1. You will no longer throw Pad Thai at your loved ones. Okay, maybe it doesn’t play out exactly like that in your life, but for me, my teens and early twenties were ruled by my anger– or more accurately– my inability to process the intense feelings that surrounded it. I was constantly living in a state of knee-jerk reaction. If things were running smoothy, I was fine, but at the smallest hint of trouble (or even uncertainty) I would start lashing out at whatever or whomever I perceived was causing the discomfort.
Of course, the people closest to me were the ones most affected by this nasty habit of mine. Like the one night when a silly fight with my husband ended with me hurling a handful of spicy number five noodles at his head.
It was a low point in my life, and a messy one at that (we actually found remnants of that evening behind the microwave when we moved out of that apartment a few years later) but recently I’ve been thinking a lot about that particular argument. What I am currently so interested in is that now when things get heated there is a space – a small gap between the thing that causes the fear/anger/uncertainty and my reaction. That space lets me choose to react or, in some circumstances, decide not to respond at all.
2. You won’t find yourself in a movie theater, watching a movie you didn’t want to see in the first place. Or out to dinner with people that drive you crazy. Or committed to a project you don’t believe in.
Because once you start getting honest with who you are and what you really want, you will stop trying to please everyone and everything else and start spending your time, money and energy on the things that light you up. (And guess what… Your life will suddenly be filled with people who enjoy the same movies as you and whom you want to go to dinner and start projects with.)
3. You start saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Even when it is hard. Even when all you want to do is placate, and lie and smooth over. Even when it could mean the end of friendships and marriages and careers because suddenly the truth eclipses the fear. Because finally there is no where else to hide.
4. You start listening more and talking less. When this happens, you actually begin to hear what other people are saying– instead of just waiting for your turn to speak– you become present to what is being shared, you finally show-up whole for yourself and for others.
5. You start living your dreams. Maybe you write the book you’ve been meaning to for years. Or you open the business you’ve fantasied about. Maybe you take the trip you’ve feared you’d never take. Or you go on that hot date. Maybe you have the baby or decide to start the adoption process. Or, maybe, you take out that mortgage and buy the house. You stumble, you fly, you falter, you cry, but you keep going because suddenly it is scarier to retreat than it is to reach.