“About your refusal to take responsibility for the things that go on in your life,” she said.
I felt my skin prickle. “Excuse me?”
“Why do you hate your job?”
“Because my boss is a shit!”
“What’s wrong with your car?”
“It’s a heap of junk.”
“What happened to your last relationship?”
“He was too controlling.”
“Why don’t you have a better job?”
“Because all the good jobs go to younger people with university degrees!” I was getting angrier with every answer. “What gives you the right to interrogate me like this?”
I heard laughter. “You did not notice that every answer put the blame on other people or outside circumstances?”
“Yeah, so what, it is what it is!”
“No it is not,” she pronounced each word slowly, with emphasis. “You accept no responsibility. You have made no attempt to change your own attitudes and understand that your boss has problems in his own life that you know nothing about. You have not appreciated that your car gets you where you want to go. And you did not give enough of yourself in your last relationship, and so he was just trying to do his best, whilst you kept yourself shielded behind your barriers. And quite frankly there is absolutely nothing stopping you taking some university papers. Twenty nine is not old.”
“If you want to change your world, you must first change yourself.”
I stared at the valley before me. It was a peaceful place, now spoilt with a ‘review’ that left me sounding shallow and ungrateful. “What would you have me do?” I asked.
“I would ask you to think about what you want from life,” she said softly.
“I want to be happy, and fulfilled,” I said, knowing full well that this was probably what every person on the planet wanted — and did not have either.
“Begin with one area, one change,” she suggested. “Your relationship with your boss? Working towards a new job? Where do you want to make a start?”
“I want to be happier at work, but I also want to know I am going somewhere,” I replied, not really believing that either was possible.
“Accept that your boss has his own problems. Accept that he is not causing resentment in you, it is a choice you are making, so stop making it. Replace those feelings with something else, such as ‘acceptance that he is having a bad day and you happen to be getting caught up in that, but are not the cause of it, so don’t need to invest yourself emotionally in the situation’. And, with regards to going somewhere…look into university — maybe extramural studies if you prefer — and make the commitment to begin with one paper. Take the first step.”
“Then what?” Words were easy.
“Then we see how you feel…but I guarantee, if you commit to making these changes, you will find a greater degree of happiness and contentment in your life,” she said. “But, accept that as you try to make changes you might slip up many times in a day, but as time passes, the slip ups will happen less and less. Do not judge yourself for any slip ups, simply accept them as part of the journey.”
“I suppose I should say ‘thanks for the life direction’,” I joked.
“Let’s see if you feel like thanking me in a week?!” Even though I could not see her face, I heard the note of laughter in her voice. Clearly it was going to be a tough week.