Woke up this morning thinking how I couldn’t believe that things were this simple. It was such a revelation to me that I couldn’t quite get my head around why I had to go such a long way to realize this? So, I just had to share it.
In this moment of enlightenment it became very clear to me that the only thing I have to do in life to make myself a little bit better is to start my sentences with “I want” and “I feel” more often. Because what I want and what I feel are the two things that I cannot change. And that’s not a bad thing because these things actually drive me forward. These are the things that lie at the core of what I am and it was such a waste of energy to rack my head thinking how should I change them rather than simply just expressing them.
Which is not to say that what I want and what I feel doesn’t change or evolve. These things aren’t permanent. Quite on the contrary, in fact, my feelings and desires are the two things that will constantly be transforming as I go through life, but the key to being at peace with myself and, actually, the key to taking advantage of these two qualities rather than allowing them to burden me, is expressing them.
I’m a true believer in the healing powers of expression as it is, but it only just clicked that I am not looking for any undiscovered tool for self-expression. What I am looking for is a form which could help me communicate that which I want and what I feel to myself and to the world around me. And I could start doing it this very moment because I have the language for it.
I don’t think anyone has the right to blame the other for expressing that which they are feeling and what they desire. And if they are – that’s the problem of those who blame because their desires and feelings probably clash with yours. Granted, there will be times, more often than not, when no one will be around to accommodate that which you feel or want, but it’s everyone’s own individual task and responsibility to find the people who will. And the place to start from is to acknowledge those desires and feelings rather than blaming yourself, let alone others, about them. But why is it so hard?
I guess much of the problem lies in the negative attitude towards being selfish which actually often makes me rage. Where is this attitude coming from? What are the origins of this flaw in thinking? When and how exactly did the word ‘selfish’ turn into such an insult? How is it that, according to the value system that I have been raised in, the thing to aim for is to be self-less? I already wrote about this, but I will repeat myself here, because it strikes me as such an absurd thing to be imposing this ridiculous norm upon ourselves. I believe the absurdity of it can even be traced in the language of the term ‘self-less’. What is this quality which we call self-less-ness? Does it not describe an attempt to be less than that which I am? To be myself less? And if so, why should anyone desire that? Why would anyone choose and, even worse, be encouraged to NOT be themselves?
I feel very strongly about this, but I will not expand on it now, cuz the things I wanted to say have already been expressed in my blog entry Selfishness . So let’s go back to what I want and what I feel. As I sat and thought about it, it occurred to me that we would be so much better off if everyone could be open about these things. I mean, it would save us from so many headaches of trying to figure out what we want from one another and, as a result, we could have more time to think of how we could support each other rather than going around arguing about what is the ‘right’ thing to want or to feel. But, of course, the place to start from is myself.
I’m not sure if this makes sense to anyone as it does inside my head, but I guess the core idea behind all this is the acceptance that the desires and feelings that we have is not something we have chosen ourselves. The only thing we choose is what to do with them. Having noticed that repressing things can cause more harm than good, my suggestion here is to speak about these things out loud which, I believe, could save us from carrying shame for what we truly are.
In Lithuania there is this funny habit, which I believe is also still prevalent in many other ex-USSR countries, where you are meant to refuse a tea/coffee/biscuit when you’re a guest. It goes as follows.
Host: Would you like a cuppa?
Guest: No no, I’m good.
Host: Oh, please. I’ll make you one.
Guest: No, really, I’m good.
Host: Well, maybe a biscuit?
Guest: I’ve eaten, thanks.
Host: I could get you some strawberry jam with it.
And this can go on to ridiculous lengths until the table is full of sweets, biscuits, pickles, sausages, teas, coffees and, probably, brandy. And once the door is shut, the host only sighs with relief ‘I thought they’ll never leave’ whereas the guest is secretly thinking ‘what a bitch, she didn’t open the wine that I brought her’.
Of course, this is an exaggeration and thank God that this ‘habit of hospitality’ is slowly fading from the Lithuanian homes, but I thought it’s quite a good example that could help illustrate how the undisclosed ‘I want’ leads to blame. How we are drawn to blaming others because we have not acknowledged and expressed that which we want fully.
Of course, there is no guarantee that when a desire is expressed, it will be fulfilled. Chances are, it will never be full-filled, cuz there are so many obstacles in life that no one can control. But being true to that which you are, to that which you desire at the moment of expression, is a massive relief. That’s the thing that you and I have the power to do.
There is a lot of talk these days about how we should lead an authentic live. A few of the taglines that represent this idea are ‘follow your heart’, ‘be true to yourself’, ‘find what you love and let it kill you’ and alike, but one of my personal favorites amongst those vague throw-around phrases, is ‘JUST be yourself’ which implies that being yourself must be oh so simple. But being yourself is everything, but a JUST. Being yourself, learning to function in sync with a larger society without losing your own identity, is probably the hardest lesson you will ever have to learn in life. It’s a continuous process. From what I have learned so far, it’s an endless struggle with loads of ups and downs and only a few moments of clarity. But those moments of clarity are blissful. They are worth it.
Defining how do you go about your life is your own task, your own venture, but if you want a piece of practical advice, try starting your sentences with ‘I want’ and ‘I feel’ more often. What works for me, of course, might not work for you, but I WANT you to know this because I FEEL very strongly about it.