Photograph by Emma Hall @efrancisadventure
- Gathered within the words below are the culmination of my knowledge regarding the human condition. My central belief is: Our mission, on this Earth, is to repair not only our own short-comings, but the short-comings of others and the world itself. Below is a guide to help you on your journey; beginning with your authentic-self and concluding within the authentic-self of another. By definition, to repair, assumes we all have parts of ourselves that are either damaged or completely broken. Our goal is to remove fear and provide a process to begin reparations.
- The first leg of this journey begins with “The Self.” It opens with accepting your authentic-self, with all of its positives and negatives. We’ll progress into developing self-growth and sharing ourselves through self-expression. Lastly, but maybe most importantly, we’ll learn how to have self-compassion. For, compassion is the mechanism that propels us to continue.
- On the latter leg of this journey, we’ll discover “The Other.” It’s important to realize these next four principles mirror the previous four. Just as we ended with self-compassion; we’ll begin here with other-compassion. Then we’ll progress to other-expression and other-growth. Ultimately, we end in Oneness; which, in my opinion, is the same as the authentic-self. For, when we stare into the windows of another soul; we recognize the shared sparks-of-humanity and understand the Oneness of our Journey.
- For complete understanding of our Purpose on Earth, we’re required to master all eight of these principles. Now, we’re all born with strengths and weaknesses. Our goal is to establish our strengths and seek out help for our weaknesses. We have a lot to learn, but also a lot to teach.
- Lastly, I stand humbled before you, full acknowledging my lack of mastery in any of the following principles. Together, we walk this path, because it’s only together, we can reach the Destination.
- Editorial Note: My apologies, but this section is slightly unfinished; as it requires several more articles for a more detailed explanation on how to achieve these principles. If you could, please be patient and I’ll do my best to develop these, as soon as possible.
1.1 Recognize your innate personality.
a. Accept yourself. Whether from G-d, nature or some other compromise, your personality is innate and immutable. From your nascent understanding of self-identity to your corrupted-self through the trickery of others; you cannot deny your own uniqueness. Now, it’s important to realize your unique personality came with a bag of unique strengths, weaknesses and talents. These are your “tools of the trade.” Treasure them all, for you’ll never know which ones you’ll need. Silly people, focus purely on their strengths or weaknesses, but this leads one down the path of self-rejection and despair. For, you must remain true to all parts of yourself. While your strengths may push you towards your passions; so too, your weaknesses will limit and guide you to the right paths. With deep-study, hard-work and the help-of-others; you will transform your broken visage into something truly radiant.
1.2 Accept your strengths and talents.
a. Lead with your strengths. As a child, you developed your strengths and embraced your talents. Now, as an adult, let passion and fear be your guides. They tell you what you want and what you need to do. If you’re deeply passionate and fearful about something; it’s a clear indicator, you should be doing it. Never forget your strengths; for they are the hammer and chisel sculpting your beauty. But, never forget, to carry your weaknesses to safety.
1.3 Investigate and reject foreign shaping.
a. Determine what is and isn’t you. Underneath all your “stuff” is the discovery of a lifetime. You’ve been tricked by others, accidentally and on purpose, to be someone else. They’ve shaped and transformed you into their preferences. But, your new shape cannot survive in the wild. It’s your decision whether to destroy these misshapen pieces, or let them cover and suffocate you. To find these pieces, look no further than your personal sufferings. Pain is a proportional indicator of self-growth, and it’s important to write down these instances as they occur. At the moment of their inception, you may be unable to act, but writing them down will allow you to effectively reflect, in the future.
b. Take responsibility for your problem. To begin, choose a pain-point and write down everything about it. From every perspective and every measurement. In this work, you’re striving to neither be judgmental nor a perfectionist. Next, gather your notes and circle what’s real and cross off what’s fake. You’re an emotional creature and sometimes lose perspective of the truth; for, it helps you deal with the present. Now, paraphrase your problem in terms of your personality (i.e. “I trust too easily,” or “I fear the future”). Here’s the most difficult part. You need to accept responsibility for your problem. It doesn’t matter who caused it, they’re not going to help you. Only you can save yourself.
