THE LIVELY

BLOG

The latest podcasts, vlogs & blog posts.

what went wrong
August 22nd, 2011     |    LifeThink About It

Now that I’ve shared who I am, why I started MML, and how I spent the last four years living intentionally, it’s time to talk about what went wrong over the past few months.

As I briefly mentioned a few weeks ago, my intentional journey took hit a rocky patch this summer. And though in some ways it’s still a work in progress for me, I’d like to share the negative ways that I have approached intentions and how I plan to move forward. My hope is that by sharing the negative patterns, others may avoid the same pitfalls.

This summer I made intentions for every area of my life and refused to leave room for compromise, change, or Life.

As I mentioned a while ago, I went to a four day retreat called Lifebook that helped me create new intentions for every area of my life. Coming out of the program, which I definitely recommend, I had massive breakthroughs in terms of career vs. purpose and email. But I also took my intentions to a not-so-good place.

After discovering what my ultimate lifelong intentions were, I was quickly dissatisfied with my current life. I started to want to live all of my intentions NOW. Right this second. Going through the journey to develop the skills, and assets that I desired was not acceptable to me. I wanted the fullest, complete life I craved immediately.

The problem with that mentality was that it is simply not possible.

Right now I am 26 years old, I don’t have the dream house I designed in my head, and I don’t have all of the desires of my heart. I don’t have children, I am not married, I am not eating my ideal diet, I do not have the money to travel to Italy, I do not have the income and savings that I would like.

Comparing my ultimate ideal life with my current one made me feel dissatisfied and brought out my latent perfectionist side.

I suddenly wasn’t allowing the new intentions to be general guides or beacons in my life, instead I made them absolute present moment necessities. And since I have no real way of knowing which intentions will really happen in the future or which ones I’ll have control over, I was scared as much as I was dissatisfied.

I was so attached to the glossy vision I had of my future that I was unwilling to acknowledge that much of the things I desired were not controllable. And some things, like when (or if) I have a two natural born kids (a boy and a girl, of course), is not something I can just snap my fingers and dictate.

I also cannot know – or demand – that I am guaranteed that I will one day have the exact home that I dream of, all the way down to the drawer pulls on the bathroom cupboards. (Hey, it may sound silly, but I was as attached to the minute details as much as the massive ones.)

The other more sinister aspect of this all or nothing mentality was that it allowed for no imperfections in myself. I was hyper-critical of myself each time that I did not live up to the ideal that I set for myself. This insanely high level of criticism also leaked into my relationships. I started to measure them by the same perfect vision and when people fell short, I had a hard time empathizing and felt frustrated. Forgiveness, understanding, and gratitude went by the wayside when things didn’t match my expectations.

Thankfully, I eventually became miserable enough to start to examine my beliefs and re-think how I would like to approach life.

For a while, the best thing that I could do was let myself not focus on intentions at all. Sure, I still got up each day and generally drove Jess LC and my personal life in positive ways, but I didn’t dictate what I needed to do or accomplish. I floated around a bit and let myself relax from the mental death grip.

Now that I’ve had time to decompress, I’m slowly revisiting my intentions and recognizing which intentions are within my circle of current influence. My dream house, theoretical children, trip to Italy, and ideal income are not things that I can control today.

But habits like reading, saving, working out, and meditating are intentions that I have direct control over. For now, I’m leaving the pie in the sky wish list up to God or life, and focusing on the present moment power I possess. I have faith that if those large dreams I have are meant to happen, they will occur naturally as a result of me moving towards them in the down to earth, not always perfect, methods I have available to me each day.

In addition, I’m also revisiting the words intention and goal.

A few years ago, during my struggle with perfection, I recognized that the word “goal” was very black and white for me. If I met my goal, I succeeded. If I did not meet my goal, I failed. Whereas the word intention felt much more flexible, gentle, and kind.

Somewhere during this summer, I started treating my “intentions” like “goals.” I placed my self-worth in achieving those intentions perfectly as soon as possible. Now, I’m working to return back to what I really do mean when I say the word intention, a gentle determination to act in a certain way as much as I can.

It’s not about being perfect all the time, it’s about doing the best I can in the present moment.

Which is all we can ever ask of ourselves.

  • Loved this post. I’ve been in the same place mentally. Thanks for sharing.

  • Good advice. This is a hard one for me. I sometimes get so frustrated with the present, the process, and waiting….but I am working toward a one step at a time outlook. But geeze, it can be so exhausting! I get tired of resume building, planning, and being responsible. I long for some semblance of resolution. I am not sure if I even know how to enjoy the present because for me only the end result exists (and I don’t even know what that looks like)! Thanks for the reminder to be patient and approach the things that “went wrong” differently.

  • I totally get like this too. I’m also quite the perfectionist and beat myself up for not having the perfect life. Instead of trying to build a better life and appreciate what I have, I sit paralyzed by perfection and take the good things for granted. Thanks for the reminder to do the best we can at the present moment.

  • Ana

    Thank you for this post! I can definitely sympathize with the situation. I always dream big (which is not the bad part) but sometimes forget that those are long-term goals, and get into the worst mood because my goals haven’t become reality yet. Taking it step by step and focusing on the things that I can actually change (and maybe control) NOW is great advice and something that I always need to remind myself.

  • Patricia

    I do this too. My husband and I have had many talks about goals, (or in your case, intentions) that you can control, and those you cannot. Ultimately it is easy to beat yourself up for things that you truly cannot control (i.e. having kids, getting married, or etc). I have been working on this too, trying to focus on the things I can control instead of getting frustrated over the things I cannot.

