It’s always an interesting feeling when your mind gets out of lockstep with what you’re used to.
I was talking about this with a mentor just now, exploring the idea of feeling burnt out and how difficult rekindling can be. Earlier this year I was firing on all cylinders, delivering some of my best work and generally performing at the top of my game. I think my brain got used to that, started to build an identity around that, and ultimately, got a little a bit too invested in that.
I like to talk a lot about where we derive our sense of self and sense of value from, and the last few months have been a powerful lesson in how insidiously external ideas can creep up on you. You don’t realise, it’s too gradual, but over time, you’re judging yourself based on a fixed position when you yourself remain dynamic.
That’s not how to build a strong sense of self.
What happens is you find yourself out of sync with your own ideas, because the situation you’ve tied yourself to has moved on. Imagine a boat tied to a dock in a stormy sea. Your wellbeing is the rope, and something has to give.
What today’s insight has granted me is the knowledge that if you don’t check in on yourself, you’ll lose touch with yourself. You’ll become unfamiliar with each other, and it feels very strange. I honestly think this is what it means to feel out of sorts.
You have to take stock. You have to stay up to date with where you’re at versus where you were. We are in a state of constant evolution. Even when we feel in a rut, we’re still changing. In fact, being in a rut can create an illusion of no change, until things are so different you have no choice but to stop and realign with how far you’ve drifted from where you thought you were.
Your role changes. Your expectations, what is expected of you, changes. Being aware that this is an indisputable aspect of being human allows you to keep sight of where you are, even if you’re not quite sure where you’re going. Because our paths will stray. We’re not trains on a track, we’re boats on a sea (sans rope now, of course). Interesting developments will send us in totally unpredictable directions, and yes we might smash into rocks. But forcing ourselves to think of life as a linear path doesn’t change it’s nature, it just creates friction, denial, and sadness.
If you do one thing today, just ask yourself what’s going on, why you’re doing what you’re doing, worrying what you’re worrying, dreading what you’re dreading. Are you and yourself in sync with each other? Are you and yourself in agreement with each other? What does one self know that the other doesn’t? Which of you holds beliefs that don’t apply to where you are anymore?
This might sound a little nutty, a bit abstract, but I promise you it’s the existential recalibration you’ve been looking for to get you feeling back in sorts.
Have a bloody lovely day.
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