I’m Longing For…!

Optimist

 

I know the last time I wrote it may have been a bit unexpected, but part of living more authentically is being transparent; I wanted to be able to show what’s in my heart. Not to worry today I’m back to writing about things in the abstract, and I won’t be bearing my soul today. I think of myself as an optimistic person, I choose to focus on the good in life, and in people. There are times when I sit back and observe people, and I’m always fascinated, we are remarkable creatures. Whether you believe that we were created by a supreme being, or that all of this came from nothing, we are still very remarkable. Of the billions of stars, as far as we know today, Earth is the only planet that has life like we do, wow that means we are very remarkable. I suppose that I’m passionate about psychology because I think about this all the time. Look at all the amazing things the human mind has created, like this laptop I’m writing on, there are so many parts that have to come together to produce this product; and somewhere it was all in someone’s head. Although we are capable of so many great things, there’s still this driving force that drives us to create, to love, to build, and a deep longing for something. I’d like to take some time to expand and explore that, I think it’s a topic we don’t give much thought to. What drives us to do the things we do, what’s our motivation?

Our planet is filled with billions of people, of various origins and cultures, yet we all share that deep longing. At our core there’s a deep longing for relationships and that longing leads us to seek connection, to be understood, security, satisfaction, value to name a few. That deep longing by itself isn’t bad, it can compel us to do so many great things, but it can also manifest itself in destructive ways. When people don’t feel that connection they turn to many things like money, sex, drugs, alcohol. Like anything in life, even in moderation those things aren’t bad, but abusing them leaves you not only empty but physically hurt. Talk to anyone who is spiritual, and they’ll probably tell you that finding yourself, and doing what feels good to your soul is the only thing that comes close to filling that longing. Interestingly even religions don’t even fully satisfy that longing, because even with religion people still turn to things that are destructive.

So what’s the answer? Just as life is a journey that you’ll never find an end to; you just enjoy it as you go. I feel it’s the same with this deep longing, we’ll never be able to quite say we’re completely satisfied. Take myself, I’m currently on a path that I’ll be able to work on something I’m passionate about. I’m choosing to not let money be the deciding factor in my life, satisfaction with what I’m doing, and how much I can help others are my measures of success. Even on this path I may still long for things like a family, a better car, house and things like that. Accepting that I’ll not be fully satisfied, but taking the time to enjoy what I have seems like a better use of my time. To bring in some context, take Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, imagine a pyramid if you will, at the bottom is physiological needs, then safety, love and belonging, esteem, and lastly self-actualization. The needs at the bottom of the pyramid are basic needs, every human wants food, water, air, and want’s to feel safe. As you get higher on the pyramid you work on other needs. As we go higher on the pyramid we find things that help satisfy that deep longing, we are more easily satisfied with things at the top of the pyramid. I feel that many people struggle in life because they’re more focused on the bottom of the pyramid. Since it takes more of the things on the bottom to feel satisfied, they are constantly busy doing things, but yet they’re not satisfied with life.

By no means I can say that I’m even close to being self-actualized, but instead of spending all my time on the bottom. I’m choosing to put my energy on love and belonging and esteem, to be happy with who I am, and what I can do to make the world better. Life Hopeitself is hard, if you start working your way up from the bottom to the top, completing each level before you move on to the next, it’s possible to get stuck. Not having a house, or a car, or enough money to by food are really good reasons not to go higher. In contemplating my life and my purpose, I evaluated where I was on the pyramid, I’m still working on many of the safety needs. If I never move out of that area, does that mean I can never find what my purpose is? Contrary to that I believe that life offers us opportunities, it’s up to us if we take it. A few weeks ago I decided to quit my full-time job, ooh scary, but an opportunity was presented to me to still work to at the least pay my bills. I’ve also gotten an opportunity to take a course that’s directly related to the filed I wanted to go into. I have many people around me who have been providing me with emotional support to move forward. Quitting my job wasn’t a bad thing, all it did was create space, space that the Universe filled with things that intrinsically motivating to me. I think that’s incredible, sometimes we have to just get out of the way.

