It’s ok to not be ready

This is one of those things that you can’t force. When you aren’t ready, you just aren’t ready. And nothing that you do or say is going to change that.

It’s one of those things for which there is nothing to do but give up trying to be who you want to be or think you can be; you truly have no choice but to let yourself be who you are ready to be now.

You can try to fight it, and say it ain’t so, and sometimes you will find yourself doing that even though you know that fighting the feeling ultimately will not change the reality. Sometimes, it is especially painful to not be ready for something that we have been ready for in the past, or when we have committed ourselves to being ready for it in the present. But the truth will always assert itself in the end. So give yourself permission to feel it.

In order to live and thrive and make connections in this modern world of hours, we are very used to developing an image of ourselves that we then use to relate to the rest of the world. This image that we have of ourselves often includes an outline of what we are ready for, and what we are not ready for; what we like, and what we don’t like; what we want, and what we don’t want. It’s all nice and well and clearly defined on that little mental résumé that we have of ourselves. And, if we’ve done our homework about ourselves properly, usually, the résumé gets it right – or at least somewhat right.

But the time comes in all of our lives when what we have on our mental resume of who we are does not match up to what our hearts and our feelings are telling us. If you are not used to this kind of situation, it can be incredibly confusing, and it can go so far as to throw into question who you really are. What about yourself can you count on? Are the tools that you had in your toolbox still there? All kind of sudden questions can come up when the mismatch between the mental resume and the present reality hits home.

It’s so easy to get into a groove, a routine; after all, grooves and routines make life easier, less stressful, more manageable and relaxing to live. Sometimes, when reality is telling you that you cannot get into a certain groove, it’s not only jarring to think that you might not be ready for something that you “should” be ready for; it is also a break with a very habitual thought pattern. Often, that’s what makes not being ready so hard to face up to: what if you are not ready to declare just what you are ready for?? What if there’s no groove to fall into?

The longer you deny yourself the permission not to be ready, the longer you will actually have to deal with the reality… of not being ready. Sometimes, denying yourself permission to be ready is not so obvious as “telling yourself” that you are ready when you aren’t. Very often, not being ready sneaks up on us when we’re not looking. We’re so used to being in that groove, on our modern autopilot mode of life, that we miss the signs that point out that we might not be ready for something that we plunge into anyway without second thoughts – until later, when we look back and see that something is not right. Kind of like running off a cliff, but only noticing once you are already off the cliff that the ground under you is no longer there!

For this reason, it is important to consciously, preemptively ask yourself, “am I ready?” The basis of much of the regret we have about things we’ve done in the past often has something to do with thinking we were ready for something that really, had we stopped and taken a look at our situation, we would have figured out that it wasn’t the right thing for us at the time.

Give yourself permission not to be ready, even before that moment that moment comes when you find out you aren’t ready. And – very important – give yourself permission to take the time you need to figure out what you are and aren’t ready for. Some of these answers may not come in the space of two minutes. And if anybody has a problem with you needing a little time to figure out what you are ready for and gives you a hard time about it? Then you tell them to buzz off and go suck on a lemon. :-)

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4 Responses to It’s ok to not be ready

  1. Rayellen says:

    This is fantastic, and I will remind you of what a wise person said recently at a great gathering of friends… Sometimes it just takes time. In this society, we strive always to move away from uncomfortable feelings. I have been reading “When Things Fall Apart” a lot lately to learn how to sit with the discomfort, listen gently to it, and hear what it has to teach me that my analytical mind couldn’t figure out.

    • Right. And one of the greatest things I have been able to do for myself in such moments is to see my heart and mind, apart from each other, and witness my mind telling my heart, “it’s ok if you need to hurt for a while, if you can’t love at the moment like you usually can. I’ll take things over from here. I’ll steer the ship, and I’ll be there to see you through your hurt. I believe in you, and you’re gonna be ok.” That is when you know you love yourself, which is, as Whitney Houston sang out, “the greatest love of all.”

  2. Pingback: Why I hate “will you marry me?” and other such loaded on-the-spot proposals « Positive Juice

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