Many of the best conversations I have are with her. Love, religion, family, responsibility, hopes, dreams, successes, failures, disappointments, war, crime, justice, injustice, body image—we cover it all. Last week, she made a casual comment that led—as our casual comments often do—to a lengthy discussion about how we view ourselves. More specifically, how the “inside” us doesn’t always look like, dress like, or live the life that the “real” us does.
Try something for me. Close your eyes. Wait! Read the next few paragraphs first and then close your eyes. Okay, eyes closed, get comfy. Breathe. You don’t have to get all meditationy, just take a minute to inhale and exhale a couple of times. All set? Okay, now envision the life you would lead were all of your current obligations suddenly stripped away and only you remained. I’m not suggesting that you want to get away from your current life or flee from the people in it, I’m simply asking you to consider only yourself for a few minutes. Don’t worry. Neither your boss nor your loved ones need to know that you’re taking this little mental excursion.
There’s no spouse, children, parents, siblings, employers, coworkers, clients, friends, or neighbors to worry about. No one’s needs, preferences, or opinions to consider. It’s just you, with a world of possibilities before you and the only goal is to envision the you and the life that lines up with the person you know yourself to be. Way down in there. Under your clothes (it’s okay, I won’t peek), under your job and your house and your need to pack lunches, drive carpool, write that report, schedule that appointment, meet that deadline, and make those phone calls. Who are you?
Where are you? What are you wearing? What does your hair look like? Your style? What are you doing? Where do you live? How is your home furnished? What do you eat? How do you fill your days? How do you earn money? What do you spend it on?
Take your time. Cruise around in the inner you for a while. Smile at that person and start up a conversation. What time does (s)he (you!) get up in the morning and when do you rest your head to sleep? Do you have pets? Hobbies? What do you drive? How do you unwind? Do you even need to unwind in this fully authentic existence or have your stressors melted away?
Feel free to share some of your observations, if you want. Keep them to yourself if you’d rather. Either way, from here on out, when you’re making decisions about the direction your life should go, when you’re balancing the wants and needs of those in your life, please factor in the person you just spent some time with. That person deserves to be seen and heard, too.
Written for this week’s GBE topic, “Self.” If you’d like to blog with us, just clickety-click. All are welcome!
One more thing: You wouldn’t like it if someone stole your words, so please don’t steal the work of photographers and graphic artists to provide images for your blog.