Searching For A Strong Identity
Most people wish they were different in some way. While these wishes can be quite unique, the wish for greater strength is a pretty common thread amongst them. This is why people align themselves with successful athletes, celebrities, and spiritual gurus. They want some of their strength.
What is the next best thing to having your own strength? It is probably borrowing the strength of someone you admire. Michael Jordan is successful, likable, and deemed worthy by a sea of supportive fans. Once I don this Michael Jordan jersey and matching sneakers, people will begin to assume the same things about me, and maybe I will too.
The problem with these relationships is that they encourage people to define themselves as weak, as is clearly portrayed by their need to align with someone else for strength. All people are susceptible to life’s follies, especially those in the public eye (they have considerably more stress than your average person). Thus, inevitably these people experience a decline in the strength to which we have committed ourselves, and we suffer without hope for helpful recourse.
Wisdom about this path gives us an opportunity to see these relationships for what they are. They are problematic and precarious. So, we opt for a Self-Compassion practice approach because it gives us control over the process of emboldening the self. No more relying on others or the whimsical nature of their lives to find our strength. There are two parts to this Self-Compassion process. First, getting to know the self. Second, strengthening the self we have come to know.
Getting To Know The Self
In the first part, we use self-compassion practice, when we can during the day. To ensure sufficient self-compassion practice happens, we practice for at least for 5-10 minutes at the beginning and end of every day. We notice bodily sensations, thoughts, and emotions as they arise. We label them. We make room for them. We let them pass. Then, we bring kindness to our experience. Slowly, we get a sense of how we perceive the world, and what we deeply desire to contribute to it.
This last part is key. We are not coming from a fear-based, desperate place that is demanding things from the world. We assume that we are and will have more than enough. From this disposition, we commit to deeply meaningful acts that we can give to the world which, in turn, give us vitality. We understand that it will always be easier to control what we give to others and ourselves than what they give to us. This wisdom is affirming. It reminds us that we are pursuing a good life without the burden of depending on others for direction or permission.
Strengthening The Self We Know
We participate in the meaningful acts that our self-compassion practice has designated for us. Each time we follow up on one of these opportunities, we feel a little more confident in who we are, and how to get what we need. The longer we stick with it, the stronger our convictions become about how to lead a good life. We also become more discerning in the relationships and opportunities we choose to support this work.
These choices help us erect strong identities, and these identities become permanent when we perform two final tasks. First, we identify what we need to have enough. Second, we commit to the schedule, actions, and relationships necessary to achieve this reality. Being a celebrity will not guarantee you strength or happiness, but being a self-compassionate, disciplined person will get you as close as you can come in this lifetime. Let that be enough.
Do not strive to be famous or well-liked because the rewards you receive will be fleeting. Instead, commit to fully knowing yourself, and giving yourself what YOU need to be happy. Make that a life of giving. That will be a life worth knowing, and a life worth living.
365 Days Of Kindness. Self-Compassion. Day 109. In The Books.