done by speaking the truth. What a person chooses to do with the truth is entirely up to them.
So my sister predetermined that she would not take it personally as to whether I would agree with the truth bomb she was about to drop allowed me to sip on my unsweetened tea and go on and on about how I really cared for a person who so clearly didn’t care about me, before she ever so gently told me my truth.
I remember exactly when she dropped the kernel of truth in the fertile soil of my mind. It was right after the waitress came to check on us that my sister looked at me and gently let me know a truth so powerful that I have never forgotten it.
“Renata, you are obsessing over this relationship on purpose because you don’t want to deal with the fact that your career is not where you want it to be.”
That was a heavy thing to say.
But she said it so politely I took no offense.
I remember retorting something along the lines of “yeah…that could be true”. And then immediately proceeding to tell her all about my one sided relationship.
Thank goodness for a big sister with patience.
The thing is I absolutely heard her. And I knew she was a million percent correct. I just didn’t consciously know how to act upon what she said.
I wasn’t ready to focus on the fact that my professional life wasn’t where I wanted it to be.
I mean in the spirit of avoidance – why on earth would I do that when I could easily go about chasing rainbows that clearly didn’t want to be caught.
You see I could get my professional life back on track because I alone am responsible for that.
But I can’t change another person.
On both a conscious and subconscious level I knew full well that you cannot get a genuine relationship from an emotionally unavailable person but I was dead set on expending my energy on that as opposed to purposely utilizing my energy towards getting my career back on track.
That’s because I can blame someone else for being who they are but I didn’t want to take responsibility for who I am or where I am at. I wanted things to fall in my lap out of sheer emotional laziness.
I simply didn’t want to do the work of dealing with facing accountability for what I do have control over.
She and I had that conversation about 18 months ago and I can assure you that I heard her. I even understood her. I just wasn’t at a place emotionally where I was ready to purposely act upon what she was saying.
It wasn’t until I purposely decided to stop dating and put my relationship with myself first that I really looked around my apartment and thought –
Woah not only is my life is a mess but so is my apartment!
I now have nothing to distract me from the fact that things are most certainly out of order.
For one I don’t have dating to distract me and I have also decided that diving into a bag of potato chips due to emotional eating isn’t going to cut it so without those distractors there is nothing to do but focus!
I am currently facing the thing I didn’t want to 18 months ago.
Imagine it, there I was staring at my apartment and accepting that it was as disorganized as my thoughts.
So I grabbed a large trash bag and started throwing things away.
I realized that I have been holding on to things I don’t need out of fear that one day I might need them.
I am not a hoarder or anything of that magnitude nor would anyone walk in my house and feel the need to call child protective services but things definitely were not show room ready.
I needed to do a deep cleaning.
There were the surface things that needed to be tended to like the kids handprints on the stainless steel refrigerator.
Yeah that was easy to take care of, but for some reason it had been neglected nonetheless.
In the same sense that it was easy for me to give a little bit more attention to my body after I bathed by using that lotion that I had been skipping over because I was in too much of a hurry to get to work. For some how I had gotten away from pampering my body.
It’s as easy to wipe off handprints as it easy to take a few extra minutes to do my beauty regimine and yet I had neglected both.
And then while doing laundry it occured to me that some of my towels had several holes in them. Sure I could use them for spills or to clean with but the amount of towels I was coming across with holes was ridiculous.
So I threw them out.
I didn’t need them any more. Just like I don’t need relationships that deplete me and leave me feeling empty.
I looked on the dining room table and saw unclipped coupons that had expired. Mostly for things I don’t even buy.
And so I threw them out.
I threw them out the same way I am throwing out my desire to attach myself to things that don’t serve me but instead take up space for they too have reached their expiration date.
I went in my kitchen to clean out the cabinets and I found things I don’t need like a lid from 2003 for a glass dish that broke. Back then I thought maybe one day I might buy another container and the lid just might fit.
Yeah well it’s been 13 years and she ain’t found a partner yet so in the trash she went.
It felt good cleaning out the cobwebs.
I got a broom and cleaned out some cobwebs I saw in my hall closet.
As I cleaned I realized that somewhere along the line I had abandoned me.
18 months later my career is still not where I want it and my finances are worse today then they were when my sister told me to focus.
I have no guy holding my attention and I have chosen not to eat my pain.
Without the distractions I am indeed focused.
I am not quite sure how I am going to get my career where I want it, but I am certain that it starts with me putting my energy into doing so as opposed to purposely distracting myself by wondering why my dating life is in a rut.
I will be honest a huge part of me just wants to lay on my couch 24/7, bury my head in the sand and just hope that money and success falls in my lap.
But life doesn’t work that way (and if it does please click the contact me section and message me with details on step by step instructions on how I can lazy my way through life).
No, all joking aside the same way I threw away unneeded items from my home is the same way I have decided to throw away unneeded thoughts and beliefs that stand as cobwebs cluttering my mind.
Out with the old and in with the new and in some areas lets just keep it completely empty so I can have some breathing room.
My life doesn’t have to stay where it is.
