All Tied Up in Knots?

Whether we like it or not we all find ourselves tied up in knots at one time or another. These metals cables reminded me that no matter how hard we try sometimes things do not stay as clean and orderly as we would like. This may pertain to the many things in our world – closets, drawers, garages, the back seat of our car, or even the living room coffee table. It may also apply to our emotional state. Getting tied up in knots means feeling out of whack and definitely out of control.

I spoke with a gentleman this week who had come to the realization that he was tied up in knots. His family life, his career, and his health all seemed to be knotted up and it all felt almost impossible to decipher. He knew that if he didn’t change something soon everything would fall apart or there would be a breaking point that could never be repaired. The good news is that he was aware enough to know this was happening. The challenging news is what to do about it?

That’s what most people ask me, what can I do about this? How do I fix it? It is human nature to want things to run smoothly or to want to avoid confusion and conflict. However sometimes it takes confusion and conflict for things to change. If everything runs smoothly we assume that all is well when in reality we could simply be on a smooth sailing ship headed to nowhere.

So what to do about the knots? First, you have to figure out what needs to stay and what needs to go. Are all the pieces of your world necessary or is it possible for some things to go away? Never mind what the Joneses are doing, what do you NEED in your life and what is simply a nice to have? These are the tough questions, the getting real questions, the conversations we mostly want to ignore because we do not want to rock the boat. And yet if we never ask we never really evaluate what we want and what we don’t.

Most of the time when people come to me and are tied up in knots they instinctively know that something has got to go, that there needs to be a change. The thing to do here is to know exactly what is important to you – family, career, community, activities – and get rid of the rest. It may take a great deal of soul searching to figure that out, so give yourself the gift of time to sort through what you want and what you don’t.

Not everyone will understand and not everyone will ‘approve’ of your decisions…and who cares if they do or don’t. Your life is your life to live and everyone has their own life to live, so stand up for what you want and let the rest go. It is amazing what happens when we clear the decks and let the unimportant fall away. The knots begin to unravel and the stress subsides, relationships get better and what matters most rises to the top. It takes time and effort and staying true to what you want…so take a look at your own knots and figure out what can stay and what needs to go.

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