It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of new years’ resolutions. This year I’m going to get skinny! (And then I’ll be happy.) This year I’m going to get rich! (And then I’ll be happy.) This year I’m going to eat only vegetables lovingly raised in fields where music is played to the plants every night and cosmic healing ceremonies are conducted to optimize growth! (And then I’ll be happy.) Ad infinitum. The problem is, when we attach ourselves to something external in the hope of making ourselves happy, it’s doomed to failure, because of the very nature of externalities: in short, they’re a band aid that sooner or later falls off and floats around aimlessly in the swimming pool of life, ultimately just clogging the filter.
Having said that, I have known for some time that I need to make some changes in my life. I’ve been groping around looking for answers (mostly in books), but ultimately ignoring the elephant in the room: a complete lack of authenticity. Many of us, particularly women, are vulnerable to the chameleon effect where we become cleverly adept at adjusting our own behavior to fit with others’, particularly when we want them to like us. Small amounts of this can be helpful in increasing our capacity for social interaction; large amounts can mean we lose sight of who we are. Sometimes we get so good at chameleonism that we don’t realize when we’re doing it. Adding the societal expectation that women in particular are supposed to be self sacrificing in order to be a Good Woman is a recipe for deep unhappiness.
So, with great trepidation mixed with courage and curiosity, I embark on a journey this year to figure out how to be me, to find that authenticity. This doesn’t mean a year of focusing on me me me necessarily – some of the things I know I’d like to figure out are focused on others – ultimately I hope it brings happiness to those around me as I move toward being more comfortable in my own skin and more able to help them. In short, this is about putting my own oxygen mask on first, then helping others.
In no particular order, some things that I can identify right now that will be focal points along the way (and more may emerge):
* What brings sensory pleasure? Touch, taste, hearing, vision, smell. I’ve become so autopilot oriented that I seem to have forgotten.
* What do I really want to say an emphatic yes to in my life? And what would I rather say no to? And what barriers have I put in place to either that I can now remove?
* Things that need letting go of. Beliefs. Ideas. Actual things. Perhaps even people.
* My spiritual quest – religion and exploration thereof, unencumbered by the beliefs (or non beliefs) of others around me. The last few years it has focused on Buddhism, but I feel drawn back to my Christian roots and a need to understand it better.
* What can I share with the world to make it a nicer place? What is holding me back, and how do I remove the roadblocks?
I invite any fellow explorers of authenticity to join me, either by sharing blog postings with each other, or discussion via the comments section. I can’t promise posting with any kind of regularity (though I would like to), but it would be nice to have some fellow travelers on the road.