There are so many pieces of our lives and experiences we wish we could change. If we had a magic wand, we would probably wave it around all day, changing several undesirable outcomes, and magically making things happen that simply haven’t or aren’t even supposed to.
Yes, those things we want to experience in our lives, but it simply hasn’t or isn’t supposed to happen…
These tend to be the things we force and rush to experience.
But it may not be the right time, or to be realistic, it may not be meant to happen at all.
So, how do we know the difference and what do we do in the meantime?
Life is filled with many choices, and our choices result in certain behaviors and outcomes. The freedom to make choices also provides the illusion that we have control over everything in our lives, which is false. We always have control over how we think and experience our experiences, but we do not always have control over the things that will or will not happen in our lifetime.
This is where things can get messy. Instead of focusing on the active experiences and our present life goals, we can get caught up in fairy tales, just wishing for things to happen. Then our “wishing” takes over our realistic minds, and we start making premature choices in order to force something to happen.
When we force things to happen, it is not only messy, but then we are left to maintain it. Our daily ease and inner peace are quickly diminished, because now we have to use all of our mental (and sometimes physical) efforts to manage and maintain the circumstance or experience that we forced into existence.
A common example is what is popularly referred to as “Keeping up with the Jones” where people spend way more than they make, for purposes of appearances or to keep up with lifestyles of the rich and famous. They might purchase more house than they can truly afford, buy an expensive car that they cannot financially maintain, or choose to only wear designer clothing that breaks their budgets. They are “forcing” a certain social status into existence. Instead of focusing their efforts on doing their best at their current financial level, or setting a goal to earn/save more to increase their financial standing, these pretenders decide that maintaining an elite social image in more important than their daily ease of life and inner peace. They also get stuck working desperately to maintain this status, maxing out credit cards and living above their means for their lifetime.
Another example is forcing relationships. I have been guilty of this one. Instead of being patient and allowing friendships and love-relationships to organically flow and grow, we jump headfirst into relationships, prematurely committing ourselves and becoming consumed by the other person. We also place unrealistic expectation upon them, expecting them to be our “all and everything”, which NOBODY is capable of being. Not only does this create an unhealthy connection, but it is absolutely impossible to maintain. The experience of being loved is significant to many people, but the wrong type of love (or lust) will not bring the type of love we truly desire. We simply cannot force this experience.
Everyday things can be forced too. Consider your desire to switch careers, or find a new job. You may be TIRED of working in your current position, TIRED of your boss, or TIRED of your present salary, but if you force the situation and prematurely quit, you may end up in a more difficult position than waiting it out until the right opportunity comes along. Sure, it may take a year to find your next job, or make your next career move, but it will be worth it to wait and land upright versus trying to pick up the pieces from falling apart after forcing your early departure.
Forcing is a method of coercion or compulsion, really an extreme form of manipulation. Just think how you feel if someone is trying to “force” something or even someone on you…it is not cool. In fact, it really aggravates us. Well, if we force experiences to occur, we are essentially setting the stage for this same type of aggravation, with nobody to point the finger at but ourselves.
If we force things to happen in our lives, 3 things are likely to happen (or at least one of the 3):
- Regret. There is the rare occasion where something forced works out and remains long-term, but this is an exception and not the rule. Of course we will not get through this life without some regrets, but if we can prevent any of them, this is ideal. Forcing things to happen in our life, and later picking up the pieces when they do not work out, is a rough path to choose. At least if we can honestly say that we did not force certain circumstances or experiences when the unexpected does arise, then we will not feel as responsible or guilty if regret occurs later.
- Feeling overwhelmed. If we force anything, then we have to maintain it. The life experiences and circumstances that we do not force also require maintenance, but it is a much different type of mental and physical effort than those things we put together on a whim, just hoping things will work out because we want them to. Long term maintenance of something we forced into our lives will consistently take up effort we never thought necessary, and time we do not have. It will very likely be consistently exhausting, which is also how we know that we forced an experience, and should slow down.
- The unknown. We will never know how something may have naturally worked out (or not even occurred at all) if we force it to happen. When we do not allow some experiences and circumstances in our lives to organically exist and flow, we will never know what could have been. This is similar to regret, where we will wonder what may have happened in our lives if only we didn’t force this into existence. Or we may be facing additional consequences based on the forced circumstance or experience that really leaves us questioning the “unknown”. It is best to refrain from forcing anything, to see how things are supposed to turn out. You may be pleasantly surprised by activating patience, instead of forcing.
An important thing to keep in mind is that we do not have a magic wand. Once something has occurred, we are powerless to remove its existence or the experience surrounding its existence. There will be many times in our lives where we just have to move forward and make the very best of our current life and its structure. The point here is to remind us to avoid forcing our life experiences, but if we already have, it is time think and be positive so that we accept things as they are. Acceptance also puts us in a position to evaluate if change is necessary.
Life is too short to ruminate about the things we have absolutely no power to change.
We all have goals and dreams, some of them more accessible than others, and some that are true desires of our hearts.
While we can focus on some of these dreams and goals, and take steps to realize them, we also have to be patient and provide space for the organic elements of our life. We must do all we can to avoid rushing or forcing anything. Life can be much more enjoyable when we just slow down and take our time.