What is wrong with me? I don’t love living in paradise.
What if there is nothing wrong with me after all?
I live in the most beautiful place on Earth. It isn’t home, and it could not look more different than home. It is actually a place that I probably dreamed of living. Who wouldn’t want to live on a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific? Seriously, it is a place found on postcards, vision-boards, and exists in day-dreams. I have grappled with the question “Why Don’t I Love It Here” for 2 years now. I see amazing pictures online. I am not a talented photographer, and even I can snap a good picture because it is soooo beautiful. My friends love it, and I follow people on social media who love it. People who have since moved off the island say that they loved it, and with all of the positive pictures and posts, I just keep wondering “What Is Wrong with Me?”
Last week, we found out that we will remain on this tropical island for three more years, which would put us here for a total of five years. The irony is…over the course of my husband’s twenty-two year military career, we have never lived in a place for more than three years. For the first time, I have not loved a place, and we get the opportunity to live here for five years. Life can be funny like that.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t say that this is one of the most important career opportunities of my husband’s life. He has worked tirelessly for twenty-two years. He has sacrificed. He is an outstanding Marine and leader. This job is a big deal, and I could not be more proud of him. It is an opportunity to serve in a role that I am confident in which he will make a positive impact, so hearing the news of the opportunity to stay here an extra few years was bitter-sweet. It also had me reconsider my thoughts about this island. “Why don’t I love it? Could I love it? Could I fix what is wrong with me?”
First of all, I had to step back and recognize that there is nothing wrong with me for not loving everything about a paradise island. Second, I began to recognize that maybe not loving every aspect of this island is exactly what is going to enable me to be better equipped to serve and support others. When you recognize that something is challenging, and you overcome the challenge, then you recognize that this circumstance is exactly what will help you to become more understanding, more compassionate, and more relatable. You also recognize that you are in a position to support others. Third, when I turned my thinking to “how can I best serve and support others over the next few years,” my mindset shifted to excitement and gratitude. I understand that I am in a unique position: I live in paradise, and I don’t love everything about it. Other people live in paradise too, and not everyone loves everything about it. What if I am able to use my healthy mindset-habits and tools to work with other people to so they may identify ways to find the island more enjoyable and to have gratitude for this opportunity? What if I can turn “what is wrong with me” into a tool that helps me help others?
Once again, when I quit thinking about myself, and I start thinking about ways to serve others, I start to feel good, and isn’t that the goal in life? We just want to feel good. So whether you live in paradise, or not, consider ways to help others, I guarantee you will feel better. Also, don’t forget that the “what is wrong with me” idea could also be the idea that may be the catalyst so you can help others. It may be what makes you the “right person” to best support others through their challenges too.
Personally, it is time for me to shift those old thoughts about not loving the island to embracing ALL of the things that I REALLY DO ENJOY about the island. It is obviously beautiful, and it is my home for the next three, exciting years.