c. Obliterate your non-self. You’ve taken responsibility for your problem, and need to find the source and dig deeper. There’s a voice, not your own, somewhere in your mind, telling you to fail. It’s from a parent or someone you trusted as a child. You need to find this voice and dissolve it of its meaning. For example, if you’ve found yourself in unhealthy and abusive relationships, it’s important to discover why you naturally seek this out. Someone, somewhere, taught you, abuse is love. Find the voice, understand it’s not you, and give yourself permission to begin listening to yourself.
d. Embrace your new reality. You’re a human being, and have been gifted with free-will. You need not accept these harsh words from others within the depths of your mind. Now, write down new words, and accept your new voice. Read and live it daily, until it becomes habit.
e. Forgiveness. It’s important to accept, these foreign shapers rarely had intention to cause you harm. They believed they were providing tools necessary for your survival, and may have been right. As an adult, you have the ability to choose which tools are necessary for your life. Accept the good and reject the bad. Most importantly, understand the importance of these foreign shapers. They’ve provided you with two opportunities. First, the opportunity to grow as a child. Secondly, the opportunity to grow as an adult. Eventually, you’ll find, the weaknesses and pain attached to this foreign shaping reaps incredible rewards, parallel to your pain.
1.4: Choose your tools:
a. Kintsugi. Throughout life, you’ll need a lot of tools. Some, you already have; others, you’ll need to buy or borrow. Like any professional builder, keep a record of inventory. Know what you have, and know what you need to get. There’s an ancient Japanese art called Kintsugi, where one repairs a broken vessel with glue mixed with gold flakes. The end result is a fixed vessel, far more beautiful than its origin. The tools and glues we choose to use can either be strong and beautiful or weak and unnatural. Choose wisely.
2.1: Growth is necessary:
a. You were born imperfect: We’re all born with a specific set of strengths, weaknesses and talents. Although, there’s far too many qualities necessary for success and happiness. Therefore, we’re on a mission to learn, adapt and grow. At first glance, it may appear as if we’re being inauthentic in developing qualities outside of ourselves, but we’re merely finding lost parts. Lost on some previous journey, somewhere, at some point in time.
b. Signs for growth: In life, there are often signs revealing to us which traits we should attempt to develop within ourselves. If we find ourselves envious of a specific trait in another; that’s a sure sign we should be developing this trait within ourselves. We’re rarely envious of traits or things we don’t want; only the things we wish to see within ourselves. So, make a list and check it twice. Who do you want to be?
2.2: The Weakness of Strength:
a. Neither perfect nor imperfect: It’s important to understand our strengths are always inversely connected to our weaknesses. For example, one who is naturally spontaneous is also likely to be the one late to events and meetings. This is okay, because one does not come without the other. But, fear not, because we’re not doomed to our childhood personalities. We can learn to bolster our strengths and mitigate our weaknesses. Be compassionate towards yourself.
Articles: The Weakness of Strength
3.1: Introverted & Extroverted Self-Expression:
- Within ourselves, we have deep internal beliefs of our present-selves and our future-selves. Although externally, we all share these beliefs in a variety of ways.
- Some, are naturally more aware of their authentic-selves, but lack the innate abilities to share themselves with others. Whereas, some are naturally self-expressive, but may be sharing falsehoods of their internal-selves.
- A well-developed individual, who’s broadened both her self-awareness and self-expression, is able to share her true authentic-self with others, in a reliable way.
- Although, a less-developed individual, who lacks either self-awareness or self-expression, shares only part of her story. Or worse, falsity. This is problematic, because it further hinders the development of our strengths and conceals our weaknesses.
3.2: Passive & Active Self-Expression:
- Once again, we all share our self-authenticity in a variety of ways.
