Posts tagged ‘personal growth’

February 29, 2016

The map of enough lies within you

Build a yurt and embrace the natural world and your own inner nature? Molly Caro May does that in her excellent and insightful book The Map of Enough.

My takeaways: Follow your dreams; they will lead you where you need to go. And, everyone struggles to accept and love parts of who they are; taking time to slow down and listen to what’s going on inside will surely help you get there.

Some wise words from the book:

Make friends with the act of repetition, with the fact that . . . learning [doesn’t] happen in a linear way, that it require[s] going back over our same glitches, feeling our same feelings, until one day they simply [aren’t] there anymore. We all regress in order to grow.

I could never be part of all the important moments. I could only tend my own, even the ones that felt unremarkable.

What would happen if every single human, in one collective moment, revealed the impulses within that didn’t match the image we each show to the world.

What, indeed. . . . There is a vividly authentic life inside each one of us, just waiting to be lived.

September 9, 2014

Learn to speak your spontaneous truth

Thought for the moment:

Truth is completely spontaneous. Lies have to be taught.
~ Buckminster Fuller

Think about it: how many times has someone asked you a question about your life or your opinions or your personal goals, and you find yourself checking your thoughts before you speak, trying to catch that wave of “truth” that instantly wells up inside you and hold it inside until you’ve had chance to reframe it or water it down or distill its true meaning before you open your mouth to answer? As adults, we tend to cover up our true feelings — about people, about situations, about ourselves — for many reasons. Maybe we’re afraid of hurting or getting hurt, or we want to conform, or we mistakenly think our true passions and opinions are somehow “silly” (they’re not; they never are). Whatever the case — and whether the process is conscious or unconscious — the result is the same: we end up masking our honest opinions and emotions in layers of protective, shape-muting “verbal gauze,” and we end up being untrue to both ourselves and the world around us.

What would happen if next time you were asked a question — any question: “How are you today?” “What is your opinion on X?” “Do you want to come with me?” “You seem upset; what happened?” “Where do you want to be in one/two/five/twenty years?” — you told the truth. What if you just let the words that spontaneously well up inside you bubble out into the world, for better or worse? Any pausing you do before answering would be to make sure you’re stating your truth accurately, diplomatically and sympathetically. No need to try and suck the reality out of anything. Reality is what you want.

Scary, yes, but with time and with practice, perhaps your life would become more authentic. Perhaps the things you crave would actually start coming your way. Perhaps you would grow as a person, into a space beyond any limits that you see before you today.

October 26, 2013

Is your life pedestal-worthy?

Check out these great lyrics from the song “History” by a short-lived indie band that I can no longer identify (despite several attempts to do so!):

Take everything you believe in
Put it on a pedestal to see,
Does it still hold
What you’re dreaming?
Would a child say that it’s their fantasy?

Sometimes it’s good to sit back and evaluate where you are in your life — using a gentle, non-judgemental, uncritical eye, of course! Are you going in the direction you want to go in? Are your days filled with people and activities that make you glow? Is there anything important missing, and if so, what real-life steps can you take to change that?

Make it your goal to live a life that you admire — one that shines brightly from any pedestal you place it on. Live the life that your younger self dreamed about!

August 23, 2013

Speak your heart to know your heart (and to grow your heart)

I like this quote from author and philosopher Albert Camus:

To know oneself, one should assert oneself.

As humans, we are sometimes afraid to share our true feelings or speak our true needs. We fear being rejected, criticized, disappointed, embarrassed or misunderstood. We’re scared to appear needy, hurtful, selfish, smug or vulnerable. We don’t want to cause others to feel anger, sadness, love, “obligation” or some other emotion that frightens us. The list goes on — but notice how all of these fears relate to how other people perceive or react to us, rather than how we perceive or react to ourselves? What about our own needs for personal growth and learning?

If you don’t assert yourself — if you don’t voice your own thoughts and feelings and needs and desires — then how can you ever know what truly drives you? How can you ever sort through the multitude of possible reactions, emotions and perspectives available to you, and find the ones that most accurately and comfortably express the person you are inside? And how can you communicate with other people in ways that nurture relationships built on understanding, respect and trust?

It takes practice to hone any new skill, and assertiveness is just that: a skill. If being assertive is new to you, then it’s not realistic to expect instant success. You wouldn’t expect to paint a masterpiece the first time you picked up a paint brush, would you? What we need to understand and accept is that it is OK to make mistakes in communicating our needs to others, because mistakes are how we learn. It is OK to be too pushy one day, and too flimsy the next. It is OK to cause another person to get mad. It is OK to appear “selfish,” or to disappoint someone we care about. It is OK to ask for love or help or a hug. People are resilient beings; they will get over whatever you throw at them — and if they don’t, they are probably not a good match for you in the long run.

The more we assert ourselves, the easier and more comfortable it will become. The better able we will be to discuss issues openly and honestly, and to achieve satisfying compromises. And the stronger, more authentic and more mature our relationships will become — both with ourselves and with the people around us.

As writer Hugh Prather says,

Some people will like me, and some won’t. So I might as well be myself, and then at least I’ll know that the people who like me, like me.

August 21, 2013

Instructions for Life #2: How to build a house that lasts

Today’s bit of inspiration comes from fellow blogger Daniel, whose blog Grow Up Proper I was lucky enough to stumble across today:

You cannot flip a switch and change your life, but you can change yourself and your life will change accordingly.

Many people are searching for that “magic bullet” solution to their problems, for a quick and easy “switch” that will bathe their lives in instant light and rescue them (once and for all) from pain, suffering, discomfort, smallness or what have you.

Important note:  There is no magic bullet solution to any problem worth solving. Even if there were, I wouldn’t advise that you take it (tempting as it may sometimes seem).

The major changes in life — those that involve personal relationships, career situations, health, day-to-day happiness and other things that really matter — are going to require work, and lots of it. They’ll also require focus, dedication, perseverance, courage, trust and consistency. You will have to put in significant time and significant effort, and you’ll have to put up with periods of stagnation as well as periods of progress. But if you do this steadily and in good faith, you will slowly move forward: you will slowly “change yourself.”

As you begin to gently reshape certain parts of yourself — your environment, your body, your perspectives, your outlook, etc. — your life will begin to change as well. You might not notice the change at first, but one day you will wake up and remark, “Wow, remember when I used to be like THAT?” or “My goodness, I’m so much happier these days than I have been in years!” That’s when you’ll know the changes you’ve made have taken root.

Change like this is not a quick process; it takes time to build a new house in which to live comfortably. You need time to learn how to effectively build and maintain strong foundations, time to weed the short circuits out of your wiring, and time to paint and repaint your interior spaces until they match the colour of your soul. You might not have a clue how to build a house in the first place; in that case, you’ll definitely need time to acquire and practice the skills you’ll need. All this is perfectly fine — and perfectly normal.

If you’re still wishing that you could just snap your fingers and have the whole house go up before your eyes, remember that you get what you put in. A quick job would inevitably have weak foundations, faulty wiring, and colours chosen by some person you don’t even know. You wouldn’t have a clue how to maintain the place, either, since you wouldn’t know it from the inside out. It might last you a while, but it would eventually crumble away and leave you homeless all over again.

So do it right the first time: take the time and make the effort to build your new life as you would take the time and make the effort to build the house of your dreams. It might be a slow process, but it is a process of love, and the end result will be something solid and stable that will last you a lifetime.