Three Areas We Shrink In Our Lives And How To Reclaim Them
Three Areas We Shrink in Our Lives and How to Reclaim Them
by Tara Miller, MC, RCC
As we get older, adulting – being focused on following the path of expectations, school, career, marriage and/or family – can cause us to shrink. We take the vision and energy and excitement we had for our lives when we were young and narrow it to be reasonable, to attain certain goals, reach important milestones etc. This is good and important, but in that we can end up reaching goals at the cost of things that matter to us, or forget some of our other dreams altogether.
We shrink – consciously and on purpose to reach a goal, to keep connection, or unconsciously we get lost and shrink because of fear or not consciously keeping our passions alive and our vision expansive.
At the end of even accomplishing your important goals you can end up feeling like you’re suffocating in your own life.
Every relationship begins with energy and excitement. We put our best foot forward. We want to impress, be accepted, and otherwise have the best of us be seen by another. As time goes on we can become comfortable. Or trapped.
We get comfortable in attachment or we become trapped by becoming so focused on another person or on the relationship as an outside entity. If we have ever experienced conflict of the sense of being too much for another person as we take up our space in our world and in the relationship we can pull back and pull in. If this continues, we can end up in relationships that we lose ourselves in.
We give up on the best expression of ourselves when we shrink for someone else. We shrink for them to be ok. What you want is someone that can accept and adore you just as you are – as big as you are. The fullness of yourself embraced by another.
Any connection that you have to sacrifice your true self in is not worth it.
Be brave enough to sacrifice the connection so that you can find someone else that will see you – all of you – and want you in their lives because of your expansiveness and not your shrinkage.
The plan of expectation in our professional pursuits can bring us incredible satisfaction if we have picked a path that is connected to our desires. If we have settled at any stage of our planning and execution in this area we can end up achieving success without satisfaction.
The risk here is that due to financial and other lifestyle choices we feel like it’s too late to change, too late to get out, too late to go after what we really want.
Our perception is that there’s too much risk and fear takes over. We stay immobilized.
What did you used to dream of doing? What pursuits or ambitions have you abandoned or dissolved in your life for the sake of practical needs or expected paths? Make a list of all the things missing in your current career that you feel you need or desire. Look at connecting with a mentor that can help you integrate some of these into your current career path or launch you into one that you can love.
We spend most of our waking hours working – usually for someone else – and then we try and separate that from the rest of our lives like a bad virus.
It’s never too late to start over. It’s never too late to ignite passion and recreate your life in this area. It’s only too late if you keep wasting time or hoping that what you’re currently unhappy in is going to miraculously change. You are the only one that can change. Go out and create what you need in your working life – the rest of your life will benefit because of it.
We might have not shrunk for the sake of a relationship but have ended shrinking when we started a family. Again our focus, as is appropriate to a point, is on the safety, security, and growth of new little people in our lives. This is where lots of relationships start to show some strain. The lack of balance from me…. to we… to a collective “us”.
All the great freedoms you enjoyed individually and as a couple have diminished to accommodate a new schedule and other necessities. People often end up giving up their “selfish pursuits” that gave them a sense of autonomy and balance during this time. They may have achieved career success, relationship balance, but feel like they’ve lost pieces of themselves.
And because family is sacred space, no one wants to talk about it. We feel ashamed to think that we have shrunk and don’t dare complain about it.
Family is a blessing – we wanted this, we chose this, so be quiet about it if you aren’t satisfied. Shrink your expectations and assimilate!
What we forget is that we can have it all – to a degree. We can live a life of passion and need for self as well as be loving and present to our partner and family. It’s a myth that we have to sacrifice everything we wanted individually for the sake of a collective.
We also forget who is watching and who is modelling their lives after us. These are often the pieces of themselves that make them unique and that their kids need to see. It’s actually healthy for kids to see that their parents never gave up their entire identity, their hopes and dreams and to instead see them still pursuing their passions and what brings them joy.
To see you consciously balance both is a challenge and a bit of an art form, but that’s exactly what your children need to see.
When we shrink too much in any of these areas we become out of balance and the process of adulting becomes a health risk.
We can easily become disconnected from the things that brought us life.
Vision that was huge and brought us so much energy and passion and desire… shrinks to accommodate expectation or perceived necessity.
When we abandon the things that brought us life, we abandon the energy that came with them.
Our lives can become really dull and repetitive.
It might not be enough for you.
If you have lost parts of yourself in these or any area of your life, I want you to look at places in your life that you’ve shrunk. I want you to notice where love and freedom has been replaced with resentment and feeling suffocated.
I want you to go back in time and look at areas you can reclaim your life. I want you to start doing the things that bring you joy and life. Today.
Be fearless. It’s going to be uncomfortable for you and or people in your life that are all used to the status quo of what is expected and sustained, but making you miserable.
Be ok with shaking things up and swimming up stream expanding your idea of what life can become.
There’s better ways to live. Be bold in this area. Start living bigger. I don’t care if other people like it or not
Go reclaim the places you’ve made too many sacrifices
Be the biggest boldest most badass version of your life.
Leave this kind of energy as your legacy.
Tara Miller, MC, RCC is a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) in Kelowna, BC. She has advanced level post graduate training in Self Regulation Therapy (SRT®) from the Canadian Foundation for Trauma Research and Education. Tara is registered with the Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP) of BC and is a registered ICBC Vendor with offices in both West Kelowna and downtown Kelowna.
Tara provides both general counselling as well as trauma work in: PTSD, medical/dental, relational, and motor vehicle accident trauma, falls and head trauma, as well as depression/anxiety, grief, self esteem, postpartum, sports injury recovery/athletic performance, chronic pain, life transitions, grief counselling, children and youth issues.
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