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Lately, I have been struggling with the same phrase over and over in my brain. You have to ‘do it right’. This phrase shows up in so many areas of my life—doing it right in my career, doing it right in my marriage, doing it right with my friends even doing it right when it comes to everyday life activities. As I began to recognize the pattern, the incidences and examples were endless.
One of the biggest examples for me was on our vacation in September.
We were staying in a secluded B&B on San Juan Island in Washington state. It was a gorgeous sunny day, in the low 70s and a blue sky that went on for miles. My nearest and dearest was taking a nap, and I was reading my book while lying in the hammock (Something I LOVE to do) after about an hour–I was kind of done, it was getting colder, and I wanted to check on my nearest and dearest and figure out dinner. But as I lay there I thought
“no, you can’t get up, you are on vacation…you LOVE lying in the hammock…you NEVER get to do this…you need to be ENJOYING this moment..you can’t go INSIDE it’s beautiful out here”.
As I started to pay attention to my stream of consciousness, I was struck by the demands in my head!! I WAS on vacation so if I wanted to sit on our couch in our room all day I could–there was no RIGHT answer.
And so I asked myself, “what if there is no right answer?” and for a minute I was dumbstruck–yes actually paralyzed by that fact—what if there is no right answer???? What a freeing thought!!!<
Since that trip, I have been catching myself frequently looking for the ‘right answer’. Trying to catch myself when I start down the path of looking for the ‘right way’ and what I ‘should be doing’. It is such a freeing moment when I realize there isn’t a right way!! I have been using this with my clients too–simply asking them what if there wasn’t a ‘right answer’? They have a similar reaction to me in the hammock–dumbstruck and amazed and then they get a little grin on their faces. A knowing ‘aha’, a sense of relief that there is no right answer. Most of the time there is what we choose.
Yes someone, somewhere probably would give us their right answer, and make it sound like our right answer. Most likely that is where the ‘this is the right answer’ voices come from…all the knowing voices we have internalized.
So I challenge you, the next time you start coming up with excuses “I can’t do that…what would so-and-so think…you should do (fill in the blank). Smile, take a deep breath and ask yourself ‘what if there is no right answer?’ and then wait to see what comes up.