I see it all the time. I'm sure you have too. I've been in it. Feeling at times like I was getting sucked into an undertow and would never experience lightness of heart or mind again. Chaos.
There are many things I have learned about chaos both from personal experience as well as observing people around me but to keep it simple for this entry today, let's chat about "conscious" and "unconscious" chaos.
Conscious chaos is when we know we are either causing or participating in dysfunction. This is not to say that we make the choice to change how we behave or remove ourselves from the situation but we're aware that our lives feel anything from "off" to "out of control" in one area or what can feel like, our entire existence.
We know we are hurting ourselves, for example, by staying in bad relationships, from lovers to friends. Fueling negative self-talk that can lead to sadness, anxiety, depression, etc. Complaining but rarely taking action, railing about the deficiencies in others while we refuse to acknowledge our own. The list goes on and on. Been there, done that.
What's good about conscious chaos is even if you've reached "pro-status" in finger pointing and have yet to flip it back around, you know you are unhappy and things are not healthy. That's the start you need to begin to turn things around and lighten the load that chaos can bear on you.
I've stayed good bedfellows with chaos in many parts of my life way longer than I should have. Justification is my main "drug of choice" when it comes to staying in or with things that are not serving me. Seems I always have a reason for putting up with this or that - choosing to stay mired in some level of chaos.
Bottom line with the above is you know things aren't right and you have the choice to stay put "as is" (have fun with that), try to implement change (got to know when to say when though or you could justify forever) or be done. The biggest thing keeping you from your own freedom is you. Like the Sufi poet, Rumi so perfectly wrote in one line of his poem "A Community of Spirit" - "Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?"
We hold the key in our hands to unlock the door of our self-made prison's anytime we wish yet we sit there in misery, out of sheer choice. Sad. Really sad as our lack of action in this space can bring misery to everyone who cares about us, everyone we encounter.
Unconscious chaos can be more insidious for a couple of reasons, first of all, since we don't know we're doing it, we can't do anything about it, so we're literally blind to the amount of chaos we are making or participating in.
There are many ways being unconscious in this area could have come to be. First, you may have been repeatedly told growing up or have simply come to believe that "life is rough" so things being a "rough" all around you, most of the time, wouldn't be surprising since what you've believed is what you see and experience.
Second, and this one fascinates me to no end. You grew up in so much chaos that chaos is comfortable for you. Now let me be clear here, I'm not suggesting you like chaos but you know it, like an old dysfunctional friend you should have let to of years ago but haven't. It may be what you've known off and on or non-stop for your entire life. If it's been since childhood, there's a high probability that you are comfortable with chaos.
What might that look like? It can look like people pleasing until we make ourselves sick or it might look like self-sabotage. Just two of many examples, trust me. I remember years ago attending a sales conference and being told that some people will do things that put a "monkey-wrench" in their growth or success, stopping them cold, aka self-sabotage. I thought that was nuts! Why on earth would anyone work hard, achieve some level of success just to turn around and ruin it?
Well, I understand why someone would do that now. Maybe deep down inside they may not feel worthy of success or a certain level of success - they "put the brakes on" so they don't have to "fight the feelings" that could accompany any continued success OR they are SO used to chaos that when things are going smoothly at home, at work, in relationships, you name it, for just a little too long, they get uncomfortable, then they get out their proverbial gigantic wooden spoon and begin to literally "stir the pot."
They don't know they're doing this. But they do begin to "mix" some chaos back up.
I felt compelled to write this piece today because I am witnessing a lot of chaos lately. Both conscious and unconscious and would like to leave you with this one thought. If life is feeling "off" in any way, think about what I've written and consider what role you have to play in allowing that chaos to be in your life.
Are you continuing to justify things because you believe it's easier than having hard conversations or actually leaving a relationship? Were you raised in a chaotic environment where "craziness" was as prevalent as air? How could that be affecting your life today?
I wish each of you struggling with any degree of chaos, my best in getting to the core, then making the decision once and for all to step out of the darkness chaos throws down and into the light choice and boundaries provide.
Photo Credit - Canva