January 3, 2017

How I learned to Thrive when Reality broke my Rose-Colored Glasses.

Romanticizing: To deal with or describe in an idealized or unrealistic fashion; make (something) seem better or more appealing than it really is.

Yeah, I romantacize…all the time.

I am a hopeless romantic. I’m in love with the idea of everything being an expression of love.

Therefore, when I look at my future, it is always with rose colored glasses. I wrap every thought with this hopeful, super sweet, generous perspective.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

It is.

That is until reality sets in.

You know, the other side of the coin that life always is waiting to remind us of—the practical, hard, ugly side.

When that side shows up and hits my pretty, rose-colored picture, everything is suddenly nuked by reality.

This has happened so many more times than I care to admit. A perfect example was Zumba. I loved it. I loved the music, the dancing and I was good at it. So I thought—I’ll become a certified Zumba instructor. I’ll help people get in shape, get paid, and dance dance dance.

Sounds wonderful, right?

I mean how could it not be with that picture in my head?

I’ll tell you how.

During the certification process I found out instructors make $18 a class. Most gyms require you to get another fitness certification before you can teach. Zumba requires a paid membership of $300 a year to teach. Zumba music and dance moves are my least favorite.

There it was again—the other side of the coin beating my dreams down. Turns out what I romanticized as a fun dance party was really money-sucking hard work.

I never taught one class.

You would l think I would learn my lesson, but did I? Nope.

I went on to do the same thing when I became a certified life coach. I saw all the good things, the love, the helping people and I completely ignored any of the hard stuff associated with the endeavor.

They both ended with the same depression and disappointment.

But again, did I learn my lesson? Nope.

I had read elephant journal for quite a while. I loved the astrology articles and eagerly forwarded them to friends. I thought the articles about love described my relationships to a tee. I followed elephant journal Facebook pages and Instagram accounts and all the content resonated with me in a lovely way.

I had been writing for years, so when I saw my beloved elephant journal announce a new session of its Academy program, I did what I always have done; I started romanticizing about how wonderful it would be.

I pictured a group of super-enlightened people living in a nirvana-like state of mind, sitting around meditating together and inspiring each other to write amazing articles. I figured they all practiced yoga, were vegans, and loved every minute of their jobs. I knew they would love my writing. I knew it would be the perfect outlet to bring all my other endeavors together. I had to sign up immediately.

Like anything else I set out to do, I wanted it to be perfect so I got started right away. My perfect picture was coming together when my teacher gave me the Enlightened Society Facebook page. It was a perfect fit. I began to run and focus obsessively on growing the reach and likes of my page. I submitted previous articles I had written, completed all my assignments early, and, generally, earned as many badges as I could.

I was a rock star. Everything was perfect…until it wasn’t.

The Apprenticeship took 15 hours or more a week to stay afloat and as a single mom I was drowning.

The perfect fit articles I submitted were rejected for various reasons. The weekly meetings cut into my personal time.

In addition to all my responsibilities, the people who work at elephant journal weren’t the perfect humans I had pictured.

They too had anxiety, stress, egos, and at times made mistakes just like we humans do. But Miss Rosey was shocked that they weren’t all living in states of bliss all the time. I mean, who were these animals?

At about Week 3, I felt I didn’t fit in, that I wasn’t cut out for this, and I wanted to quit. I mean, this isn’t what I expected at all. I wanted my rose colored picture.

But it was nobody else’s fault. I did this to myself, again. I let the picture I created lead me to the same disappointment and depression.

Looking back now, I have to laugh. I mean, what could ever live up to my unrealistic expectations?

Nothing. Not even me.

After I examined my own faults, I looked a bit deeper, stopped blaming anyone else, and moved forward with a new perspective. Instead of quitting, I learned what elephant journal wanted out of a writer and like magic, my next three articles were accepted with no revision requests.

I engaged with my group each week and made some amazing friends whom I now talk to like we’ve known each other for years. I’ve used my past experiences, including the apprenticeship, to inspire my writing.

I became incredibly thankful for my stressed teachers, and completely understanding of their hardships trying to corral 30+ students from all over the world.

I learned so much valuable information that will propel me in all my future endeavors. It hasn’t been perfect as I imagined, because nothing is. But it has been amazing in its imperfection.

As Gerald Way once said, “Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”

Such is life.

It will never be perfect. It will never live up to my unrealistic romanticized expectations.

But if I can learn to accept and be grateful for what life is offering me and teaching me in the present moment, I can always find the rose colored picture my heart yearns for.




Author: Nicolette Beale

Image: elephant Instagram

Editor: Travis May

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