Authors: Jen Sincero
Tags: #Self-Help, #Nonfiction
© 2013 by Jen Sincero
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For my unfailingly sweet and supportive Dad and brother Stephen
And still, after all this time
the Sun has never said to the Earth
“You owe me.”
Look what happens with love like that. It lights up the sky.
You can start out with nothing, and out of nothing, and out of no way, a way will be made.
—Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith; former drug enthusiast turned spiritual enthusiast turned inspirational badass
I used to think quotes like this were a bunch of crap. I also didn’t understand what the hell they were talking about. I mean, not that I cared. I was too cool. What little I knew about the self-help/spiritual world I found to be unforgivably cheesy: it reeked of desperation, rah-rah churchiness and unwanted hugs from unappealing strangers. And don’t even get me started on how grouchy I used to be about God.
At the same time, there was all this stuff about my life that I desperately wanted to change and, had I been able to bulldoze through my holier-than-thouism, I could have really used some help around here. I mean, overall I was doing pretty well—I’d published a couple of books, had lots of great friends, a close family, an apartment, a car that ran, food, teeth, clothes, clean drinking water—compared to the majority of the planet, my life was a total cream puff. But compared to what I knew I was capable of, I was, shall we say, unimpressed.
I always felt like,
Come ON, this is the best I can do? Really? I’m going to make just enough to pay my rent this month? Again? And I’m going to spend another year dating a bunch of weirdoes so I can be in all these wobbly, noncommittal relationships and create even more drama? Really? And am I seriously going to question what my deeper purpose is and wallow in the misery of that quagmire for the millionth time?
It. Was. A. Snore.
I felt like I was going through the motions of living my lukewarm life with the occasional flare-ups of awesomeness here and there. And the most painful part was that deep down I KNEW I was a total rock star, that I had the power to give and receive and love with the best of ‘em, that I could leap tall buildings in a single bound and could create anything I put my mind to and . . .
What’s that? I just got a parking ticket? You have got to be kidding me, let me see that. I can’t afford to pay this, it’s like my third one this month! I’m going down there to talk to them right now
. . . then, doop de do, off I’d go, consumed once again by low-level minutiae, only to find myself, a few weeks later, wondering where those few weeks went and how it could possibly be that I was still stuck in my rickety-ass apartment, eating dollar tacos by myself every night.
I’m assuming if you’re reading this that there are some areas of your life that aren’t looking so good either. And that you know could be looking a whole lot better. Maybe you’re living with your soul mate and are joyfully sharing your gifts with the world, but are so broke that your dog is on his own if he wants to get fed. Maybe you’re doing great financially and you have a deep connection to your higher purpose, but you can’t remember the last time you wet your pants laughing. Or maybe you suck equally at all of the above and spend your free time crying. Or drinking. Or getting pissed off at all the meter maids who have precision timing and no sense of humor who, in your mind, are partly responsible for your personal financial crisis. Or maybe you have everything you’ve ever wanted but for some reason
you still feel unfulfilled.
This isn’t necessarily about making millions of dollars or helping solve the world’s problems or getting your own TV show, unless that’s your thing. Your calling could simply be to take care of your family or to grow the perfect tulip.
This is about getting mighty clear about what makes you happy and what makes you feel the most alive, and then creating it instead of pretending you can’t have it. Or that you don’t deserve it. Or that you’re a greedy egomaniacal fathead for wanting more than you already have. Or listening to what Dad and Aunt Mary think you
It’s about having the cojones to show up as the brightest, happiest, badassiest version of yourself, whatever that looks like to you.
The good news is that in order to do this, all you need to do is make one simple shift:
You need to go from
to change your life to
to change your life.
Wanting can be done sitting on the couch with a bong in your hand and a travel magazine in your lap.
Deciding means jumping in all the way, doing whatever it takes, and going after your dreams with the tenacity of a dateless cheerleader a week before prom night.
You’ll probably have to do things you never imagined you’d do because if any of your friends saw you doing it, or spending money on it, you’d never live it down. Or they’d be concerned about you. Or they’d stop being friends with you because now you’re all weird and different. You’ll have to believe in things you can’t see as well as some things that you have full-on proof are impossible. You’re gonna have to push past your fears, fail over and over again and make a habit of doing things you’re not so comfy doing. You’re going to have to let go of old, limiting beliefs and cling to your decision to create the life you desire like your life depends on it.
Because guess what? Your life does depend on it.
As challenging as this may sound, it’s nowhere near as brutal as waking up in the middle of the night feeling like someone parked a car on your chest, crushed under the realization that your life is zooming by and you have yet to start living it in a way that has any real meaning to you.
You may have heard stories about people who had these major breakthroughs when the shit really hit the fan—they found a lump or got their electricity turned off or were moments away from having sex with strangers to buy drugs when suddenly they woke up, transformed. But you don’t have wait until you hit rock bottom to start crawling out of your hole. All you have to do is make the decision. And you can make it right now.
There’s a great line from the poet Anaïs Nin that reads: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” This is how it was for me, and how I think it is for most people. My journey was a process (and still is) that started with my
to make some serious changes, regardless of what I had to do to make them. None of the things I’d already tried were working: mulling it over and over with my equally broke friends and my therapist, working my ass off, going out for a beer and hoping
it would take care of itself . . . I was at the point where I would try anything to get my act together, and Lawdy Lawd Lawd Lawd, it’s like the Universe was testing me to see just how serious I was.
I went to motivational seminars where they made me wear a name tag and high-five the person next to me while shouting, “You’re awesome and so am I!” I beat a pillow with a baseball bat and shrieked like I was on fire, I bonded with my spirit guide, participated in a group ceremony where I married myself, wrote a love letter to my uterus, read every self-help book under the sun, and spent blood-curdling amounts of money I did not have hiring private coaches.
Basically, I took one for the team.
If you’re new to the self-help world, I’m hoping this book will ease you into some of the basic concepts that totally changed my life so you can have a breakthrough, too, without making you want to run off screaming in the process. If you’ve already dipped your toe in the self-help pond, I hope it will say something in a new way that turns a light on so you can make some major shifts, create some tangible results, and someday wake up crying tears of giddy disbelief that you get to be you.