“It won’t work out for me”, “It never works out for me”, “I’ve just stopped bothering, “No-one includes me”, “There’s no point”, “It’s too hard” and “I can’t be bothered” were just a handful of the statements this gorgeous woman made in the first hour of our first session as to why her life was not where she wanted it to be. She had become really socially isolated, and essentially committed to opting out any potential for rejection with night after night alone. The easy choice here was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Hard and painful dressed up as fluffy and easy. It might have been easy in the moment but the cumulative effect of opting out of her life (aside from pasting on a smile in the office) was actually incredibly difficult, and it was taking its toll.
Working together to get her re-entering her life: improving self-care, attracting new people, new opportunities, new connections, passions, fun, health and so on has been a privilege and a pleasure. She didn’t opt out because she is lazy, or weak, or stupid, she opted out because she had been through hair-raising trauma.
Our sunshine can be stripped away when we least expect it by the person or people we least expect. And so we withdraw, lick our wounds and opt out, much safer that way.
But, here’s the thing. Even though it is temporarily easier to opt out of life so we don’t get hurt, in the long run it becomes much harder. Each easy individual decision to Netflix and chill behind closed curtains alone adds up to a much harder life down the line. When we stop showing up for life because it has hit us upside the head (however understandable that is), eventually if we stop showing up for life it will stop showing up for us.
We can start showing up again. Start small but start. It can start with changing the way we choose to think from ‘Things never work out to me” to ”Something good is just around the corner”, from “I can’t be bothered” to “I’m going to make the effort tonight and see what happens”. From pressing snooze to getting up and taking the dog for a walk or the early morning class. Saying yes to the coffee or joining the chatty table in the lunchroom. They don’t have to be big things but they are all deliberate steps to re-engage and show up for life.
When we take a leap and show up for what we want in our life: health, love, friendship, laughter, connection, learning, it’s amazing how quickly it will start showing up for us in return.