We’re trying to live by to many other people’s and company’s rules. Not everyone’s shares or learns are what’s going to fix you. These blogs I put up included. We try so hard to fit into a circle with our square selves only to be completely frustrated when we meet resistance or failure in those efforts. We’re at times even expected by a boss or peer to work ourselves into those incompatible spaces. Finding myself leading anxiously and unhappy everyday wasn’t the result I wanted to live with. I found my joy in my quirkiness, individualism, and authenticity. Not only that, I found others that enjoyed me more as well.
Authenticity has to be a choice you make. You’ll get there when you start to understand its the only thing you haven’t tried. Our lack of self-confidence or social pressures are often the cause of our hesitancy to try out just being happy with ourselves. Regular practice in courageousness and compassionate pursuits can get us there faster. What’s important I found in doing this work is the hopefulness I began to find in it. It helped me find the resources I needed to bring my best self out.
With compassion and exercising compassion I began to recognize that I’m really not alone. I found a community in the work of the people with the same aspirations to find courage in being their authentic selves. It was a great practice in bringing more strength to my use in compassion too. When you are in a relationship of equals it creates a common bond. In order for me to even get close to relating to the struggle they had, I had to acknowledge my own. That’s compassion. I found an easier platform to open up and accept their support in my efforts.
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day.”
I learned trying to be perfect and execute perfectly was not a worthwhile pursuit. I was placing my belief that if I looked perfect, live perfect, and act perfectly then I would create this shield around me that would protect me from criticism, judgement, and blame. All I found is how emotionally unhealthy it made me. It became addictive and self-destructive. I wasn’t able to see the traps in front of my path that this pursuit of being perfect made. My failures where the best things I needed to learn from, the very opposite of perfection. I was trying so hard to be effective for others and didn’t do things for myself.
Purpose and perspective became my best skills. I created resistance and resilience whenever adversity tried to hold me back. Resilience only gets built from practicing our ability to hope. Most people wouldn’t consider hope a cognitive process, but it is. It can be learned and practiced. Going at it one day at a time, hope can bring you to the end. I learned to lean in on the greatful, ordinary moments that came from hope. Gratitude like hope, is also cognitive as a process which makes it a mindset you can learn to replicate.
Gratitude requires you to be convinced that what you have is enough. We’re collectors of things and thoughts. We have bad habits of faulting in ourselves that we don’t have enough. We can never find gratitude in that kind of mindset. We’re not rich enough. We’re not fast enough. We don’t have the best job. We’re not thin enough. And on it goes. It’s a choice to be greatful. Being greatful brings a perspective to it that will help you overcome traumatic experiences, adversity, violence, and the mundane aspects of our lives that try to stop us from finding our best selves.
Intuition has been and will continue to be one of the best resources for decision-making we can cultivate. We find it difficult to trust our own intuition because we have to many things outside of that we listen to. Social media. Facebook. Twitter. Fake news. All of which make it difficult to trust our intuition. I think mostly because we don’t know what intuition is with all the other noise competing for our focus or attention. Intuition is more than a “gut feeling.”
We categorize intuition as the opposite of reason. Which by itself, through that filter makes us not want to trust or lean into it. It’s this exact process of drawing on previous experiences that creates that “gut feeling” we need to in fact trust. It is what allows athletes like Michael Jordan or Zion Williamson able to perform at the top of other major athletes in their area of expertise. To know the very precise angle to shoot a basketball while there is so much noise and physical pushing/pulling around them is intuition’s use at its best.
By embracing your intuition, you put trust in both yourself and the experiences you have cataloged over time. It brings a big old dose of confidence with it despite uncertainties in how things will actually end up. This is your best self in real time. Trusting in your own intuition helps you overcome the fear of risk. You will find yourself taking action in the very face of uncertainty where others around you cannot even move. You’ll become a resource and trustworthy person that others will find they can lean into.
“Intuition is not a a single way of knowing.”
Why did we compare? I still do it and I am not impervious to it. It’s natural thing to do. When I did do it to much however, I found my own qualities that made me successful went dormant. I was less interesting because the very qualities that make me how I am became hidden. The most frequent times I did comparing myself to others happened when I was trying to be hyper competitive. I found myself trying to again as stated above, conform to something else and not be myself. Conformity of any kind erases our uniqueness. Our own individuality is the best thing to invest in, not that of conforming to something we might not ever become. This brings me to well-being. Finding play and rest along side my work.
Making time to play in my world and the world I see others playing has become increasingly harder. Self-worth we were taught all through school and young adulthood, is tied to productivity. We end up sacrificing play and rest because of that. Are work and play polar opposites? We trade play and rest as currency we then turn in to get more work done, only to find depression as the pay out. When in all actuality its been proven a little rest and play makes you more productive when you schedule it in-between or at the end!
We can lessen the feeling of them being polar opposites while we work, by having fun with our co-workers. I find nothing more rewarding than a break from hard work to hang out with my peers for a drink and fun from the work we just finished. You develop a great connection, you will be healthier for it, and improve your ability to work within your team. Bringing back excitement to your work and team by not working to exhaustion is something to embrace more often. The harder the work, the more important it is to practice this balance.
Broader perspectives and finding different purpose in unconventional norms have taught me a lot about how my imperfections are not a hinderance. Rather, they’re my best attributes. It’s helped me be better self-aware of my anxieties and acknowledgment in what triggers me. Instead of they become much more manageable and less defining of my life or work. I’ve found my own gifts and talents. I’ve found how they fit in with my work/life.
It may seem you’re being uncool by not conforming. But, it’s where I have found the most joy in my work or life. I’ve found connections with others that outlive popularity contests and favorites. I’ve lost the need to criticize the world or my communities, and instead embrace them. I’m living right now a happier life, more fulfilling life, and I won’t go back.
Hope you’re having an incredible weekend! Enjoy the holiday if that’s your thing. Spring is here!