“Just so you know: toddlers don’t know how to drive.”
A “Midlife Crisis” is a social construct. It’s not a real thing–unless we decide to make it real. Although words, phrases, and ideas are incredibly powerful, they only truly have the power we choose to hand over by giving them our agreement and our focus. My advice? Question everything, and remove those two things where you find falsehood and get yourself free.
The phrase itself was coined in the 1960’s in an academic paper that caught on–big time. We’ll consider some of the primary reasons it’s taken root so deeply moving forward.
To be clear, I am in no way saying that having a breakdown or crisis during the course of a lifetime is not real–it’s very real as we all know. This is about the fact that none of us knows what the midpoint of our life will be. So attaching an expectation of freak out, break down, or crisis to some estimated mid-point in life is nonsensical.
We have right now, what has already happened, and from a probability standpoint, a good number of future days in front of us. The real question is: what will the quality of those days be? And the reality is it’s almost entirely up to you.
Do you want to know one of the fastest ways to ensure you have a crisis in your life surrounding the idea of your imagined midlife point and time? Emotional Avoidance. Emotional avoidance is like giving the keys of your life to a toddler, riding shotgun, and wondering why you keep ending up in the ditch.
And avoidance has become epidemic in our distracted world. It is the natural inclination to seek comfort over discomfort at an emotional level. It involves the suppression of feelings that create discomfort because we don’t want to face them. So instead we force them down. They never go away, but store in our subconscious mind and show up in our behavior which is nearly always involuntary and reactive. As such, it is also destructive to our relationships, our health and wellbeing, and our future outcomes.
People naturally gravitate toward force behavior in an effort to control things outside of their control rooted in fear and shame. Pressure from these suppressed emotions builds up and creates internal unease physically and emotionally. It’s just the way force works: it creates counterforce. It is the physics of suppressed emotions–and this internal pressure makes us increasingly unwell.
The pressure from emotional avoidance can only build up for so long before that counterforce shows up in the form of destructive behavior, a breakdown, or health crisis. It comes down to time under pressure–not midlife. The longer we push these emotions away and refuse to deal with them, the more pressure builds, and the faster we physically and emotionally decline.
The subconscious mind–where all this gets stored–is like our inner toddler. From birth to 6 years old kids absorb everything as though it is absolutely true. They do not have the ability to discern what is actual from what is imaginary. Everything that is spoken into and over them becomes their reality and how they make sense of themselves and the world around them.
After the age of 6, kids begin thinking for themselves, so to speak. However, the foundation of our belief systems has been set up by this time. As a consequence, we go out into our lives looking for things that confirm what we already believe to be true–and because of the way the subconscious mind works, we typically find exactly what we’re looking for. Most people live their entire lives in this fashion–and most end up paying a very high cost in health and well-being as a result. Of course, there are exceptions–but we’re not talking about exceptions today.
The point I want to make is that if we are unwilling to take time to deal with our emotions, they inform our thoughts, which in turn inform our behaviors. Our behaviors create our reality by profounding influencing our outcomes.
If your daily reality is making you feel worn-down, tired, ready to throw in the towel, or wanting to escape, it’s seriously time to take the keys of your life away from your toddler.
Why? Just so you know: toddlers don’t know how to drive. And unless you start showing up and paying attention to that kid, you’ve given him the keys to your life and you’re riding shotgun. This is why your life keeps ending up in the same ditch time and time again. Remember we confirm what that kid thinks is true (not what is actually true) through our emotional reactions and subsequent behaviors. We are literally making those things true even when they’re not.
Toddlers operate from a place of immediate need and gratification. They care absolutely nothing for consequences or the future trajectory of your life. Those kids are here for the party and could care less if the car of your life ends up in the ditch. That’ll be your problem while your toddler throws a tantrum because it’s no longer fun. Toddlers are concerned with survival and play (ironically if you’ve ever had a toddler, you know it’s really 24/7 suicide watch–so much for survival).
Why? Because toddlers are at once afraid of everything and nothing. They are just little kids after all.
Would you rather spend all your time pulling the car of your life out of the ditch, or finally get real with yourself so you can be the one driving for a change? You don’t have to get mad at our toddler–any more than you would with any small child. You just need to learn how to 1. not be afraid of him, and 2. how to parent her.
Listen, I don’t know what your toddler has been through. But I do know one thing: YOU have to show up for that kid if you want things to get better in your life.
If you’re ready to take charge of your decisions and responses, you have to start giving that kid what he needs. Whatever it is that she didn’t get when she needed it from someone else–you’re the one to give it to her now. Whatever it is he is so afraid of–it’s up to you to calm his fears and give him the courage to move forward. No one else can do this for your kid except you. You’re it.
Are you ready to take ownership of the keys to your life? You can absolutely create an amazing future full of possibilities and freedom, and replace the limiting beliefs that have been laid on you since you were a child. It’s challenging, messy, and incredibly beautiful work. And you and your one precious life and absolutely worth it.
If you’re ready, I’m ready to walk alongside you. Reserve your spot in my next Smashing Midlife course, or set up individual coaching with me. Spots fill quickly, so be sure to set up your discovery call today so we can figure out what will be the best fit for you.
I can’t wait to meet you and help you get your keys back!