At one point I was working between 70 to 100 hours a week in order to make ends meet and I barely saw my children. I was mean, grouchy, tired and my career was still in the dumps.
I didn’t like who I was becoming.
That is why a little more than a month ago I made the decision to work between 30 to 40 hours a week so that I could stop killing myself, focus on being a better mother and also get my professional life where I want it.
It has been a month of no more than 40 hour work weeks.
My income has dropped but my mental clarity and physical energy levels have increased. I don’t earn the amount of money I would like but my children are happier that I have time to parent them. And I am able to clearly think about what I am doing with my life.
I am free to act on purpose as opposed to haphazardly.
I am not certain as to how I will get my professional life on track but I can tell you that I am no longer distracted from doing so.
After my divorce I relocated from Alaska and returned back to the lower 48 and despite a Master’s Degree and experience I was unable to gain employment in the career field that I wanted. I was told I was overqualified and possessed too much education (yeah I don’t know what that means either).
So I started my own business only to run out of savings before I was able to get it off the ground. That lead to me working several low paying jobs to make ends meet.
My work life was initially hard on the ego but I now see it as humbling which is truly a blessing.
You learn a lot about yourself at the bottom, at least I know I have.
I know to a greater degree what I like and what I don’t like.
I have learned that people are apt to judge you by what you do rather than who you are.
I learned not to be ashamed about where I am at.
I came to accept that somebody is always going to have something to say about you but all that matters is what you believe about you.
My level of faith increased as I learned that no matter what my daily provisions are always met.
I understand that worry is waste of energy. It is completely pointless. Why worry when everything always ultimately works out in the end?
I also found out that sometimes doing the best you can doesn’t yield the results that you would hope for but it will still take you somewhere unexpectedly good in the end.
I came to know that Napoleon Hill was correct in saying “every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
I learned that being told no repeatedly can make you doubt your self worth if you allow it to or it can also make you brave enough to try most anything because you become unafraid of the word no.
For with every no you come to understand what it means when someone says the worse they can say is no.
You stop worrying about what people will think of you.
You realize that people thinking positively or negatively about you doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when you look at the larger scheme of things.
You learn compassion for those who are having a hard time because you know what it is to have a hard time yourself.
If you have good sense you put your pride to the side and start networking and asking people for help.
You will have people tell you they are going to help only for them to never get back in contact with you.
If you are wise you learn to forgive people for letting you down because ultimately it isn’t their job to lift you up.
You meet amazing people who you most likely would have never met had you not been at your bottom.
Hopefully you learn not to be jealous of other people’s success for they are running their own race for which yours cannot be compared.
You learn who your friends are who your friends aren’t.
But most importantly you learn who you are.
I am at my lowest.
Could things get worse? – you betcha!
However, I have faith that I am on my way up.
And I have learned that no matter how bad things get I will still make it.
I have the desire and the ability to do better – so better will come.
My sister was right I didn’t want to deal with my biggest problem so I purposely used my love life as a distractor.
Yeah well, that resulted in my problem becoming even bigger.
I no longer have any guy in my life and I am not looking for a new one to come on the horizon. My decision to not date for a year resulted in something necessary.
It resulted in the fact that there are no longer any distractions.
And that is a good thing!
I knew I needed to focus but I had to decide to do so on purpose.
And as my early jump on my spring cleaning goes underway I notice it parallels my sense of mental clarity. I am not holding on to dried out relationships just like I am throwing away those dried out markers I found in my daughters dresser drawer.
I am letting go and sorting through the pain of my past the same way I am letting go of that paperwork that I was too lazy to sort through.
But most importantly, I am giving away love and kindness the same way I am donating the clothes that my kids have outgrown to charity.
Now that I have no distractions there is nothing to do but to clean my life up (to include my apartment and my car -yep the car needed some TLC also).
I have a choice. I can lay on the couch all day and I am most certain and eviction notice will follow or I can decide where I want my career and life to go and I can take the steps to get it there.
I choose to love me more that means I am getting off the couch.
I am taking the time to do the things I love, caring for myself mind, body and soul, talking with my kids about the things that are important to them, taking care of the material blessings I have been given, nourishing healthy relationships and tending to the big elephant in the room – focusing on getting my career on track.
Is there something that you are avoiding dealing with? Are you purposely distracting yourself from taking care of something you can control by focusing upon something you can’t?
Well I spent 18 months doing that and I can tell you it wasn’t my wisest idea.
I can’t make someone give me a career but I can put my energy towards developing one of my own.
I can’t make a guy love me for who I am but I can love me for who I am.
I can’t make everyone like me but I can nourish the relationships with the people who do.
And I can’t lay on the couch all day and expect my home to self clean itself but God in Heaven knows I really do want to live to see the day I can.
So there you have it, I can either spend my time thinking about negative things that I can’t control or I can be positive and actively work on the things I can (so I guess I will be developing a career plan, taking better care of myself, nurturing healthy relationships and polishing some neglected furniture).
I love myself enough to be positive about the things I have control over and that is fulfilling my life’s purpose.
Do your self a favor and love you – On Purpose.
© Renata Pittman, Renata Smith, Renata Nicole and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.