Instructions for Life #2: How to build a house that lasts

Today’s bit of inspiration comes from fellow blogger Daniel, whose blog Grow Up Proper I was lucky enough to stumble across today:

You cannot flip a switch and change your life, but you can change yourself and your life will change accordingly.

Many people are searching for that “magic bullet” solution to their problems, for a quick and easy “switch” that will bathe their lives in instant light and rescue them (once and for all) from pain, suffering, discomfort, smallness or what have you.

Important note:  There is no magic bullet solution to any problem worth solving. Even if there were, I wouldn’t advise that you take it (tempting as it may sometimes seem).

The major changes in life — those that involve personal relationships, career situations, health, day-to-day happiness and other things that really matter — are going to require work, and lots of it. They’ll also require focus, dedication, perseverance, courage, trust and consistency. You will have to put in significant time and significant effort, and you’ll have to put up with periods of stagnation as well as periods of progress. But if you do this steadily and in good faith, you will slowly move forward: you will slowly “change yourself.”

As you begin to gently reshape certain parts of yourself — your environment, your body, your perspectives, your outlook, etc. — your life will begin to change as well. You might not notice the change at first, but one day you will wake up and remark, “Wow, remember when I used to be like THAT?” or “My goodness, I’m so much happier these days than I have been in years!” That’s when you’ll know the changes you’ve made have taken root.

Change like this is not a quick process; it takes time to build a new house in which to live comfortably. You need time to learn how to effectively build and maintain strong foundations, time to weed the short circuits out of your wiring, and time to paint and repaint your interior spaces until they match the colour of your soul. You might not have a clue how to build a house in the first place; in that case, you’ll definitely need time to acquire and practice the skills you’ll need. All this is perfectly fine — and perfectly normal.

If you’re still wishing that you could just snap your fingers and have the whole house go up before your eyes, remember that you get what you put in. A quick job would inevitably have weak foundations, faulty wiring, and colours chosen by some person you don’t even know. You wouldn’t have a clue how to maintain the place, either, since you wouldn’t know it from the inside out. It might last you a while, but it would eventually crumble away and leave you homeless all over again.

So do it right the first time: take the time and make the effort to build your new life as you would take the time and make the effort to build the house of your dreams. It might be a slow process, but it is a process of love, and the end result will be something solid and stable that will last you a lifetime.

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