Where Are You Swimming and Who is it With?

“A shark in a fish tank will grow 8 inches, but in the ocean it will grow to 8 feet or more. The shark will never outgrow its environment and the same is true about you. Many times we’re around small thinking people so we don’t grow. Change your environment and watch your growth.”

It’s pretty scary to stand on the shore of the ocean and think about diving in and swimming all by yourself. It’s mysterious, beautiful, haunting, inviting and intimidating all at once.

We might be a bit intimidated by the enormity of it, but a shark thinks nothing of swimming there. It knows it thrives there and that it is at home.

But what of people who have outgrown their environment and the people in it? Where do they go? What do they do? It’s a real predicament because while they have become conditioned to swimming in a bowl, they know if they stay there, all that they desire and dream about will never be obtained. You see, it is impossible to dream big in an environment and with people who dream small.

People who fear this change will remain in the bowl, no matter how uncomfortable or unhappy they are. But those brave souls who feel called to do more and be more, know they have no choice but to leave because staying in the bowl is keeping them small when they have the potential to be really big.

If you have outgrown your environment or the people in it, you know you can no longer swim in the bowl. This is going to greatly upset those in the bowl who are content with the way things are. There will be questioning, backlash, and many attempts to make you feel guilty or responsible for them somehow, just to keep you in the bowl. This is by design.

Have you ever noticed that when you are doing well, someone comes along and distracts you? I recently heard this brilliant woman who has an Instagram account called, “The Quietest Revolution” explain it like this: one of the easiest ways to get someone to consistently and constantly fail, is to distract them. Who is always distracting you when you are doing well? I bet it’s someone swimming in the bowl that you have outgrown.

Love with conditions wants to keep you in a bowl you’ve outgrown. Love without them wants you to keep swimming and actually encourages you to. Love without conditions is not bothered by the changes in you, they are intrigued and maybe even inspired to do the same.

So if you currently find yourself standing at the edge of the ocean right now, with no one by your side, you must have gone through some pretty tough stuff. And while others may question what you are doing or try and stop you, you feel a sense of calm and you no longer feel the need to explain yourself to anyone.

This is freedom. Freedom from caring what others think and knowing that anyone who really loves you wants what is best for you, not what keeps them feeling comfortable.

You are not here to play small. And staying in the bowl with people who are threatened by your playing big is not only doing yourself a disservice, it is doing them and the world one as well.

So go ahead…dive into that ocean! Allow yourself to swim without barriers, boundaries and restrictions and watch with wonder where it takes you.

Bonds

I’m not talking about municipal, savings or corporate bonds, I am talking about the bonds between people and how they are created and maintained.

Have you ever noticed that when you have good news to share, no one reacts or responds to it the way you wished, had hoped, maybe even expected them to?

Think about it. When was the last time you shared some really good news about something you did and got the bare minimum of enthusiasm. But when you had some bad news, boy oh boy did people rally around you.

It’s interesting isn’t it? People love to bond over bad news, but not so much the good kind.

If you talk about the state of the world right now with a person who thinks all is gloom and doom and you share the same view, you will bond instantly with them. You’ll feel like they get you, they hear you, they see where you are coming from and you will both feel understood, validated even, in your opinions.

If you take the opposite view with someone who thinks all is gloom and doom, you will clash. They will probably disagree with you, argue with you about it, or dismiss you altogether. But that’s not your reality. Your reality is that things aren’t that bad and you trust that they will get better, so that is where your focus is.

But because you aren’t responding or reacting the way in which they expect you to, you will be seen as insensitive. Everyone who agrees with their view of the world being at a loss will be seen as a saint, even people who aren’t so saintly. They will bond all day long about this topic and you’ll probably come up in a conversation or two about how outlandish your beliefs are. But talking with others about people who don’t agree with your views or respond in the way you do doesn’t strengthen bonds, it severs them.

Why do we so easily bond over bad news? Does it give us an opportunity to make us feel good about ourselves? Is it because it makes us feel better that someone else is going through it this time instead of us? Are we able to find empathy because a person in need makes us feel more needed? Does it give us an opportunity to be there for someone when we haven’t been there otherwise?

And why do we find it more difficult to bond with someone who is doing well? Are we threatened by them? Do they make us feel inadequate? Jealous? Envious? Lacking somehow? We don’t want to feel any of these things, but somehow other people’s success can do this to us. We won’t admit this of course, so it’s easier to act like we care very little about their accomplishments and care far more about their failures instead.

If a person is doing well, often times they won’t even share their news with others. This is because they have shared good news before and didn’t get the response they had hoped for, so they save their good news for those who share the same passion.

Interesting isn’t it? A bad news bonder expects one reaction and if they don’t get it they are disappointed and a good news bonder expects another reaction and if they don’t get that, they are also disappointed. But neither of them will ever get it from one another. So how do two opposing bonders, bond?

In order to maintain a bond, they have to be willing to accept that not everyone is going to respond to their news the way they do and be okay with it. All that really matters, is that they come from a loving place and respond in the best way they know how or are capable of. If we expect more or find ourselves disappointed by their response, then instead of telling others about it, we have to be honest with them and let them know instead.

And if we can’t be honest with someone about what we want or need from them without it being met with backlash, anger, manipulation or find ourselves actually apologizing after expressing ourselves, then it’s probably not a bond worth keeping.