  • This post absolutely resinates with me… especially the age 26 part. At 26 I thought I would be in a much different place in my career, I was trying to decide if I was even happy in my current job, and I couldn’t figure out why buying my dream home seemed like light years away! Fast forward a few years, the housing bubble busted, I busted out of my creativeless job & I am setting goals for myself on a daily basis. Sometimes it is so hard to see beyond your current state, but you have to dream BIG & plan bigger! Love this blog!

  • Thank you for writing this! I feel like this post put everything I have been feeling into words… right down to the dream house, theoretical children, trip to Italy and ideal income.

  • Jenny

    Thank you so much for sharing, Jess. I feel like I’ve been going through a very similar situation with not wanting to wait for those further down the line intentions and feeling frustrated and unhappy that I can’t just fix it now. It totally helps to know someone else is feeling the same way. Just what I needed to read today, and keep reminding myself too!

  • I definitely struggle with this as well. I constantly compare myself to others and find myself lacking. This is especially the case in the blogging world – I’m new, yet I don’t want to give myself time to be new. I want to have the prettiest layout, the best posts, etc without building to get there. The idea that everyone starts somewhere may be cliche, but it’s true.

  • Sarah vL

    I rarely comment, but I had to reach out and say THANK YOU. This post came at exactly the right time for me, and I am so grateful. I am going through/feeling exactly what you described up there, and I really needed to read this. Thank you for helping me, and thank you for reminding me that it’s okay to not have everything right at this exact moment. 🙂 I recommend this blog to everyone I know, and I’m so grateful that I read this post today!

  • Thanks for sharing Jess! Once I realized what I truly wanted in many aspects of my life, I felt the urge to get there now and very disappointed that my husband had no desire to go that direction. I still battle with this and with Lifebook around the corner for me, I am sure I am going to be faced with that gleaming “NOW” again. I do know that we are meant to enjoy the process and although I will not stop focussing on my ideal life, I hope to sit back more often than not and be happy with each step that brings me closer.

  • Pingback: in the middle | Makeunder My Life()

  • I wish I could explain what I’m thinking as eloquently as you have done above but just know that that second to last statement is going straight into the front of my business journal.x

  • Marguerite/chicspace

    Just a thought: seems like you focused on nouns….maybe focus on verbs? How do you want to be living, what do you want to be doing? Those things are more readily attainable than nouns. At least I think they are 🙂

  • Pingback: living life with open hands | Makeunder My Life()

  • Thank you everyone for sharing your own stories about where you struggle (and succeed) in this area! I feel so much better knowing that I’m not the only one going through this stuff.

    Christine, enjoy Lifebook and be sure to check in with your husband as you go along. Doing it together I think is a really cool thing.

    Marguerite, you did hit the nail on the head. Yes, nouns were the source of a lot of stress, but there were dozens of verbs that I didn’t mention in this post as well which I’ve honestly been scared to even look at. I think I made so many new verb intentions that it was pretty unrealistic to do them all, all at once. So right now I’m focusing on as few nouns and verbs as possible! Over time, I hope that I decompress and can add verbs back into my life without feeling like I’m somehow worse off if I don’t do them as intended. Honestly, it’s a tricky balance at this point with so much guilt and stress in my mind.

  • What a wonderful post! Thank you for your honesty. I related to every word. I’ve just started reading your blog and I’ve really been enjoying these “Back to Basics” posts. You, my dear, are wise beyond your years!

    xo
    Naomi

  • Nicole

    Thank you so much for this post. Last week, I had moments like this, where everything I dream of felt urgent, necessary. I want to start a successful business and move into my dream house right now. But I’m not sure right now is even the right time. I don’t think I could actually do it all if it were dropped into my lap. I love the idea of “intention” being “flexible, gentle, and kind”. Exactly what I need to be to myself right now. Thanks again.

  • I really liked this entry because I honestly felt like I could relate to it. You express yourself so beautifully and i just wanted to say that I continue to be inspired by you.

  • Pingback: how to be successful in 2014 | Jess Lively()

GOT A QUESTION? CLICK HERE

WANT TO SUBMIT YOURSELF OR SOMEONE ELSE FOR THE LIVELY SHOW?

WOULD YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW MAKE A GREAT LIVELY SHOW GUEST? PLEASE SUBMIT! YOUR INFO OR SOMEONE ELSES' INFO HERE.

WANT TO LEARN HOW TO LIVE FROM VALUES-BASED INTENTIONS?

JESS' ONLINE COURSE LIFE WITH INTENTION ONLINE TEACHES YOU JUST THAT! SIGN UP FOR UPDATES HERE.

HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT YOUR INTENTION TATTOO ORDER?

PLEASE EMAIL ASHLEY AT JESS@JESSLC.COM directly.

GUEST POST + BLOG ADVERTISING POLICY.

DUE TO THE FORMAT OF MY WORK, I DO NOT ACCEPT GUEST POSTS OR BLOG ADVERTISING (SPONSORSHIP IS ONLY AVAILABLE FOR THE LIVELY SHOW PODCAST AND YOU CAN MORE INFO BY SUBMITTING HERE).

YES! I AM AN AMAZON AFFILIATE.

WHICH MEANS AMAZON ITEMS (SUCH AS BOOKS) I GENUINELY LIKE AND RECOMMEND MAY EARN ME A COMMISSION.

WANT A LITTLE EXTRA DOSE OF INTENTION IN YOUR INBOX?
YES PLEASE!

Contact us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.