Being kind to yourself, continued
Thanks for coming back! Last week we started talking about differences of personality type and culture and I shared some things I'm learning as I go along. Looking back over my last few years of study, the second thing I’ve realized is that thinking somebody else has the answer and comparing myself to others is a treacherous path.
We’re all entitled to our own tragedies. I’m not going to argue that what you experience to be hard and challenging aren’t truly hardships and challenges you’re facing.
Consider the Monty Python sketch, arguing about who has it worse, sleeping in the mud under the lake, coming home at four in the morning but getting up an hour earlier to go to work they have to pay for.
For some reason it’s easier looking outside, comparing, wanting, instead of looking inside, and finding. I look at monks and want their balance and inner peace, my friends look at each other and want their relationships - yet only after looking inside (after reading type and culture literature), I understood what it is that makes me tick and what works for me.
For years I worked in a job I hated because my parents said that would be the wiser career choice. Thanks to understanding personality preference I know that I’m simply not meant to follow orders if I disagree with the values behind them. For years I felt ugly because I don’t fit the beauty ideal that’s smiling at us from all the magazine covers. I'm still working on being accepting and loving, and that feels much better than beating myself up over a slice of cheesecake.
Do I wish back for the days of blissful ignorance? You bet! I’ve been so cerebral that I almost forgot to live! So focused on the goal that I forgot to enjoy the journey! I’d like to think I’ve broadened my horizons and opened up my number of options though, because I can now choose to integrate all the various things and accept them as parts of me. Like Albert Ellis said, “The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You don't blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the President. You realize that you control your own destiny.”
I invite you now to share your burdens with your friends, because your tragedies and challenges aren’t going to go away by denying them. On the contrary, finding a solution from a place where you feel safe and supported will be all the easier. As you bitch and moan I invite you to put a time-limit on it though. Say everybody gets 5 minutes to whine to your heart’s content, and make ‘em good ones, and then consciously decide to focus on better things. Like yourself sitting down and breathing without the help of a machine. Like the love and support you are receiving in that very moment, the ideas you’re coming up with how to tackle this thing. Shift your attention to the positive, if your guts say that that’s ok, and while you’re at it, drop out of the “oh ain’t it all awful” club and start frequenting a new group that celebrates successes, like Toastmasters.
You are who you are, and some people say you’re the average of the 10 people you spend the most time with, so surround yourself with optimists, it’s more uplifting to the soul. After all, there was a reason why things like political correctness were introduced: they’ve made integration of different races, religions, and sexual orientation and all-round equality a lot easier.
Instead of pushing you to go out and dream bigger, I say - go back to basics. Spend some time with yourself, find out what you like and dislike, not what commercials, your friends or family think you should like. In summary, I hope that you’ll find whatever makes you tick, and I wish that you may have the courage and resources that allow you to be true and kind to yourself.
Til next week, have a good one!
Thanks to Roxana for the picture.