Last night, at the fortnightly self-development evening I run (see Talks and Workshops), we explored what stands in the way of feeling ok with ourselves. I asked the group,
“If where and who you are now is IT, if how you are now is the finished product that won’t change, how would that feel?
Would this change how you live your life in any way?” The subsequent group discussion left me with interesting stuff to think about.
This morning – as sometimes happens to me – I woke up with a sentence in my head. It was this; “Don’t treat everywhere like a small town on the way to your destination. Treat every place you are in as though it IS your destination.”
Thinking on that I could see that, like so many of us, I tend to live a step ahead of where I am. I don’t often enough explore and appreciate exactly where I am for no reason other than to experience and appreciate it. I have so many good things. I could just be lolling about in delight all the time. Why do I feel I more would be better?
How much do we do something on the way to something else? Exercise to have a fit healthy body; do this so that it will set me up to do that; want to go there because after I have gone there I will be able to go to the next place; want to have that so that I will feel better about myself; must fix that about me in order to be ok…
The irony is that when I fall into this trap I lose the joy of moving my body, the excitement of doing the thing, going to that place… I do it for a reason, not for the sake of doing it. Then it becomes a ‘head’ thing and I feel owned by it and resentful of another thing on my To-Do List. It’s ironic because when I take my eye off the joy of doing something, what I think I’m doing FOR myself becomes AGAINST myself. I’m quite sure for example – given all the recent research about the detrimental impact of negative thoughts on our system – that excercising resentfully is BAD for your health.
Why do we even think we should do the next thing? Apparently we think it will be better than where we are right now.
Is where I am now so bad?
Couldn’t tell you could I? I’m too busy looking at the next thing.
So back to that great thought I woke up with. If I was on a journey and I stayed a few days in every small town I arrived at, what an amazing journey that would be, right? Instead of going through the main road in three minutes on my way to somewhere else, I could park, talk to the people, find somewhere to sleep for a night or two, learn where to eat, explore the way they do things there, look at their view… By the time I arrive at my ‘main destination’ I would be a richer person and the place I’m headed would be just another wonderful new place to explore.
My destination and whether I get there or not wouldn’t define me or affirm my worth, it would just be part of my journey.
If we struggle with self-worth, not being good at our job, hating our work, if we have depression or live anxiously, if we are afraid of people, if we think our body isn’t good enough, if we fear we are not good enough in some way – that is our journey. This is who we are. It’s not ALL of who we are, but it is part of us. There is nothing you or I need to fix or change in order to be ok. You are ok and I am ok – even with all the things that are not yet ‘fixed’ or ‘mastered’.
When I live in a way that is seeking to fix me I am telling myself I am not enough as I am. When I keep my eyes on where I think I should go next I am telling myself where I am is not enough. But how on earth can I know if I am enough and if where I am is enough if I don’t stop and actually LOOK at it and FEEL it?!
Where you are is just fine. It has all you need in it. It is full of gifts for you. Just stop and look around. YOU ALREADY ARE AT YOUR DESTINATION.
And it is good.
It is just one of your many destinations along the journey of your life but this is where you are now. Don’t dismiss it or belittle it in any way. Stop, look at it and find what you can to appreciate about it right now.
Treat it as special – because it is. You are here.