The Dangling Carrot

For too much of my life I have had a carrot dangling out in front of me. I have always been striving to catch up with this carrot. Do you know the carrot? The story goes something like this. If I were only richer, prettier, smarter, healthier, slimmer, you name it, then I would be ok, then I would have what I needed to succeed. Somehow the carrot held the prize of life and I just needed to get it.

The carrot may be different for each of us. It may be living up to an ideal our parents set, or it may be some idea we have gleaned from be bombarded by images and stories in the news, movies and on television, the images that speak to an ideal most of us will never be able meet. The carrot speaks to something outside of ourselves, something that will make us better and therefore make our lives better.

The problem with the carrot is that it constantly stays just outside our reach. It is forever two feet in front of us. We lose those last ten pounds and we expect to feel great and complete, yet we still feel burdened. We find our dream job, only to feel frustrated because we still feel awful. We meet a great guy and then sabotage our relationship in ways that make no sense to us. And we come crashing down, feeling defeated for even trying.

Because the things we want and need to feel complete don’t work, we turn in on ourselves and take the blame. When we take the blame we stockpile more and more on the carrot. The carrot never takes the blame, the blame is on us and on our inadequacies. We become more and more dependent on the carrot to fix everything, the carrot becomes the answer.

But the carrot is not the answer. The answer is dismantling it all together and accepting a whole new perspective. That perspective is and always has been, that we are enough just as we are. Maybe, to some, this seems like a huge jump, but it really isn’t. One view is looking outside ourselves for whatever we need and the other view is looking inside.

The inside view is the winning ticket. It is the jackpot. If we let go of the outside perspective and instead listen and connect to our self, something magical occurs. We are our own lighthouse. We have kept crashing because we couldn’t see the light. We were always focusing on others. Turning back to ourselves illuminates a whole new world to us. We finally can take responsibility for who we are and the choices we make. Dismantling the carrot allows us to create a true relationship with ourselves, free of blame and full of love and acceptance.

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