23+ wellbeing things. No. 12 – Learning to take the road less travelled

Sign reading "what if nothing is wrong?"We have all had days when we stare into the mirror and wonder how we came to be the way we are and not the way we had once planned.  Much of our anxiety stems from ideas about how we have been taught to think about ourselves and without the distractions of the outside world, these thoughts can become more noticeable.

We have been taught from a young age to believe we need to become something greater than ourselves in order to be ‘successful’ and ‘happy’.  These concepts are usually described as a glorious destination, always out of our reach and just beyond life’s next measurable hurdle – the next exam, the next qualification, the next job. 

In many people, this instils moral panic a moral panic that we are somehow not good enough right now and that others are competing with us for the lion’s share of a limited quantity of success and happiness ignores a fundamental truth about life.  We are alive now.  In this moment. We cannot hope to feel fulfilled if we are living for some future time.

That sometimes means letting ourselves rest now so that we can recover from unreasonable stressors and rediscover the indomitable true nature that will take us forward to conquer later.  Only by accepting ourselves completely as we are, faults, shortcomings and all, and living in our present can we see what is in front of us and seize the unlikely opportunities that only we can see.

Our future is being shaped not by striving after some lofty goal but is constructed moment by moment by the choices we make in the here and now.  There is always something bigger, better and more promising on the horizon but life is the spent heading there, and more often than not taking the road less travelled and ending up somewhere entirely different and in many ways better.  

Forgive yourself for not being perfect. You have to live with yourself a very long time, so it is as well to learn to like yourself now.

Assistant Librarian (Promotions) at the University Library. An enthusiastic advocate of libraries, diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice for all, inside and outside the workplace.

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