Life has felt a little swampy this week. Instead of just accepting that the depression was being obnoxious, I spent some time questioning why the hell I was feeling so sad. I really didn’t come up with a good answer. Perhaps it is just that post holiday/post stress/post spending a lot of money on a car thing. My energy is low.
Still, I have been thinking. I’m frustrated, as usual really, that I keep doing the same stupid things. I know what I need to do, but I don’t do it. I give up too easily. I feel out of control.
Last night I was watching a movie, The Answer Man, which had good points and bad points but one exchange just hit me.
Kris Lucas: Why can’t I do the things I want to do? There’s so much I know I’m capable of that I never actually do. Why is that?
Arlen Faber: The trick is to realize that you’re always doing what you want to do… always. Nobody’s making you do anything. Once you get that, you see that you’re free and that life is really just a series of choices. Nothing happens to you. You choose.
This isn’t a new idea for me. The question is what do I do with it? In the past, I have beat myself up over the idea. See? Everything is a choice and I make bad choices, therefore I’m a bad and lazy person. Giving up is just the ultimate and inevitable choice.
What if, instead, I approached it from the other direction? What if I looked at it as truly a freedom? What is it that I truly want to do?
It happens that Gretchen Rubin wrote about this idea recently also. One of her conclusions was that, “…we’re happiest when our decisions most closely match our natures and our values.”
“If I pretend to myself that I’m different from the way I truly am, I’m going to make choices that won’t make me happy.”
What is it, I am wondering, that truly makes me happy? Is it the short term pleasure I get from, for example, eating something I want right now or the long term pleasure I might get from being healthier and more fit?
“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what we want most for what we want at the moment.” ~unknown~
I don’t know that either answer is more right than the other. Or more honorable. Who am I and what do I really want? It is confused in my head. There is the image of me that I believe I should want. Sometimes I want to simply accept who I am. Sometimes I want to be some idealized self. Sometimes I want to be someone else entirely. Sometimes I want to be healthier – and in less pain – and sometimes I just want that brownie. Maybe nothing will change until I choose what it is that I truly want.
Could I truly have used the word truly any more often in this post?