The Cost of Saving Yourself

5 years ago
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"I had the most amazing conversation with her about my goals and my fears. It was so emotional, but so positive at the same time," she told me.

"So are you going to do it? I think it sounds awesome!"

"Well, if I do it I'm going to have to go without pretty much everything for the next year, because it's really expensive. Like no cable, no shopping, no crossfit, no gym, nothing."

She told me the cost, and my eyebrows shot straight up.

"That's insane. It's a wonderful program, but that's insane."

And there it is in a nutshell. My friend and I were talking about what was an admittedly amazing opportunity to be part of a small group of women who would receive personalized life coaching and mentoring by a leader both of us admire. I was proud of her for putting herself out there by applying and getting through that conversation. It's not easy to share all of those fears, especially with someone you don't know personally. But when she told me the financial investment involved, I couldn't help but feel disappointed and a bit ticked off. How are we supposed to "save" ourselves if the resources to do so are so damn expensive?

Credit Image: Martin Cathrae on Flickr

I go back and forth on this point. I believe these life coaches I follow through social media who send me their affirmations and messages should be compensated for personalized services. No question. What grates is that it seems that enlightenment I'm seeking is constantly dangled in front of me, but I can't have it because my pockets just aren't deep enough.

I've lost count of how many times I've been advised to quit my job and follow my passion. Let's leave the "figuring-out-what-my-passion-is" part of this scenario out of the equation for now. Quitting my job as per my life coach's instruction will not only get me out of a negative situation that only serves to reinforce fears and keep me locked in an endless cycle of mental torture ("Why am I here? I'm wasting my life at this desk"), but it will also open me up to the life I was born to live. I'll be free to explore my heart's desires and share my true self with the world because I've freed myself from the clutches of this deadweight job.

There's also an element of courage and self-congratulation here. By stepping up and walking away, you're proving that you can challenge yourself to be more than what society expects you to be. You're immediately a rebel, flipping the finger to the status quo ... or you know, a peaceful and loving version of that. Who doesn't want to be a rebel for self-love?

Okay, I can swing with that. Heck, I've made plans to do exactly that. I shoved the fear-induced nausea down to the pit of my stomach when I thought about how I was going to deal with the repercussions of quitting my job and got lost in the dream of being free. I had a target date and everything. And then I woke up.

Reality manages to force its way back sooner or later. I mean, I have bills. Lots of them. I support my parents financially. I have three weddings to attend this year and all of the associated parties and gifts that go with. Babies are born. Anniversaries are celebrated. There are happy hours and trips and maybe a pair of pants that I want to buy one day. Everything costs money. And as much as I'd like to come into work on Monday, and say "See ya later, suckas!" (or some variation), pack my bags and move to an ashram, I have to look at the big picture.

I suppose you could say that I might be missing the point. That maybe I haven't quite reached the place I need to be to be able to make that sort of decision. Or that I'm still being ruled by my fears, so I still have more work to do. You see, I end up right where I always seem to find myself, which is a place of blame. I can't be a rebel for self-love, because I'm too damn scared to jump off the financial cliff. Too damn scared to take the biggest of risks no matter how bright and shiny and green that other side may be. And maybe this means that all of this self-love work I've put in the last couple of months isn't really getting me anywhere.

So it's with some frustration and a bit of unease that I open my Monday morning affirmation emails and see the same job-quitting advice make its way in there. I hear you guys, I do, but I also don't want to be hounded by collection agencies for the rest of my life. Is that wrong?

What does one do? Well I suppose now that I've gotten this off of my chest, I can say that there are always choices and that I can learn to have faith in the direction I follow.

I proposed something to my friend after we spoke about this program that she'd have to turn down. We've been each other's sounding boards for most of this self-love journey both of us have been on this past year. The tools are there, and we're comfortable using the language these leaders use to describe the work, which is something not all of our friends can relate to. We also have the added benefit of trusting each other with this emotional process. We have everything we need to be our own coaches.

"Let's be each other's cheerleaders," I said, "and screw that price tag."

And that's when it dawned on me. Here's that faith I keep harping on and on about. As much as I love following my guru and as much as I soak up the support emails from various leaders like it's essential to my very survival, I realize that I can't imbue them with all of the power in my relationship with myself. In other words, I have an active role to play here, as well. Any leader can give you the guidance that comes from their experiences, but tell me, what can be more powerful than using my own experiences to get me past this rough patch and into a brighter future?

I'll still want to attend seminars, take a weekend trip to Kripalu, or travel to India to hear my gurus speak and share their teachings. And sure, I'll still want to quit my job since I know this isn't where I'm meant to be. But I also can't ignore the rest of my life by trading in one stress for another. What I can do is trust in myself and in my friendships to help reshape my environment piece by piece. And that's free of charge.