Looking Out The Window Syndrome | Thoughts on Shattering Conditioned Acceptance

Most of us learn at a very young age that “sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do,” from a parent, relative, or a teacher. In many cases, we actually know this to be true, especially once we reach adulthood. But if you find that “sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do” has become your mantra for everything in your life that you feel that you “have to do,” then maybe you have fallen victim to that conditioning and it is holding you back from living the life you want (and deserve) to live.

If your life is one big acceptance of things that you feel you cannot change then that is your first sign. It can be your job; if you go to work every day and you feel that it is something you “have to do” and you don’t want to. Your exception is when that job is a temporary one such as an internship that will get you the credits or experience that you need, or that stepping stone job that will look good on your resume that you are polishing for that new job or promotion you are applying for. Perhaps it is just an in between or place holder job until you find something better. If that job is your end game with no change in sight and you hate it, I call that the looking out the window syndrome. You know the one; where you sit in your office, classroom, or vehicle day in and day out and daydream as you look out the window, always picturing something that is “better than this,” out there in the future. Why do we settle for that? 

Looking out the window syndrome is when you are being bullied by someone and you have tried everything in your power to solve the issue and you find that you can’t, so you just accept it. Looking out the window syndrome is when you watch other people live their lives, but you don’t live yours. Looking out the window syndrome is when you have always wanted to try or learn something new like playing the piano, but you never go for it. Looking out the window syndrome is when you are unhappy and that is just the way it is so you live with it. It doesn’t have to be a job or school. It can be the place you live (and can’t stand). It can be a toxic relationship or a friendship. It can be the way you feel about yourself or your poor health. When we accept something that is bad for us, we don’t change it. 

I know that is is a privileged view to say that you can simply make better choices today to change something. Not all of us have the health or the wealth to move, quit a bad job, change jobs, go back to school, or seek a different direction. Relationships with other people from romantic love to friendships come with their own set of challenges. Some of us have others relying on us like an ill relative or parent, to a child that is dependent on us to support them. But we can make baby steps. We can make change. It does not have to be overnight. 

It took me one very bad year of constantly telling myself “this is the way it is” before I hit that rock bottom and decided I just could not and would not live with it. It took me a few months to figure out how to start over and what in the world I was going to do next. It took me another four months to save up and plan for my new life. Almost ten months later, life is still a work in progress, but it is all in my power and I am enjoying the journey. I know that I made the right decision because I wake up happy every morning. 

These days I am no longer looking out the window and daydreaming of a better future. I am actively planning and living that future for myself. Sometimes you have to do what you don’t want to do. But that is only sometimes. When you learn that, it becomes easier to shatter that conditioning to step into your loveliest life. 

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