I can’t say that I’m completely satisfied, on a scale of eeh to satisfied, I’m definitely closer to being satisfied. If you know me, you’ll know that my personality doesn’t operate on any other level than 100%, feeling that I’m 50% on anything is a definite sign that I’m Glass half fullin the wrong place. So where am I? I want to become a Counselor/Life Coach, and I’m taking steps that leads in that direction. Will I ever become that, I don’t know, but I’m happy being in a position to help people with their life. Feeling that I have a purpose and my life has some meaning is enough to get me up in the morning. So I don’t have a family of my own, don’t have much money to my name, don’t have a career to show for, so what! Despite all those things, I’m happy with the current path I’m on, I’m taking time to enjoy the time I do have. I could have stayed in bed all day today, or go hiking, or for a drive, the possibilities are endless. Here I am writing this though, and it feels like a great use of my time, and just having time itself feels really good. I consider myself a well adjusted adult, and based on the various personality inventories I’ve taken, the data concurs with my thoughts! So my point is this, you could do many things to help fill that deep longing. Understanding that you’ll never be 100% satisfied, and enjoying the satisfaction you are able to experience, helps to live a happier life, besides it’s a lot less stressful living this way.

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New Year Resolution. Not the Best Idea?

Happy New Year

Ahh it’s 2014 and the New Year is here, time to start with the New Year’s Resolutions. This year I’m not starting it out on that foot. Ask yourself, how much of your Resolutions have you actually followed through with? If you’re like me and your a young 30’s something, you’ve done this for the past 10 years. At the beginning of each year you sit down and reflect on your life the past year, you make a list of a few things you’d like to change about yourself. But if you’re like me 3 months later that list is no where to be found, or it’s still on your desk from when you drafted it. I’d like 2014 to be better than 2013, and I believe that it’s my year for triumph. But for the love of all things sane, why should I make a list of things I’m never going to get to. My suggestion is this, instead of starting something you’re never going to finish, instead Finish something you started. I’ve made a lot of great progress this past year, so why not continue that. It’s been said that it takes about 3 months or 90 days to form a habit. As for behavior, well that’s much harder to change. If you spent all last year not doing the things on your New Years Resolution list, why are you going to do them in 2014? It sounds like you’re destined to get back on that hedonic treadmill, each year you start a list of things you’ll just stop in a few months. Seems I’m not the only one thinking abut this, I read this post on The Daily Love yesterday “Don’t make Resolutions, Do this instead!

After reading that post, I wasn’t sure if I should still write this one, but hey what the heck. Writing has been a kind of savior for me this year, it’s helped me to better express my thoughts, and sometimes it looks much better on paper. So here are a few key things I’ve learnt in 2013 that I want to continue. To set the stage, I think it’s important to reiterate that I’m on a path to be more Loving, and kind. It’s also important to me to be authentic, to show my true self, and then let the rest happen naturally.

It’s good Being Me

As part of being more authentic, I’m learning to love and appreciate me, call it self-love if you will. I’ve got a unique gift and perspective on life. Although there are billions of people on our home planet, why am I where I am? My faith is strong so I choose to believe that God has put me here for a reason, my world has more meaning for me that way. There are things I can’t begin to understand, but I’m beginning to see that each aspect of my life has a purpose. I was thinking last night, not to worry no brain cells were lost in this process, but I believe I’m living the life that best serves my purpose. Things like money, status, and prestige are good to some extent, but it’s more important to me to live a life that is fulfilling. Having nice things aren’t as important to me as it is to know I’ve done something to make someone else’s life better. What about you, what things are unique about you? What’s your gift you offer to the world? Find those things and work on those, it will make your life more fulfilling. Without getting into too much detail about it, what I’m getting at involved Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow believed that we have a set of needs that we try to fulfill as we navigate our lives. Going from least important to most important they are: Physiological, Safety, Love and Belonging, Esteem, and Self-Actualization. My goal is to focus on at least the bottom four.

