We can have nice things
Updated: Feb 5
There is a phrase I hear often, usually said in jest: “This is why we can’t have nice things.” While it can be funny in a dry way, it also speaks to a larger truth. Here it is: if you don’t think you can have nice things, then you can’t.
What does this mean? It means that if you don't think you are worthy of nice things, nice things will never be yours to have. What are “nice things”? Anything that brings you comfort or joy. Material things, health, peace, traveling, happiness, a good partner. Anything that leads to a fuller, calmer life.
I know we all say we want these things. The eternal question is: how can we achieve them? Merely thinking about wanting them is not the way. We all can do that! No, we must travel deep within the depths of our souls, and thoughtfully examine: do we feel worthy of a full and peaceful life? Do we feel like nice things have a true place in our life?
Can we actually envision a life with these things? If we can envision a life with the nice things we seek, what does that look or feel like?
Many, many of us carry around our pain like an ID badge. We don’t realize this consciously. But it manifests itself in most of what we try to achieve. Do you look around and see others success and feel deeply that is something unattainable? I have news for you. It is attainable. But the change comes from your realization that your pain is not your identity. It is a manifestation of years of your experience. It can be a moment in time.
Pain is a part of a fully lived life. If we have experienced steady suffering since our childhood, it actually changes our nervous systems, making us more susceptible to painful outcomes. Our stress responses become unbalanced. We sustain our flight or fight response well beyond it’s natural role in alerting us of actual scenarios that pose present danger. We become locked in a loop of disappointment and suffering. “Nice things” actually present in these unbalanced nervous systems as danger. Then we begin to repel nice things because our pain leads us to believe if we allow them in, they will only be taken from us. Because we can’t have nice things.
OK. So now you that you are aware of this loop, how do you dig yourself out of this lifelong trench? By starting slowly, through mindfulness. Becoming mindful of your present state is a direct way to identify these old patterns in our nervous systems that interrupt our quest for nice things. Previous posts have talked about very simple ways you can begin, right here and now. Yoga is also a wonderful way of starting- the entire practice is a mindful journey into your own body. Craniosacral Therapy is another way to start the dig into yourself. Acupuncture can begin to align imbalances in your life energy (chi) and start this process. If finances and time prevent you from these types of interventions, start simply with a meditation app on your phone. Read “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk, MD, which outlines the nervous systems response to trauma in a most engaging, enlightening and easy way. Begin the process of understanding your own role in your current state of being, without fear or judgement, just curiosity. Yes, much easier said than done. But it can be done once you make a commitment to yourself, and begin to tell yourself daily that you CAN have nice things.