In the second part of this article, I show you how to overcome what Elizabeth Gilbert calls ‘the last obstacle’: the little voice that says, “you can’t do that” or “you’re not good enough”. There are three possibilities you can try out. Again it’s about how you can ‘have both’ in your life and about trusting your heart.
This is part two of my reflection about what made me Think and Laugh reading ‘Eat, Pray, Love’.
A friend suggested me to read this bestseller. She was still in the fresh memory of the breakup of her marriage and finding a new way of sorting out her life. I felt a little bit reluctant about the memoir of ‘One Women’s Search for Everything’. I had well digested my divorce several years ago (which was the reason why Liz set out to her journey that starts in Italy). I had found my spiritual teacher and path (second part: India) in my early twenties and I have found lasting love again and am happily sharing my life with my second husband (third part: Indonesia). But then I decided to give it a go – and I’m glad that I did trust my heart and not stay stuck in my head with a non-decision like this.
Stop getting in your own way
Do you know the little voice that says, “you can’t do that” or “you’re not good enough”? This internal voice that Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ calls ‘the last obstacle’?
How can you stop getting in your own way?
You can start by asking yourself “How do I define pleasure? (…) What would I enjoy doing today?” (p 66) This is a great question I bet you don’t ask yourself very often. Here’s a way to get better at doing what you love in spite of your many responsibilities and full schedules.
Most of us women were taught to put all the others first: our children, our loved ones, our clients, the duties… Hand on your heart, do you think or hold on to the belief that it’s selfish to look after yourself first – and out of question to effectively put yourself first?
Be happy now
I suggest a new paradigm: invest in your happiness first. This will bring you success in your work AND empower you to truly serve others in your professional as well in your private life.
How does happiness work? “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort.” (p. 272) It’s also the result of an attitude and a commitment. “This is a practice I’ve come to call ‘Diligent Joy’. (…) Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then you are free to serve and enjoy other people.” (p. 273)
Whatever it is that keeps you stuck and thinking “you can’t do that” or “you’re not good enough” you can let it go now if you decide so! Or as Richard from Texas puts it: “Groceries, you need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select what clothes you’re gonna wear every day. (…) Because if you can’t learn to master your thinking, you’re in deep trouble forever.” (p. 187)
If you are unhappy with some aspect of your life, you have to get to the point where you realise that you’re lost in the woods and admit it (see part one of this book review). And then the big shift in the right direction can take place… Only then you’ll find and get the help and support you need.
Become your own best friend
Another strategy to get out of your way is to learn to become your own best friend. The inner critical voice only wants your best. It just does it sometimes in a very clumsy and not helpful way.
There is also an inner guide in you! This wise, kind and caring woman that reminds you: “I’m right here. What can I do for you?” (p.55) All you have to do is to open up – and listen.
Maybe you want to write down the words that comfort you as Liz did. The same thing you would tell your child, your husband or your best female friend without hesitation: “I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to … There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. (…) I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.” (p. 57)
Recognize yourself as a friend. Don’t wait until you feel all alone and in deep trouble as Liz felt in Rome when she discovered this other voice inside her. Start now or try a little bit harder if you’re already on track to give yourself the love and care you deserve.
Open up to the ‘impossible’
At the end of the book, Liz’ new partner suggests a ‘crazy’ solution: a life that is somehow divided between America, Australia, Brazil and Bali. Her reaction is: “All I can do is laugh, because, hey, why not? It just might be crazy enough to work.” (p. 346)
My question for you: what would you enjoy doing today?
Thanks for leaving a comment, I’d love to know!
Combining professional experiences in communication, project management and public health with scientific research around mind-body wellbeing, effective time management, goal achievement and happiness she supports you to harness your sensitivities and play to your strengths.
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