Life’s easier with gratitude

Joey Garcia

Will life get easier? I work constantly but never get ahead, I only seem to meet women who are out to use me, my condo and car are in constant need of expensive and time-sucking repairs, my family is a freak show and I can’t imagine continuing in my deadening line of work for another 30 years. Is this what life is really all about? Why didn’t anyone clue me in before now? Life is just a few shining minutes of fun and endless days of tedious minutiae. I have no idea how people endure this, or why they do.

Oh, sweetheart! You definitely need a gratitude makeover. But before appreciation can sink in, reality must take root.

Begin here: Life is not fair, and there are no guarantees. Work hard because you enjoy challenging yourself or because you want to hone your skill set. Date because it reveals where you need to grow in your capacity to be yourself or in your ability to give and receive kindness, understanding and intimacy. Accept that owning your own home and vehicle is a privilege. Repairs are an opportunity to provide work for others. Know that your birth family is simply a launch pad that should prepare you to embrace everyone as family. That is what life is really about.

So don’t imagine that you are being clued into the truth late in the game. Most people never figure this stuff out. Ever. Those that do are passionate about self-realization. Those rare individuals use their own response to shining moments and minutiae as insight into how to transform toward their full potential. You can, too.

After decades of dating emotionally unavailable men, I met someone I really like who also likes me. He is open, self-aware and available. He’s also very complimentary, and that is the issue. He puts me on such a high pedestal that I am terrified that when he gets to know me better he will dump me. I can’t imagine opening up enough to be vulnerable, because I know he will dump me eventually. I really want to experience true love, and I think he could be the one. What should I do?

Look at your love history. You have lots of experience with ending bad relationships. You know how to cry. You know how to express disappointment, anger, grief and other dramatic emotions. You know how to recognize when a relationship is going sideways and when it is impossible to steer it straight again. You know what feels like to be emotionally naked and not be met as an equal. This is wonderful! You are now uniquely qualified to be in a relationship that will stretch you beyond your comfort zone of drama and dissolution.

You are ready to develop proficiency at being in a relationship, contentedly ever after. Accept your man’s compliments like a person who knows their own value and praise your man for his own sweet qualities. You have worked hard, emotionally, for this experience. Enjoy it.

I am 30 years old, and I hate my parents. Does that make me a bad person?

No. It means you are a person struggling with difficult ideas about parenting. The less you expect from your parents, the more you realize that they are simply people with hordes of unhealed wounds that they inflicted onto you. This prepares you to understand that your job is not to waste life energy complaining about your parents, or blaming them, or even trying to hold them accountable. Your work is to clean out your own wounds so that you do not repeat their behavior. That’s really what it means to sing: “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”

Meditation of the week
“There are only four questions of value in life. … What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same. Only love,” says the character Don Juan de Marco in the film of the same name. What questions have you developed as guide to your values?

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