I’m the key to my Success

To a certain extent I’m in control of my destiny. I can choose to let my ego cloud my judgement, and tell me that there are things I can and can’t do. Or I can choose to do things and see where it leads me. I chose to join The Marines because I knew it was going to be very challenging. I also felt that it would change my life, and it did all of that and more. If I had listened to all the people who said I wasn’t going to make it, many of them who now tell me how proud they are that I did it; I would never have joined. Even while going through the training, there were many reason’s to quit. Looking at my stature, I don’t exemplify what a “Marine” should look like. Although I may not look the part, if you’ve spent any time with me you’ll see many of those aspects come out in my personality. I may smile virtually ALL the time, but that smile will quickly go away if you’ve overstepped a boundary. My future is uncertain, but I’ve learnt that I will always have people and resources around me to help me. At each stage of my life, no matter the challenges, I’ve always had what I needed at each stage. When the time is right, things seem to fall into place perfectly. For me I choose to believe that God played a large part in that. What about you, what are you stopping yourself from doing? Do you thing of yourself in terms of I’m too… I’m can’t… I will never… Those are called Limiting Beliefs, we place barriers on ourselves. In many cases the things we claim we’re not, aren’t usually true. It’s instead part of the lie we tell ourselves, we try to protect ourselves, but instead do more harm.

What’s Important to me

To know where you’re going, it’s important to know who you are. After reading The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz, I’ve incorporated four pillars in my daily life. 1. Be Impeccable with my word: Speak the truth, and don’t use my words to hurt other, but rather to build them up. 2. Don’t take anything Personally: When I interact with others, understand that it’s through the lens of their life. 3. Don’t make assumptions: It’s important to ask questions, especially when communicating with others, remember they see life through their lens. 4. Always do my Best: give only as much as I can each day, if there’s more I can give tomorrow, well I’ll worry about tomorrow when it comes. As for what’s most important in my life: 1. God 2. People (family, spouse, friends) 3. Stuff (cars, money, job etc). What about you what’s important to you, and what are your guiding principles to your life.

Trust my Instincts

Since going on the path to be more loving and kind to others, and to be more authentic about who I am. I’ve seen a remarkable change in my instincts. Aside from understanding myself better this year, I’ve also come to understand the role my faith plays in my life. It’s actually through a course I took at my church D.E.S.I.G.N that I came to understand what my gift and purpose is. It’s remarkable because many of the personality inventories that I took during that course, I had taken previously in my Undergraduate studies. I guess I was not quite ready to put it all together until I had taken that class. By learning to listen to the still small voice, I found that I was able to pick up on others emotions. To some extent I’m able to discern the intimate details of other’s circumstances without being told, let’s just say it made for some interesting conversations. Over and over I’ve felt certain things, and my instincts were spot on. So this year I’m going to trust them more, they haven’t lead me astray so far, so why not depend on them more. What about you, what is your instincts telling you about a certain situation? Do you feel like they’re warning signs going off about someone or a situation? Or perhaps there is something that you feel compelled to do. Life is short, if we don’t take risks, we won’t reap the benefits.

Align your Heart and Mind

For the most part we make decisions from two places, the logical evidence based Mind, or our instincts/heart. It’s important to make sure that both of them are aligned. Have you ever tried walking with both your arms swinging the same direction? Or what happens if your legs want to go right and your arms left, well you can imagine what happens! As uncomfortable as that feels, think of it this way, each body part does it’s own thing, but they work together to move you in One direction. Consequently if your heart is taking you one direction and your mind is going another, well I’m sure you can imagine the result. Learning how to align these two can be difficult, but I’ve found it easier in my quest to be more authentic. By being Love and speaking the truth, I’ve found that my mind will find facts to support what my heart wants.

These are just a few aspects of my life that I’ve managed to actively work on daily, then why not do better in 2014. Why try to re-invent the wheel? I’m already making progress in those areas, why start a whole new list, especially if I’m just going to stop in a few months. What about you, will you join me and Finishing something you started, rather than starting something you’re never going to finish? Let’s all do better in 2014, continue to do the things that work for us.