Let It Happen Naturally
“Don’t push it, don’t force, let it happen naturally… .” Do you remember that song? It was very popular back in the day and as I recall it, an image of myself doing a strange-looking shovelling motion springs to mind.
Although very adept at dancing back then, pushing was a better skill of mine. Pushing, shoving and forcing were triple motions of mine as I tried to make my way out of undesirable situations. Poverty, higher education, and relationships were the three areas of greatest concern for me.
Raised by a functionally illiterate single mother, we were always strapped for money as my father first did the disappearing act then by my 15th birthday he passed away. Life was a struggle and the lesson taught to me was if you wanted anything you had to take or push to get it. So pushing became a skill for me.
Pushing Through Life
Pushing my way through each day, I went to school and tried to focus on the subjects that would get me to university and eventually to one of the highest paying jobs, even though my heart was not into them. My role models in those early years were young women who had the book smarts to be future doctors, physicists, business owners, or mathematicians but I did not. However, wanting so much to be like them, wanting their lives. in many ways, to be mine I pushed.
Looking at other families, their possessions and how they related, at least publicly, I started pushing for the same. This led me to relationships, marriages and accumulations of “stuff” that I could ill afford. Pushing became my natural way of being for the longest while until everything came tumbling down:
- My mostly failure at the subjects that were not my natural inclinations such as mathematics, biology, accounting.
- Relationship after relationship crashing mostly because I was pushing for perfection and romance novel quality life.
- Furniture, art, vehicles, etc repossessed due to my failure to make monthly payments or re-sold to pay off debt.
Well into my 40’s before I finally got it and gradually stopped pushing. Eventually, I understood the subtle difference between pushing/staying focussed on a goal or wish that was born of my soul and pushing against the “No’s” that Life was telling me. The difference is forcing and allowing. You might be doing what it took me so long to get – trying to force happiness, force well-being, force yourself to be who you are not simply because the neighbours are. Until you understand that pushing and forcing will largely and often only result in more pushing and forcing – you will be as I was – unhappy and dissatisfied with your life.
Pushing vs Allowing
Even in labour, women have to understand when pushing is not the best thing to do. Pushing is a guided process, it is paced to make sure of a safe delivery. The same is true of our lives. You have to understand when to push and when to step back and allow things to unfold. Here are three things that 40 years taught me about pacing my pushing and the wisdom of allowing:
- “Let your discomfort and pain push you into something new.” ― That quote by Sunday Adelaja, someone who by now, I hope, more completely understands his own words given the trials he has undergone trying to push his way through in uncomfortable places. Many times when we are uncomfortable in any situation our tendency might be to hide, shrink or fall into depression. Discomfort and pain can truly be moments for pushing through, to propel yourself into new ways of being and growth.
- Getting to the best version of you is a lonely journey. Do not give up and do not push. Allow Her to take control. Yvonne Pierre says it very well: “Before your reach your destination, you’ll find yourself going through the wilderness. There’s some survival skills that you’ll need master through the wilderness journey. While in the wilderness, your faith will be tried and tested. You’ll become humble. Your vision for your life will get clearer. You’re in training for your purpose. You’ll lose some friends, because there’s some folks who are only with you because of where they think your journey will lead THEM. Don’t worry, Walk on. Continue on your journey. Soon, you’ll be approaching the mountain. Get ready to climb!”
- When something you want seems to be harder to get to, requiring you to manipulate or deceive, let it go. Pushing to gain it is not success but instead holds the seed of future problems. I had this conversation recently with my daughter as she sought to get something that she thought she was ready to handle. As the process got more complicated she called me. My suggestion to her was, “Let it go.” Thankfully, she did and this morning she is happier than ever, things are falling into place as she never expected.
Corny But True: Go With The Flow
Basically, if you have to be deceitful and manipulative to get anything, if you are not being yourself, going against your heart, being as I was and taking classes that were not meant for you to fit in – then you are pushing.
I know it is popular to tell people to push through every obstacle, it is the core of many motivational speeches but what I am saying to you is this: you have to know when to stop pushing to be popular, get THE job or drive a particular car. Sometimes you simply have to walk alone, make the best of your current job and love your current ride into retirement.
Create a vision for your life (I am a big proponent of vision boards), write your eulogy and live backwards from your grave. When you do that, you will find the need for endless pushing and forcing comes to an end. You will know when to let go and situations and people who would have you involved in manipulation fade from your experience.
Follow your passion and not try to be a salmon and constantly pushing your way upstream.
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Have a great Monday! If you are in Canada, do go out and vote today!