Have you ever reached a point in your life when you wondered what on earth you were doing here? I have, several times in fact. Loss and failure have usually ushered this questioning into my wounded thoughts.
It stands to reason we don’t stop to look at our lives when things are working. Success is intoxicating and we don’t want to do anything to rock that boat. No one stops to question themselves in the middle of our glory as we rush forward towards our goals. It takes getting hit over the head with the proverbial 2″ x 4″ of failure to get us to reconsider our direction.
True success comes from within
There is an idiom by an anonymous author that states;
“Be careful what you wish for you just might get it.”
In the past, I never quite understood the message from this old saying. But now I know, the fact is that the Universe/Higher Consciousness/God has two ways of getting our attention; one is to keep us from accomplishing our dreams and the other is to grant us what we desire.
Anyone can understand how failure can break down a person’s confidence enough to cause him/her to reconsider their methods. But it is a challenge to comprehend how getting what you want can usher in a dark night of the soul, with all of its self-doubt and confusion.
This is exactly what happened to me during my 25-year career with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). From early on at CDOT, I targeted as my dream job becoming the head of the Denver area engineering district. For ten years, I pursued this goal with abandon. No project or title was too complex for me to take as long as it would catapult me into my goal.
Then it happened, in 1991 I was named to my desired position. My elation lasted a week before the dark clouds of dissatisfaction gathered inside me. Now what? I questioned. What is there for me to do now? During the dozen sleepless nights of self-questioning that followed, I fell into a deep depression.
Family and friends could not understand what had befallen me. I could not explain it to others, even less, to myself. I was confused, God had granted my dream. Yet, despite my worldly success, I felt empty inside. The predominant thought rattling inside my head was that I had climbed the ladder of success only to find that I had placed it on the wrong wall.
You must crack some eggs to make an omelet
Comedian Jim Carrey knows what he is talking about when he says;
“I wish everyone could get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
The worldly things we attain do not define our joy and purpose. These come from connecting to our Higher Selves so we may live more authentically. But, when we have detoured, as I did, from this sacred path, we will not know to change course until we feel the inner sense of emptiness, emotional pain and depression that accompanies being lost.
If you are in the middle of inner suffering, it is important to remember that a Higher Spirit/God is not handing this to you as a punishment for your sins. On the contrary, this Higher Consciousness passes no judgement on your actions. Our creator allows us to pursue our life in the manner we see fit.
God/Universe/Higher Power wants us to find our way into the higher selves, but we diverged from that path when we began conforming to the views and values of the material world around us.
For three years, I battled my depression, and it was not until I understood that what gave joy to my work was when I aligned with others to help create wonderful projects that helped our community. When I saw that my life’s meaning was attached to creating a greater good for others, my depression and self-seeking evaporated like morning dew under a blazing sun.
It is difficult to dismantle the walls our ego helped us build, but it is a necessary part of our evolution. Almost always, it takes an awakening for our Higher Selves to break through. This is the main role failure and/or disenchantment have in our lives. Their presence is an invitation to open ourselves up to the life and wisdom that have always been within us.
Unless you are interested in losing some teeth, I would not go up to a person who is suffering great emotional pain and congratulate them for their opportunity to grow. However, you can quietly rejoice in their moment of doubt and the opportunity to grow they are being encouraged to take.
Remember, paying gratitude for your life forward will fill you with joy and contentment.