We start out life with the building blocks of genetic and familial traits. These are the most rudimentary building blocks that we have to work with as we develop our personality and approach to life. Many things go into the mix that makes us into the person we become.
Our immediate family has tremendous influence, but outside influences like what we read, watch, and listen to; along with our associations with others go into the mold that shapes us. Who we choose to befriend; who we decide to admire; even who we decide to dislike all influence our behavior. As we grow these internal and external influences guide our values even if these decisions are unconscious. In fact, our culture molds us even as we define our culture in a circular relationship as old as civilization. What we esteem drives our ambitions. And our ambitions drive our activities.
In our thought life we have an image of who we are. That image also influences and guides our activities. Unfortunately, our activities do not always reflect the image we have created and cherish. What we believe internally and what we project by our words and actions may often be so at odds that the world around us does not even recognize us as the person we hold dear in our heads. This creates a good deal of the conflict in our relationships. Reconciling how others treat us with our expectations of how others should be treating us, based on our self image, creates a lot of discord in our hearts and minds. It can be difficult to live up to the ideal we have created. Good intentions and large egos aside, in the end what we do is who we are.
To get up and face each day as a genuine person is a challenge. The clearest way to grow is to embrace everything that is within us, the good, the bad, and even the ugly. We are all of us not as good as we think we are and better than we believe we are. Accepting that one is less than this complex mixture of conflicting ideals keeps us from growing. Honestly appraising and accepting our weaknesses and the darkness that is within each of us opens the way to growth.
How are you holding up as the world tilts on its axis? So much of the foundation I grew up on has crumbled and the struggle to stay upright has me floundering. The strong, positive, unflappable personae I was sure defined me has been stripped away by reality. I find myself reacting too often and my reactions are too often proving unhelpful. I do not always behave rationally, I find myself slipping and treating others poorly. I make my excuses to justify why my behavior falls short of my ideal , but excuses are just that. What is done is done, what has been said cannot be unsaid. In the end…what I do is who I am.
The best thing that can be said of this is that each day I get an opportunity to redefine who I am by what I choose to do with what is laid before me. My circumstances are far from ideal. Welcome to the real world, right? Each day, I choose to get up and enter the fray; I will not fail due to a lack of effort. I want the world around me to be a bit better because I passed through it. That won’t happen just because I am this great and wonderful person, it will happen because I chose to say kind words, I chose to do the right thing, I left the excuses behind and acted with thoughtfulness and integrity. It will be the ‘little’ things that see us through the difficulties and cause a better person to step out the other side. I am seeking to act like the person I want to be.