Who Are You Looking At, Part 3 – Winter of Discontent

Winter of Discontent

Winter is here and boy is it going on boujie. Gale force winds, hail, floods and now 10 inches of snow. Please believe this blog post is coming to you from under the duvet – my plan is to hibernate here until this winter of discontent is over.

The duvet is also sheltering me from transient winds on all fronts – the past few weeks have been crazy! Everyone seems to be facing a bleak season. If it isn’t issues with health, it’s been problems with relationships, or finances and work.  I mean, the year was going relatively well but then along comes winter and its all change. Isn’t that typical of life though?

Winter of discontent

Last week I came across this quote, “you are one decision away from a totally different life”.

Many of us are facing our season of discontent because of the decisions we’ve made. Life can deal us a set of circumstances totally out of our control; however as part of the What Are You Looking At series, we’re really trying to focus on taking responsibility for the things we can change. So, if we’re only one decision away from a different life, why are the decisions we’re making leading to discontent?

Here are three key factors (all inter-related) that seem to drive our decision making process:

1. Impression management – Our decisions are driven by what others do/don’t think about us. Very few of us are immune to impression management; to a lesser or greater degree we’ve become identity marketers, with our own particular way of constructing an impression of ourselves that we then sell to others. Once people start buying into us, it reinforces our impression management process. The issue is, when impression management goes unchecked we being to make decisions that are cold, careless and disconnected from reality. The person we’re selling becomes more important than the person we really are.

Winter of discontent

Winter of discontent

2. A broken reality checker – put simply, we have over-indulged ideas of who we are and how others should treat us because we’ve been allowed to go unchecked for some time. And guess what drives force many of our over-indulged decisions? Drum roll please…yes you’ve guessed it…INSECURITIES. And again, non of us are immune. We all have hang-ups that have lead us into doing some really dumb stuff.

3. Seeing stress as a status symbol – Paraphrasing Desmond Tutu (Made for Goodness) – we’re always anxiously striving for something. For many of us being stressed out in pursuit of whatever goal has become our status symbol. Our decisions are driven by an idea that more stress equals more importance; more stress equals more ambitious; more stress equals closer to becoming perfect.

Winter of discontent

Truth is, more stress equals a bleak winter; when we couple stress with a broken reality checker and a life time of impression management it leads cycles of discontentment.

We all have a desire to seek peace, but peace is manifested through the choices we make. The decisions we make between seeing the lightening and hearing the thunder can mean the difference between perpetual discontentment and a life of relative peace.

Winter of discontent

Winter of discontent

If we feel rejected, make the decision to accept others. If we want to be understood, make the decision to give people the opportunity to get to know who we really are. Yes life at the minute may not be rainbows and sparkles and your winter of discontent seems like it will never end but why not make the decision to find beauty in the struggle?

As I peek my head out of the duvet and look outside, the world looks so beautiful. I see a blanket of clean crisp snow – untouched, just waiting for me to make my mark. Remember, we’re just on decision away from a totally different life.

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