Connection vs Control — Part 3
The Only Way Out is Through
The only way out of our predicament is to look beneath the surface to our own humanity. To reconnect to ourselves, take ownership for the world we live in, and end the cycle of projection and blame.
“The best way out is through” ~Robert Frost
By age 27 I reached a breaking point. On the surface, it looked like I had everything I wanted. A great job, romantic relationship, and physical health. But I felt dead and lonely inside and I lacked quality relationships. I always had someone or something to blame for why things never felt quite right. And I always had a grand plan for how to fix things — but it didn’t matter if I got the promotion, the raise, or a better relationship — the feeling of satisfaction was depressingly short.
I realized that nothing would change unless I accepted the fact that I was creating everything in my life in order to prove I was worthy of love. Unfortunately, no amount of proving or success would ever fill that void or help me feel lasting connection. Until I was willing to look inside and face the fear and pain that was causing me to feel unworthy — I would be caught in a loop of loneliness, consumption, addiction, blame and ever-more proving. If I wasn’t willing to shift my lens from external validation to intrinsic motivation — nothing was going to change.
By the way — this kind of transformation didn’t happen in the echoing chamber of my own mind. I needed help. One of the most helpful things for me was taking the leap to hire a coach and work with a therapist. Something I was initially resistant to doing because of my “rugged individualist” mindset at the time.
I also want to emphasize that this process of reconnecting to self is not a perfect science or a one-time deal. Just 11 months ago I hit another breaking point — realizing that Guided — my startup that I spent three years building — was not in full alignment with who I was. And, if I am completely honest, even though I made a lot of successful adjustments since that breakdown at age 27 — one of the driving factors behind creating Guided was still about proving myself and external validation. Admitting that to myself was a very difficult pill to swallow — but it was the only way I was able to make the difficult choice to leave Guided, connect more to myself and create greater fulfillment.
“If you can’t get out of it, get into it” Outward Bound saying