Real Change Takes Practice
As I mentioned in a previous post, I am straddling what feels like a divide. There is a pull for me to be the Jill people have known, and the Jill I want and choose to be. A year ago I had a very clear paradigm shift. For my entire life I had existed within a model of thought patterned or designed by my family of origin. I operated within that construct believing in it completely. I measured myself next to that standard. I did not question its validity and I defined myself using the terms my family used. I grew up striving for the perfect fit but failed over and over and over again. I was desperately unhappy with my efforts and completely disgusted with myself. Last June that all changed.
Last spring I made several changes in my life. One step, in the many that I have taken, was completing a course by Brene Brown that focused on vulnerability and authenticity. Since then, I have committed myself to being as authentic and true to myself as I possibly can. In doing this and in making some other important changes, I completely shifted my understanding of who I am. I saw clearly that my definitions, values, and estimations of myself are dramatically different from the rest of my family. I acknowledge my experiences as valid and I give myself credit for the accomplishments I have had.
For someone who has lived a life trying to fit the expectations of others, I have not always found this new practice easy or comfortable. But, while I have learned that there are moments of discomfort in being direct and honest, I am discovering that I carry few regrets. I spend much less time reviewing my decisions and actions and make choices with much stronger conviction and confidence. I have had to slow down and really think about the motivation behind some of my actions and words and I have to give deeper consideration to emotions that sometimes surface. Being honest, first and foremost with myself, means looking at my weaknesses, admitting my mistakes, and making an effort to change. It is really hard work.
This deliberate effort to be genuine in all that I do makes me think carefully about why I am doing those things. Before I act or make critical decisions I try to determine how it will impact others. I try to choose the wise, kind, considerate response to things. I am working hard to be clear and precise. Meditation is teaching me how to do this more consistently. I have noticed that approaching life this way has slowed things down. I have found that I am less worried about the choices I make. I am concentrating on short term goals and thinking more about my immediate world.
So far, daily meditation, and a commitment to trying to view life from as many different perspectives as I can, is keeping me grounded – what else can I do from here? How do you make a conscious daily contribution? What makes your life meaningful?