"Why 'proactive' is a big, fat buzz word pimple to me."

The first time someone used the word 'proactive' in a conversation: “You are being very 'proactive' about that,” I got a massive case of the heebie jeebies. I don't recall what I was discussing with my friend when she said that, but I really hated hearing that word, even though I didn't really know the definition. So I looked it up:

pro•ac•tive [proh-ak-tiv] – adjective: Serving to prepare for, intervene in, or control an expected occurrence or situation, esp. a negative or difficult one; anticipatory: proactive measures against crime.

When I read that I wondered what these 'expected' negative or difficult occurrences or situations were. I mean, I lock my doors as a proactive measure against crime but I had this very unsettled, visceral feeling about people being all charged up about being proactive.

As I'm writing this and pondering my feelings I want to say: if you 'expect' all men or women to be like the one(s) who broke your heart and you are being 'proactive' you will effectively have your doors to love locked up tight to prevent the anticipated occurrence from happening again and therefore love does not a chance of getting in. Looking at life from such a strong 'preventative' position I feel could set one up for failure in your relationship to not only love but also life in general.

That's not to say that if you've touched a hot stove (i.e. been in an unhealthy relationship) you should keep doing it because somehow that will make the stove "change." Repeatedly touching hot stoves would be the flip side to being proactive, where you never learn to lock your doors when appropriate. Maybe we should call that being conactive, like: "You are being very 'conactive' about that."

So, if you can be 'overly' proactive and have your doors bolted shut against letting ANYTHING in you can also be 'overly' conactive and have your doors so wide open that you let in EVERYTHING, including the "hot stoves" you have learned you don't want in your life, and again you are set up for failure.

I have stayed busy in life flip-flopping from one side of these dualistic perspectives to the other. Come to think of it, I've even been proactive about being conactive and been conactive about being proactive. Yeah, I was VERY successful at setting myself up for failure.

Another way I see this is I can only be proactive about the future based on what I know now, and since the future is subject to change…

By stepping back and looking at this I can see where I've held onto my hopes and dreams for my future so tightly that I squeezed the life out of life before it even had the chance to arrive. And now I know why I had such a strong reaction to proactive… Because being overly proactive and trying to completely control the future can actually kill the future.

So, from now on, I'm going to continue to lock my doors and plan as best as I can while I also hold a big wide-open space (where hot stoves are not allowed) and where there is plenty of room for my hopes and dreams for my future to arrive alive and breathing, with beautiful blemish free skin.

Or in the words of Forrest Gump: "Maybe both is happening at the same time."

BYLINE:

Ashlie Rhey, actress and stand-up comic has held a lifelong interest in spiritual growth, holistic psychology and alternative health care. Get more information or submit review suggestions at: www.ashlierhey.com.

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