I’m sure you’re well aware that we’re in a collective upheaval — I don’t need to explain that to you. Whenever we experience revolutionary challenges in our lives, it’s meant to wake us up, to shake up our lives and uncover things that we’re ready to witness and hopefully grow from. In this era, like other eras of great change, the awakening we’re experiencing is much larger than we can even comprehend. It’s a global time of change, as well as an individual time for growth. Instead of trying to understand all the social, economic, spiritual and cyber awakenings that are happening, I think we can find some solace in shifting how we view ourselves.
These past two years has pushed me past my edges and landed me beyond my strength, into great darkness. I’ve lost my way many times, and have admitted too many times that I’m not showing up as my best self. I’ve been frequently visited by my anger, despair and apathy. I’ve questioned my past choices, specifically the ones that did not set myself up better to handle this pandemic economically.
I’ve been asking myself what am I fixated on that is causing me so much suffering.
From the time we are little children, people start asking, “What do you want to be?” Eager ears listen and expect answers like ‘firefighter, veterinarian, doctor, athlete, teacher, etc.’ From an early age we get fixated on measuring success by our accomplishments rather than by who we are as people.
Were you ever asked who you want to be? How you want to show up in your life – for yourself and others? Do you want to be kind, respectful, generous, attentive, supportive, loving, mindful, non-reactive or develop your compassion? How would you use those skills to help the world? No one asked you if we would you like to develop the inner strength to pick yourself up after enduring unimaginable pain. Or teach us how be gentle with the suffering of others, or show us how to be non-judgmental. Or learn patience for yourself and with others. No one suggest that leading a life that is filled with helping others, our communities and neighbours would bring more to our quality of life than focusing merely on ourselves and our own gains.
Instead of taking pictures of ourselves constantly doing ‘cool’ things, what if we used our energy and mission to support causes that help create positive change in the world?
How do you want to be defined?
If we think about who we want to be, then we can stop worrying about immediately gratifying outcomes and we look at our lives as the day-to-day creation of our own legacies.
At any moment, you can choose to become anyone you want to be. At any point, you can change. You can decide to be kinder or willing to see someone else’s perspective. You can be willing to demonstrate your capacity to change.
What would happen to our society if we stopped spending our time on social media, gossiping, and deeply focused on outward successes. Instead used our time to support social, local, political or global causes?
Instead of being insular with our social circles, what if we understood that getting uncomfortable actually makes us a better person and that staying in our comfort zone diminishes our potential? How do you want to look back at your life? What would make your life memorable? How do you want to feel every day, what feelings would satiate your soul? Understanding that a successful life is built on the small uncategorized moments, instead of glorious social accolades. It’s who you want to be instead of what you want to be that will make the biggest impact in your life and the world.
I wish I was taught that constantly chasing the future only makes you miserable. I wish I was taught that seeking popularity will only deplete your sense of worthiness. I wish I was taught how you speak to yourself and others is more important than what schools you got into or what career path you followed.
How you find joy in the unimportant daily little things will make your life unbelievably rich. How you learn to let others in and love them will feed your soul more than any fancy job could ever do. Thinking about who you are rather than what will make you look good to others, will teach you how to be genuine.
I suspect that learning to be genuine will radically change the need to chase greatness and bring us more peace. Because focusing on how we want to show up for ourselves and others will help heal our broken systems and hearts.