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Not This

Old 04-09-2016, 11:35 AM
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Not This

Saw this article below on a dear friends facebook wall... read it-- over and over... It's amazing.

Thought that this was perhaps a sticky worthy post (admins?) because it so beautifully sums up the idea that I know was so damn hard for me and is probably hard for a lot of us, that we do NOT have to be absolutely, quantifiably sure in order to say "no, not this" and make changes that are good for us....

The author is Elizabeth Gilbert... I'll post as a reply below, what my own feelings were upon reading it-- Just had to share it with you all!


Dear Ones -

Most of us, at some point in our lives (unless we have done everything perfectly...which is: nobody) will have to face a terrible moment in which we realize that we have somehow ended up in the wrong place — or at least, in a very bad place.

Maybe we will have to admit that we are in the wrong job. Or the wrong relationship. With the wrong people around us. Living in the wrong neighborhood. Acting out on the wrong behaviors. Using the wrong substances. Pretending to believe things that we no longer believe. Pretending to be something we were never meant to be.

This moment of realization is seldom fun. In fact, it's usually terrifying.

I call this moment of realization: NOT THIS.

Because sometimes that's all you know, at such a moment.

All you know is: NOT THIS.

Sometimes that's all you CAN know.

All you know is that some deep life force within you is saying, NOT THIS, and it won't be silenced.

Your body is saying: "NOT THIS."

Your heart is saying: "NOT THIS."

Your soul is saying: "NOT THIS."

But your brain can't bring itself to say "NOT THIS", because that would cause a serious problem. The problem is: You don't have a Plan B in place. This is the only life you have. This is the only job you have. This is the only spouse you have. This is the only house you have. Your brain says, "It may not be great, but we have to put up with it, because there are no other options." You're not sure how you got here — to this place of THIS — but you sure as hell don't know how to get out...

So your brain says: "WE NEED TO KEEP PUTTING UP WITH THIS, BECAUSE THIS IS ALL WE HAVE."

But still, beating like a quiet drum, your body and your heart and your soul keep saying: NOT THIS...NOT THIS...NOT THIS.

I think some of the bravest people I have ever met were people who had the courage to say the words, "NOT THIS" outloud — even before they had an alternative plan.

People who walked out of bad situations without knowing if there was a better situation on the horizon.

People who looked at the life they were in, and they said, "I don't know what my life is supposed to be...but it's NOT THIS." And then they just...left.

I think my friend who walked out of a marriage after less than a year, and had to move back in with her mother (back into her childhood bedroom), and face the condemnation of the entire community while she slowly created a new life for herself. Everyone said, "If he's not good enough for you, who will be?" She didn't know. She didn't know anything about what her life would look like now. But it started with her saying: NOT THIS.

I think of my friend who took her three young children away from a toxic marriage, despite that fact that her husband supported her and the kids financially...and the four of them (this woman and her three children) all slept in one bed together in a tiny studio apartment for a few years, while she struggled to build a new life. She was poor, she was scared, she was alone. But she had to listen to the voices within her that said, NOT THIS.

I think of friends who walked out of jobs — with no job waiting for them. Because they said NOT THIS.

I think of friends who quit school, rather than keep pretending that they cared about this field of study anymore. And yes, they lost the scholarship. And yes, they ended up working at a fast food restaurant, while everyone else was getting degrees. And yes, it took them a while to figure out where to go next. But there was a relief at last in just surrendering to the holy, non-negotiable truth of NOT THIS.

I think of friends who bravely walked into AA meetings and just fell apart in front of a room full of total strangers, and said, NOT THIS.

I think of a friend who pulled her children out of Sunday School in the middle of church one Sunday because she'd had it with the judgment and self-righteousness of this particular church. Yes, it was her community. Yes, it was her tribe. But she physically couldn't be in that building anymore without feeling that she would explode. She didn't know where she was going, spiritually or within her community, but she said, NOT THIS. And walked out.

Rationally, it's crazy to abandon a perfectly good life (or at least a familiar life) in order to jump into a mystery. No sane person would advise you to make such a leap, with no Plan B in place. We are supposed to be careful. We are supposed to be prudent.

And yet....

And yet.

If you keep ignoring the voices within you that say NOT THIS, just because you don't know what to do, instead...you may end up stuck in NOT THIS forever.

You don't need to know where you are going to admit that where you are standing right now is wrong.

The bravest thing to say can be these two words.

What comes next?

I don't know. You don't know. Nobody knows. It might be worse. It might be better. But whatever it is...? It's NOT THIS.

ONWARD,
LG
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Old 04-09-2016, 11:44 AM
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So, when I read that article above, I had SO many reactions... all good, but a lot of feelings swirled...

I have to admit to smiling as I read it, as opposed to cringing or wishing I was strong enough to do the things she writes of... Smiling.

