Why Letting Go Of Magical Thinking Allowed Me Happiness
By: Ryan D. Daniels
“This is your life. This is your life. This is your life.” This the mantra I repeat to myself every morning when I first wake up and look in my bathroom mirror. This is my life. My raggedy car, my oddly shaped body, my stressful job, the cold other side of my bed, and the list goes on of the things that encompass my life. This is my life.
In a perfect world I’d wake up to a Mercedes Benz in my parking space, the body of Bernice Burgos, a job where my skills and talents were properly utilized and I rightfully compensated with a tall, chocolate intelligent man waking up next to me. But this isn’t a perfect world and that may be someone’s life but it isn’t mine.
I was introduced to magical thinking a year around when I was researching a topic. And I realized I was living a world full of magical thinking. Clinically, “magical thinking” is defined as the belief that one's own thoughts, wishes, or desires can influence the external world. So no, it’s not as fun or as whimsical as the name may make it seem.
Last year was a brutal year on me in all areas of my life. I was perpetually broke, I was unhappy, dealing with the constant mental blows inflicted upon me by an on and off again lover, overweight, and unemployed. I had no idea where I was going, what I was doing, and how I’d get there. I settled for a job because I needed one, I slowly pulled my physical health back together, my finances have slowly began to cobbled themselves together, and that lover, I’ll get to that in a minute.
I used to think that being a “good” woman would seal the deal and get me the man that I deserved. This is a perfect example of magical thinking making a correlation that simply does not exist. When I met this dude I thought I was to a point in my life where marriage was my dating goal. I put on my very best “good” girl traits on display; I was supportive, I demurred to him even when I knew I was right, I bit my tongue, I cooked for him, I did little things to let him know I cared. I did these things because I thought they’d seal the deal. Let’s all laugh collectively at my gullibility.
This went on and on and on and on and on until I realized that no matter how bad I wished he were mine and no matter how I shape shifted to make myself in the image of his dream women it wasn’t meant to be. I had to stop letting my magical thinking influence how I dealt with him. Too often I’d find myself letting my fantasies obscure my realities with dating. I let my wishes cloud my vision of what was there. I’d excuse poor behavior because of what I imagined in my mind. I’d ignore burning red flags because of what I wanted it to me and all it did was leave me hurt, feeling used, embarrassed, and embittered.
I had to snatch my own proverbial wig. I had to read myself for filth and get real. Since April, my BS meter has been fine-tuned and my tolerance for BS has dropped to zero; blocks and ignores have been freely given out without apology. I’m not begging for anyone’s time, acknowledgement, or tolerance. If you want to be in my life, you’d govern yourself accordingly. These days I can go days on end without getting a text from a member of the opposite sex and I’m perfectly okay with that. This is my life.
I have struggled for a long time with how I think my life “should” be. I work hard so I should be better paid. I’m talented so I should be more acknowledged. I went to college and got a degree in an in-demand field so I should have a job making at least $75,000. But none of those things are so. Life doesn’t owe us anything nor does the universe shape itself to our whims, wills, or wants.
Last year, I hated my job. I hated getting up going to it, I hated when I got there and having to deal with people who didn’t respect me as a fellow professional, I hated being blamed for things completely beyond my control. I tried my hardest to find a new job but rejection email after rejection email cascaded into my inbox. A new job may be in the cards for me but that season has not yet arrived.
This year, I decided to make the best of my situation and keep things in perspective. My current position is not my final destination, period. What I can do right now is embrace the beauty in my struggles and work through it. I had to stop boxing with God and accept that this is my current season. This is my life.
Our personal lives do not have correlations. Being a good woman doesn’t mean you’ll be someone’s wife or girlfriend. Being a hard worker doesn’t mean you’ll be rewarded. Thinking something will never make it so.
Do not misunderstand me I am not saying be a cynic or to think negative. I am saying be positive but also be realistic.
I decided to let go of magical thinking because it made me chronically miserable and insufferable because all I could do was feel as if I was a victim of circumstance. I have decided to face what the life that is mine and look it squarely in the eye. The things that I can change I am working diligently to change them. The things that I cannot change I leave it with the universe and trust that it will be taken care of.
If you’re stuck living in your flights of fancy life will uppercut your ass every chance that it gets. You’re not going to wake up making $100,000 tomorrow if you weren’t making $100,000 yesterday. If that man wasn’t trying to make you his queen yesterday, no matter how much pandering you do today he won’t be your man tomorrow. Understand, that your life is your life; own it, change what you can, and forget the extras.
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