Yesterday I was listening to Storybrand by Donald Miller while doing some tedious spreadsheet work for business. A quote he mentioned was so good it stopped me in my tracks and I wrote in my open planner next to my laptop.
“When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.”
Isn’t that good? Because I’m a life coach, my mind immediately began spinning.
We overeat to distract ourselves from the truth that we’re not living a life we fill has meaning or purpose. We overdrink to distract ourselves from the truth that we’re not living a life we fill has meaning or purpose. We over NETFLIX to distract ourselves from the truth that we’re not living a life we fill has meaning or purpose.
Now, I’ve mostly figured this out because my behaviour typically looks like this these days:
- Clean home, hug kids, work, fulfilled, fun.
- OMG I am starving, I am SO HUNGRY. Must eat!
- Eat something healthy but delicious.
However my life used to look like this:
- I am so bored. Being a SAHM is dumb. Nobody respects me.
- At least I have mashed potatoes.
Here’s another example:
- Sigh. Another day, all I did was wipe buts and clean up.
- I’ll reward (distract) myself with Beer & Netflix.
That’s really simplifying it, but that usually makes a concept easier for me to understand. Because the plight of the SAHM has been beating me over the head for quite some time now, I took it in that context. When we seek these pleasures it’s not necessarily just because we have bad habits, we’re addicted to sugar and so forth. Perhaps it has more to do with being unfulfilled, with not being connected to our meaning or our purpose.
What happened, slowly, for me was that I really studied and worked on how important the SAHM role was. How every little thing I did made a difference and was important. I stopped looking externally for that validation, but started tracking it inside and with ,y creator.
For example, I started thinking that having a clean and organized home meant not only me but also my family could relax, feel at peace. I realized I was one of the most important factors in the well being of my family. By doing those things I considered mundane, I made our lives less stressful. There were less fights and less anxiety.
Likewise, I started to really wrap my mind around the fact that I was my son’s very best teacher. That I was uniquely qualified to bring him up and make him a really awesome human.
Really tuning into my purpose, especially in that season, lessened the need to distract myself. I could be proud and tuned in to what was going on.
Now, on the flip side I’ve also worked, gone to school and such. So, we can definitely take this concept there as well. If you are dialed into the day to day meaning and purpose of your life, I bet you won’t need to distract yourself with pleasures so much. If you’re doing work you feel called to do, you’re dialed in. If you’re doing work that you don’t feel called to do, you can dial into the fact that you’re providing for you and your family. That’s huge. And it can help you.
Let’s look at another example. I coach folks in the financial realm as well. This quote we’re studying applies here as well. You see, if we are not tuned into the meaning and purpose of being debt free, it will be super easy to distract ourselves with Amazon, TJ Maxx and going out to eat. However, if you are super tuned into the purpose of living financially free, of the feeling that gives you, the options it gives your family, the stress it takes away from your marriage…boy oh boy, you’ll find it much easier not to be distracted.
That’s all for today. I want you to think about the distractions in your life. Remember, pleasure in and of itself is not a bad thing. It’s ALLOWED! However, pleasure that comes at the expense of our best selves, our purpose and our ideal life is the kind of distraction we don’t need. So, think about your distractions. Think about your meaning, your purpose. How can you tune in?