After years, a lifetime actually, of being that woman who was "waiting"-- waiting for things to be neat, waiting for absolute clarity, waiting for some guarantee from the universe of absolute security before I made absolutely necessary, life changing decisions-- decisions that my kids deserved to have happen a lot sooner than they did- I finally lept some years ago... I said "not this" anymore.

I pissed a lot of you off with my indecision, my arguing and rationalizing staying.... It was always due to fear. Fear that my instinct that "not this" wasn't enough to base a decision on wasn't enough.

But it was.

I decided finally, too late probably to undo some of the damage to my kids, that knowing I did not want the status quo anymore was enough.

I did not know what would happen when I decided to say "not this" anymore.

I was scared- all the time- every day- for years. I still am sometimes. Saying "not this" is unrelentingly terrifying when you don't know what might come next.

Everything turned upside down. My entire life changed.

Now, a few years into this new life journey, I still have periods where I struggle with trusting that "not this" and leaping is enough (the taxes issue as just one example)

But as I read this article I recognized that I am well enough on the other side now that I find myself hearing others so often being that old me: rationalizing, saying "I have to wait until X before I can do Y" and it's been hard to be patient and empathetic to their plight, even though I was there once too... Because I know that settling for "not this" is just not worth it...

I have lost friends and family relationships in the last two years because of my refusal to engage in dysfunction that I do have a choice to remove myself from. And while there are twinges of sadness about the positive memories that won't continue to exist, knowing that I was sure in my decision of "not this" actually makes the losses not so hard.

There is a lot more peace in my life since I started being able to say "not this"; that of course is counter intuitive for me since I would have been the first to argue that unpredictability and leaping into the unknown (thus my avatar of Scaredy Squirrel- check out the kids book if you haven't) was the opposite way to find peace. But I was dead wrong.

At this stage of the game if something has the "not this" feel, I dont wait around, I don't doubt myself forever... I value that my sense that "not this" is accurate and I am not afraid to take leaps of faith and make changes when need be even if there is no safety net or guarantee. I need to start being willing to do this sooner- without needing so much reassuring (thank you to all who helped with the tax issue and helped me be brave enough to stand up to xAH) but I am doing it as opposed to not.

I am finally, 4+ decades into this life adventure, totally okay saying "no, not this"...I don't have to be able to quantify, rationalize, justify, or have anyone else agree with me. That's pretty huge.

Sounds easy I suppose and for some who are further along the healthy journey than I am I bet it is easier.... but anyone who has known me a long time would know it's nothing short of a miracle for me to be able to be saying this and living this.

4 decades plus some of being a person who thought that seeing something through, be it a toxic relationship, a friendship that had run its course, a way of interacting etc... even when it was destroying me, was a requirement, has been a hard habit to break.

I think that I can say I'm well on my way to breaking it- finally.

"Not this". It sums it up doesn't it?!

Amazing!
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Old 04-09-2016, 11:48 AM
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Thank you for this

This is exactly where my daughter and I are stuck right now, so thanks! This is just what I needed today.
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Old 04-09-2016, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Flavia2 View Post
This is exactly where my daughter and I are stuck right now, so thanks! This is just what I needed today.
I was stuck there for YEARS so if you're stuck there just today, you're leaps and bounds ahead of me.

I know that people here told me this 10,000 times in 10,000 ways but something about the simplicity of "not this" is just stunning me today--

So glad someone else loved it as much as I did!
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Old 04-09-2016, 11:53 AM
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When I left my house two weeks ago, I said to myself in the car that this isn't what I want my life to be.

Great read
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Old 04-09-2016, 11:55 AM
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I am simultaneously moved by reading this article and full of such intense regret it makes me want to cry, that I was stuck in the "not this" but not willing to leave "not this" for so long.

Txjeepguy- your posts and your strength have been an inspiration! Truly. Hope you are hanging in there.
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Old 04-09-2016, 12:06 PM
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I know this is really a friends and family thread, but I have to say ....

This is one of the best posts I've seen in some time.

The dilemma between staying temporary safe, financially, social position or otherwise, and taking a step into the "unsafe" place to change is sooooo scary. I've done it before and am struggling to do it again.

I am a "friend/family" and an "alkie addict".

Even if you are neither .... this is what I have found needs to be focused on. Make the jump.

I'm still working up my courage, but this sort of thinking (from the original post) is what is pushing me forward to make the jump.

Thank you!

Nands
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Old 04-09-2016, 12:36 PM
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Thanks so much for sharing that. That's pretty much what my moment of clarity looked like when I decided to quit drinking. And when I left my husbands, not knowing how things would ultimately shake out, but knowing that "THIS" was not for me. And when I moved back across the country to take my old job after the second marriage tanked within a matter or months.