- Some, naturally lean towards expressing themselves in a passive manner through their clothing, dieting, physique, personal hygiene, etc. Whereas, others are naturally inclined to express themselves actively through their job, friends, writing, etc.
- Aligning our passive & active self-expressions with our introverted & extroverted expressions allow us to remain authentic and growth-oriented.
4.1: Be Patient:
- Since we’re all born with innate strengths, weaknesses and talents; it’s important to remember, perfection is a destination, and our life is the journey.
- Often, our journeys contain many stops; moving from place-to-place quickly, without stagnation. If you’re in a place you don’t like, you can leave. If you can’t leave; don’t worry, you won’t be there long.
- It’s important to remember to love yourself, and to be patient. Understanding your authentic-self is a long process, and validating it through self-growth and self-expression is equally long. Focus on the journey and remember to smell the roses, from time to time.
5.1: We're All Different:
- It’s important to remember, the other is also born with an innate personality. Without question, the other's personality is different, and includes a unique set of strengths, weaknesses and talents.
- Just as we are compassionate and slow to judge ourselves, we need to be compassionate towards the other. We’re all growing on this journey together, and we’ll make far better company if we treat others, as we treat ourselves.
5.2: Don't take things personally:
- We’re all different; thereby, ruled by a different set of values and circumstances. For this reason, we all speak different languages.
- We all have deep associations with words, spanning from the birth of our innate personality to our lifetime of experiences. Although our words may sound similar, they carry different meaning.
- When we feel harmed by another, it’s important to remember; often, what we heard is not what was said.
- Just as we often express ourselves poorly, especially in difficult situations; so too, do our friends. We should try to view our friends through the lens of their own self-authenticity, and be compassionate, because they too are working on themselves.
- Our friend’s failure of self-expression, is their own. But, we need-not-fail as well, through poor self-expression by reacting immaturely.
6.1: Listen first, talk second:
- Let’s take a moment and remember our own struggles with self-expression. Then, let’s realize that everyone shares these same struggles.
- Sometimes, it’s difficult to realize this, because our-struggles are not their-struggles, and they manifest themselves in different ways. But, they’re struggling to express their self-authenticity, just as we all are.
- If we’re more developed than our partner, it’s important to listen carefully, because they may lack the innate ability to express themselves in a coherent fashion. But, if you listen carefully, you’ll be provided the opportunity to connect to their feelings and situation.
6.2: Fairness is Unimportant:
- Relationships are filled with give-and-take, and we hope for equal parts. Although, we shouldn’t evaluate every situation and keep score. Sometimes, we have to give everything before we get anything. This is okay, because on the highest level, our giving is the greatest form of getting.
7.1: There's No Leader, Only Fellow Travelers:
- We’re all guided by self-authenticity, and powered through self-growth, self-expression and self-compassion. We cannot show our partners the path, but only direct them through self-exploration, to find their own guide.
- So, we must listen, without interruption, and provide our partner with an opportunity to explore and express themselves.
7.2: After Listening, Speak in Their Language:
- When we respond, it’s important to have proper intentions. It’s not to share our opinions or to create noise. Instead, we respond to validate the feelings of our partner, and let them feel understood. This helps them develop self-authenticity; eventually blooming into self-growth and self-expression.
- When they’re ready, and if we’ve shown ourselves to be trustworthy; they’ll ask for advice.
- I would highly recommend Marshall B. Rosenberg’s, “Non-Violent Communication.”
8.1: We're all Interconnected:
- Whether you’re religious, spiritual or strictly scientific; there’s a unifying theory of interconnectedness. We share this world together, and it’s our duty to help one another along this path.
- Alone, we’re hopeless, because, it’s only through self-expression to others we’re able to grow and fix ourselves. Only together, we can work to repair, not only ourselves, but everyone and everything.
- Nabokov writes in the first paragraph of his autobiography Speak Memory, "The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness."
- I know not what lies beyond the stretches of our perception and understanding, but I am certain, if we can follow the above principles; it’s possible, we can shine so brightly, we even begin to light up these “two eternities of darkness.”