Saturday, December 10, 2005

A long blog with no resolution

The process of changing yourself is truly baffling, or at least it is for me because when I look at my life I see so many things that I want to be different, so many gaps between myself and what I am capable of being that I'm looking for one place to start and finding that one place everywhere. I once wrote in a journal that one's happiness is a function of how closely his actual self corresponded to his ideal self. I don't suppose it applies to young children however, because they often don't have much of a concept of self, and certainly not any judgments with which to evaluate a self: a precious, beautiful ignorance that is.

Going on, I've always thought that the way to create a happy life for yourself is to grow your actual self into the shape of your ideal self, that part of life's duties are to make yourself better, but I'm starting to question that a bit. What if instead of moving yourself towards the ideal, you were to shape the ideal to what you are? Is that a give up? I know that God loves us perfectly even though we are stubbornly human, and so from that I can see how everyone in a sense is fine just as they are. I'm not implying that God will love us more if we are less judgmental or more disciplined at our jobs, but I guess I'm just questioning whether it's better to strive towards these improvements (often to disappointing results, as I've found) or to begin looking at ourselves as things that are ideal in their own way. What if that is the freedom one needs to really step out and make changes?

I suppose what I'm getting at is just removing judgment when it comes to looking at yourself. But that's something that I've been doing for so long I can't even see it any more. I suppose that at one time I had a normal inner voice, but the judgmental voice has all but replaced it. And to further complicate the matter, I'm not a terribly introspective person...I live a lot of my life on auto-pilot, relying on routine, habit, and programmed responses to get me through probably 85-90% of my daily life, and so even being quiet and more importantly, aware enough to even hear my inner voice is a sizeable task in itself, and so being able to then pick that voice apart and separate the good from the bad seems almost laughably impossible...

I don't have a solution for skimming the negative brain chatter off the good though. If I did, I'd bottle it, sell it, make a million dollars, and then have one less item on my list of self-criticisms.

Even as I write that though, I'm thinking "I really don't have any right to say that I'm self-critical", like there's a part of me that thinks I don't have that many faults, like my life doesn't require all the vast improvements that my rhetoric would have you believe. And that's probably true to a certain extent. On paper, my life looks pretty damn good, good family situation, decent job, good friends, lots of freedom, etc. My problems don't register very high on the richter scale of bad human experience. The pendulum of my life experience doesn't swing very wide. (more on that in another blog some day). But I think that's part of my problem. I don't have jack to complain about, and so I feel guilty that I'm complaining. My major life crisis is that I have so much potential that I'm not realizing. I have gifts and talents that I'm not doing a damn thing with, and that's my main issue. Is that not shallow? Why is it so much harder to embrace what's good in my life than to focus on what's wrong? I'm sure that if I could learn the true value of all that I have going for me, it would give me the energy to really improve the things I want to improve. Ergh...Getting frustrated. Going to stop now. Apologies.


Blogger Hope said...

You are right when you talk about removing judgement from yourself. For some bizarre reason it is almost easier to extend that grace to others, even strangers, than it is to ourselves.

Only an introspective person could have written this may look inward more than you realize.

What I hear you saying is that you may be removed from your feelings. That you haven't given yourself permission to have whatever feelings you have despite the often good circumstances in your life. Our feelings are our feelings no matter what. As someone who has spent a lifetime numbing my feeings it has been(and continues to be) a hard road to learn that my feelings are okay in any circumstance I find myself.

12/12/2005 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

What if instead of moving yourself towards the ideal, you were to shape the ideal to what you are?

This was the key for me. Honestly, I don't consider it a "giving in" so much as an acceptance. Once I began to accept that an ideal is only that...a higher, better thing to strive for, not an end result...and began taking steps to appreciate what I had already become, it changed my life completely.

I will always be a flawed human being, but the striving is the purpose of the living, I think. Loving yourself for who you already are is a gift you give yourself, and - believe it or not - everyone else around you.

Good luck to you. Sincerely.

12/12/2005 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dunno what to really write here. Sort of going through the same thing myself as a late 20s, 2 degreed, sometimes described as a hideously under-employed person. But feel like contentment with where I'm at will lead to contentment where God will eventually take me even though don't want to permanently rest here. A singer once said that that which does not grow is dead and we'll always be changing. But isn't it better to be somewhat content with where you're at so that when you get to the next step you're not just the same person in a different situation? Don't know if that makes any sense, but maybe it helps.

12/12/2005 6:37 PM  
Blogger tim said...

you might enjoy Forgetting Ourselves on Purpose by Brian Mahan. He comes at some of the dame questions from a slightly different direction

12/12/2005 7:01 PM  
Anonymous vicki pooley said...

I think at some point in our life we do have to realistically look at what we have done with our life and where we want to be.

I don't think it's a good idea to be too hard on ourselves, but hopefully we will see ourselves with eyes that we haven't see with before, and then we are motivated to make changes. We may not be close to what we want to be, but as long as we keep moving forward we will get there.

One day you'll wake up and know exactly what to do. Subconsciously we keep working it out.

12/12/2005 10:52 PM  

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