• Valentina Poletti

Running to the next best thing

We all do it to some degree and in some context. We are running after the ‘next best thing’, all the time. We convince ourselves that as we get that ‘next promotion’, our life will finally be smooth. Or as we get that new car, we’ll finally have the freedom we were looking for. Or as we get that next relationship, we will have the support we need. But as we keep hopping from the next to the next, it never happens, we ultimately end up always unsatisfied and looking for the next best thing.

I’ve done this in many contexts. Recently with regards to my work and my passion in general. I’ve been striving to reach a certain ‘something’, and somehow hopped between different countries, workshops, conferences, believing that it will get me to some ultimate goal of running my business successfully and smoothly. But it wasn’t long, before I realised that it didn’t really matter how much I searched for this external approval of sort, or how much I grew or how many workshops I took, and skills I learned. In fact I was tiring myself and draining myself to the degree that I made it harder for myself to work and to successfully run my business.

Today I decided to sink into this feeling and see where it originates. As I ran towards another oasis that turned out to be a mirage, I dove into this feeling of delusion and went into its origin. I soon started to see memories of my childhood, in which my parents would tell me to ‘be patient’ and to ‘trust them’, as they would eventually make sure I would be happy. And it never happened. They would give me some sugary foods to keep me quiet and patient. I was upset for some reason, or had some unsatisfied need that I expressed, and rather than that particular need or emotion being addressed by them, I was placed on ‘hold’ and told to trust that ‘external circumstances’ - i.e. them - would took care of it eventually. Which they never did.

Now I realise as an adult that my parents simply did not want to put up with me or my needs. They just wanted me to shut up and be quiet so they could continue doing their business, unbothered by my emotions. Unfortunately, as a child, I actually believed the story they told me to justify their behaviour. And so I internalised this belief that satisfaction must somehow come from external people and with patience. As opposed to, from our direct action.

As I processed the feeling of deep insatisfaction I was experiencing and suppressing and numbing in those memories, I let the illusion and the false beliefs dissolve, and allowed myself to see the reality that any success or any betterment can only come from our decision to take action and to create it. It ultimately comes from ourself.

As I resolved this shadow, as soon as I got home I immediately got to work and stopped thinking about the next best thing. I didn’t need to make myself, or to force myself to focus on my work. It came completely naturally, because it’s what I love doing. I was just blocked by that belief system into waiting for something better.

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