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Rescue Mentality

October 09, 2020

I am seeking my next relationship and in this time of home sequestering. Virtual dating applications make the most sense. One person wrote about getting a rescue dog sight unseen, meaning over the internet. Her success accepting a rescue dog from Tennessee completely over the internet caused her to express her hope to have similar success finding a human partner. I admit to feeling at times like a mutt or used goods, but I don’t think that would be a smart way to present myself even to her.

This idea of being a “rescue” or a “mutt” resonated with me. I went to sleep thinking I am a person who experiencing feelings deeply, yet I lived a majority of my life setting these aside. I was guided to not let feelings or emotions cloud my judgement or the moment. The Marlboro Man was the icon of my youth. The strong, rough, weather worn, stoic cowboy image of a man. I accepted this to be the way to succeed, the way to lead. I aspired to be a man’s man. I did a pretty good job at this. I didn’t show my feelings. I was aggressive when challenged and approached most everything as a competition.

The point is I assumed a role the same as an actor for a play. I inhabited that role to the point of losing contact with the core of who I really was. As a result, my learning and growth was from this external perspective. I won awards, gained promotions, and was able to change jobs being this man’s man. I felt the costs. I left a career as a salesman when my son was conceived because I knew the energy I was expending in sales would be better exerted at home. I went on a search for a different career. I connected with a role which utilized one of my core competencies. One in which I could rely upon who I was and how I thought. It meant I could let the costume go; suspend the charade I was performing as the salesman.

We are often molded by our decisions as youths and adolescents. These rules or roles were my security, it was my armor for the workplace as well as for relations of the heart. It took longer for me to learn this lesson in my personal relationships. All my experience was molded from the image of being the alpha male in the sport centric world in my High School. I chose the sports my brothers picked and the ones with the most fans. I wanted to wrestle in my junior year at the same time I was emerging as a leader on our basketball team. Playing baseball seemed like more fun than running laps preparing for the mile. I would have loved to have had more shop classes, but this wasn’t what someone destined for college was supposed to study. Each of these would have been possible if I spoke up. If I trusted my feelings to be of value. I might have learned what passion felt like. I would have at least launched into adulthood setting my course versus following someone else’s.

Purpose and your Own Path

To find the purpose in our lives requires paying attention and valuing my experiences. It requires my noticing what is filling my heart, scaring me, or weighing me down. These experiences are part of the clues we are given guiding us towards or away from what will be most satisfying in our lives. Purpose in our lives is not the easiest or the most accolades. It is the work we do that contributes to the world while also feeding our heart.

In my case as with many others, I accepted the teaching from my adolescent years that I did not know, and others knew best. My acceptance of those messages set the principles in place for how I would make many of my decisions. I inhabited a life designed by what I observed others were doing or what they were saying to be important and did not entertain what I considered to be of similar value. Again, I did prosper and by most would be credited with succeeding. However, my successes left me standing at the summit yearning for happiness. Thinking it would be found at the next goal, objective, or milestone.

Happiness is not a destination. Happiness is found during the journey. Happiness is found within and requires we notice our opinions, feelings, and experiences so we may make decisions that bring us joy.