My waistline would suggest that my Mom was probably on to something when she told me to eat my vegetables… and don’t tell my wife I admitted this, but I suspect it really would be much easier to put on my socks or tie my shoes if I’d bother to do a little stretching… or that “yoga stuff” she’s been suggesting for the past few years. Problem is, neither of those things gel with my carefully crafted “self-image”. Always kinda’ fancied myself a “meat and potatoes” (or pasta) type of guy. When it came to physical activity, it was all about lug headed full-contact sports like boxing and football… or hanging out in the weight room. Never really resonated with the idea of meditation, deep breathing, essential oils, and a yoga mat.
Maybe it’s time to get over myself…
It would appear that in my effort to reinforce (and protect) my carefully constructed (read: fragile) self image, I’ve been dismissing and resisting some of the very ideas that could serve me best.
I suspect, I’m not alone. Dewitt Jones said: “Our patterns, too long unquestioned, become our prisons.”.
His quote serves as a great reminder that many of us unwittingly shackle ourselves via our beliefs… and the behaviors and practices we adopt to accommodate them.
Light hearted examples aside, consider…
- The tragedy of missing out on getting to know certain human beings who don’t look, act, and live just like we do – because of personal bias.
- The missed opportunity of learning something new – because our belief systems won’t allow us to consider a divergent or opposing perspective.
- The impact on our physical and mental wellbeing because we’re too quick to dismiss something as inconsistent with the image we’re trying to emulate or create…
What could be possible – if we embraced the opportunity to explore and consider the very ideas we’ve so adamantly rejected for so much of our lives?
- Who could you meet? What could they teach you? Abe Lincoln is quoted as saying “I don’t like that man… I must get to know him better”. What do you suppose he meant?
- How might considering a seemingly counterintuitive idea or an unsettling perspective allow you to see the world differently, better understand and strengthen your current convictions, or possibly discover a solution that has evaded you in the past? Many of our greatest breakthroughs come from seeing a situation from an alternative vantage point… with new information. How do you break out of your current trajectory?
- Are you a hard driving, no nonsense, “I’ll sleep when I die” type persona? Is it possible you could be unintentionally alienating some of the people you need the most (…and maybe heading for an early coronary in the process?)? What would happen if you “leaned back” and afforded someone else the room to “lean in”? What could happen if you allowed yourself to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and focus on your breathing for five minutes before kicking off your workday or charging into your afternoon staff meeting? Is there room for a bit more balance to your approach?
If just reading this article annoys you, makes you huff and roll your eyes, or break out in hives… then perhaps there’s something to be gleaned by taking a closer look?
- What are the things you’ve historically written off as so “not you”?
- What ideas or practices have you been dismissing your whole life and/or never sought to understand?
- What’s something constructive you could do that would take you out of your comfort zone, allow you to see things from a new perspective, and introduce a bit more “balance” to your life?
What are the possibilities?
What could happen, if you refused to accept the convenient excuse of “I am, what I am”?