I was pointed to an emotional piece on self-development and emotional decision making by Bethany Suckrow called "When Moving is Not the Magic Solution." It's a quick read, and seems to be talking about a very real concept: trying to change external factors to facilitate internal change. She thinks it didn't work out how she planned, which may be right. I think it worked out exactly how she needed it to.
I like that the article speaks indirectly about the predictive nature of our brains. In two places she refers to the narrative being much more beautiful than the actuality. Her brain (and, she expects that of the reader as well) had filled in the story's gaps with positive predictions. She didn't state this directly, maybe because she doesn't know what's happening, but what she's referring to is normal reaction: the brain of a healthy adult tends to fill gaps in information with happy, positive projections. The brains of depressed individuals tend to be more accurate in their predictions. Spend some time chewing on that.
Brains (especially those influenced by Facebook) also tend to share what makes our situation look positive. You can watch the author try to be honest about what happened in her situation, but she actually spends only a tiny amount of time describing the negatives and only in very general terms. It's as if her healthy brain is still monitoring and filtering what she shares, so as to keep her focussed on the positive aspects of her life.
Suckrow tried to present the reality of what moving means, but I think she missed the real issues, those being emotional. Even the hardships she talks about are as damaging emotionally and as difficult to get over internally as they are externally. It's really interesting to see that her conclusion is emotional even though she speaks only about functional changes and problems ("my mom had died"). She seems to still be caught in the trap of presenting empirical problems and information, even when she knows the struggle is emotional. Again, her brain seems to be in a healthy place, protecting her from both internal and external judgement about her emotional struggle in the situation.
Really lovely stuff. It's this stuff that makes me think that she got exactly what she needed: the space to fail, survive and prove to herself that her life isn't dependent on her mother or the stability of what she had in Chicago; that it's really dependent on her own work and actions. I think she found some beautiful conclusions, and I think we could enrich it more.
What if we changed: "Wherever we go, there we are."
Into: We can be, wherever we are.
Bethany thinks it this way, "Each of us absolutely have permission to pursue lives that make us content and fulfilled. But there is no magic formula, no reset button, no shortcut to a better version of our lives. There’s no quick leap into the future where everything is fine and nothing hurts." I don't agree with this.
I think that people who dare to take risks and seek more true answers (and to follow the path these answers necessitate) are able to make dramatic changes quickly. Given sufficient internal and external motivation for the change, people are able to move themselves internally without having to move anywhere physically. It may be tough for her to realize, but she actually got exactly the change she needed and should have expected if she had ignored her healthy brain and looked at realistic expectations.
So we need to decide if it's more important to be realistic, to post pictures of how our lives really happen or is it better to keep a presentation that's focused on how we want things to appear, how we want our lives to be. Our healthy brains know the answer they want.
Not that it's perfect, but it's a good song to accompany the post.