NOT THIS--it's powerful, when you listen.
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Old 04-09-2016, 02:22 PM
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NOT THIS. Sums up perfectly my decision to leave...and many other decisions. Thank you, friend, for posting. One of the best things I've read in a while.
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Old 04-09-2016, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
Thanks so much for sharing that. That's pretty much what my moment of clarity looked like when I decided to quit drinking. And when I left my husbands, not knowing how things would ultimately shake out, but knowing that "THIS" was not for me. And when I moved back across the country to take my old job after the second marriage tanked within a matter or months.

NOT THIS--it's powerful, when you listen.
Me too. That's what my final leaving of xAH was. It was a "oh my god, I can not live this way anymore because I will end up dead if I don't leap"...

There was no "oh it's all together and I know what will come" moment.

It was years of scared sh*tlessness and figuring out myself (still am).

But not this was enough... thank god...
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Old 04-09-2016, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Forourgirls View Post
NOT THIS. Sums up perfectly my decision to leave...and many other decisions. Thank you, friend, for posting. One of the best things I've read in a while.
Sums it up perfectly for me too... I read it and knew I had to share it here!
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Old 04-09-2016, 03:57 PM
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I think the best thing about this (I read it again) is that for me, being such a planner by nature, my NOT this moment was just that-I had no idea what I was walking into or where my life would go-not a clue or plan-but I knew damn well it was NOT THIS. There is so much beauty and strength and courage in those words.
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Old 04-09-2016, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Forourgirls View Post
I think the best thing about this (I read it again) is that for me, being such a planner by nature, my NOT this moment was just that-I had no idea what I was walking into or where my life would go-not a clue or plan-but I knew damn well it was NOT THIS. There is so much beauty and strength and courage in those words.
Ditto! We are long lost twins I think, you and I! I am Type A (and being with an A made me even more so) to the nth degree...

So the trusting that "not this" was enough to go on with NO real plan to go forward was / is TERRIFYING.

I have re-read this so many times today... I think I may print it for my fridge bc I have moments daily where I need to draw on this mentality and I could use to have it with me 24:7/
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Old 04-09-2016, 04:38 PM
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wantobehealthy......this article (which id verrry good)....is parallel to the caterpillar analogy.....
The caterpillar will become a butterfly when the discomfort of staying a caterpillar exceeds the pain of becoming a butterfly.....One will leave when the fear of staying is greater than the fear of leaving.....

When I decided to divorce my first husband....I can still remember the split second when I thought....."I cannot stay with this"........

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Old 04-09-2016, 04:49 PM
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^ for me, the difference was this: hundreds of times I had said and prayed about "I can't stay with this". The difference for me was when I said "I'm not going to stay with this ". Not one more second.

Dandy-thank you for the caterpillar analogy. Exactly. When the sheer pain and fear of leaving outweighs the pain and fear of staying,

Important stuff, WTBH! Yes, I feel our paths are extremely parallel
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Old 04-09-2016, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
...Thought that this was perhaps a sticky worthy post ...
Wow, awesome post and thread. Done stickied under "Classic Reading".

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Old 04-09-2016, 04:55 PM
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^ wahoo!!! Thanks, mike! Amazing words and thoughts going on here
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Old 04-09-2016, 05:07 PM
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Great piece of writing by Elizabeth Gilbert. I read her book Eat, Pray, Love.

I left my qualifier before it became anything very bad. I charted a course based on the red flags and left the Northern Hemisphere. We didn't live together, weren't married, no kids and I had the money to just get the hell out of the country. A quarter of a century later, it is still the hardest thing I've ever done. So question for those of you who stayed in the situation until it became really bad . . .

How do we support those who are in that "Not this" position? The pain I went through has eternally humbled me so I understand why people stay. Also we are not supposed to offer advice just our own experience; still on several occasions, I have posted the equivalent of "Get out now!!!"
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Old 04-09-2016, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Forourgirls View Post
^ wahoo!!! Thanks, mike! Amazing words and thoughts going on here
/\ +1

Wish I could have said what Elizabeth Gilbert did, with her eloquence and simplicity-- When I saw that post on my friends FB wall today I couldn't share it here fast enough!

It is a good reminder to me of where I have been, where I am now and where I will have to continue working to be...
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Old 04-09-2016, 05:34 PM
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Excellent article. Thanks for sharing.

I recall in the summer of 2013 when I said “NOT THIS”, I did not have a plan B. It didn’t matter. I had enough. I also felt that continuing to live in my alcoholic marriage would kill me.

RAH has been sober since that time. Attends meetings 5 days a week. Life is much better. What I didn’t realize at that time was stopping the drinking was only the first step. Embracing recovery and working the program requires time and patience.

I find myself today considering NOT THIS. His unacceptable behavior, holding a resentment towards me without taking the time to talk to me like an adult about his feelings and having that resentment be reflected on me in the same manner as if he were drinking is tiring.

I attended a meeting today and walked away with some golden nuggets that I’m sure will help me on my journey.

Thanks for your experience, strength and hope. You are awesome!
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