Friday, December 31, 2010
Who will you be in 2011?
It's hard not to get excited about a new year. It seems like a good opportunity for growth and change and to make resolutions, to begin anew. We know we can do this any time but it's nice to have a marker.
Someone posted on their face book, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and it got me thinking. Why is that the question we ask? Why don't we ask "who do you want to be?"
It is perfectly fine to have aspirations to be a pilot or a teacher or a doctor. A worthy occupation is important and should be given some thought but shouldn't more thought be given to what kind of person we want to be when we grow up?
I know myself very well. But many of my positive personality traits, while they existed before, were nurtured and cultivated very carefully. I decided who I wanted to be, how I wanted to love, what my values were and I make a point of trying to walk my path very single day.
But there is always growth to be done, always better. I see time and time again, people repeating the patterns they've always repeated, doing the things they've always done and then standing back and wondering why nothing changes for them. I've been told that doing the same things over and over and expecting different results is the very definition of insanity.
Change isn't difficult. But for most people, the "thought" of change is what holds them back. They want to make changes but they've identified themselves in a certain way for so long that their friends expect it of them, their families define them by their old patterns and they come to think that they must continue to operate in the way that makes them and the people around them most comfortable instead of becoming the person they want to be in their hearts.
But the truth is, once you make those changes, you have more fun, become better loved and eventually have such a strong sense of yourself and who you are you become automatically surrounded by people who appreciate who you really are. And it happens quickly. You love big and fully and without condition and life becomes a joy even in the challenging times because you're supported and you're free.
But until you make the changes and become authentic. Until you admit that the way you used to be is not the way you really are and then say "to hell with the rest of you, this is me and you're going to have to deal" you'll be stuck in the same patterns, making the mistakes and getting the same insane results.
I love this quote by Carl Jung
"Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie."
I've always thought it described perfectly ever midlife crisis that ever occurred. There comes a time, and it happened a few years ago for me, when you learn that the important things in life and indeed who you are, isn't even remotely what you once thought it was. Yes you may still be the person who enjoys the same music and the same types of movies but at your core you start to realise that life isn't about what you have and who you impress but who you are at your core.
You discover that you would prefer your tombstone read "was well loved" than "was a great housekeeper."
You discover that while money is nice to have, the desire for the things you can buy with it starts to dwindle and you become someone who uses it to make a difference for others, to make others happy, to help the less fortunate and it's not a dutiful donation type thing, but a heartfelt desire to make a difference in the world.
So who are you going to be this year? Are you going to repeat the patterns that have made you unhappy in the past or break free and become the person you were meant to be. Are you going to set aside your fears or hide inside them waiting for rescue that never comes. Are you going to be a taker this year or are you going to be a giver? Are you going to be happy? This day, as are all days, is your chance to decide.
The above picture is of Ralph Waldo Emerson's gravestone. I leave you with a quote from him, one of my favourites. Perhaps it'll inspire you to be who you are, when you grow up.
"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."