The narrative of who you are has been a carefully designed structure, built on the foundation of your history and your relationships. But WHAT IF you are more/other/beyond what you know yourself to be.
To see the world through the eyes of a foreigner, or a beginner, we have to remember that we really aren’t experts at living—we are experimenters. We aren’t expected to know what we don’t know, to understand what we don’t understand, or to have an edge on anyone else. And this is oddly both disconcerting and freeing.
Victor Frankl said, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” He’s right, right? We have to look at what we have power over: Us. Especially the older we get, as we realize we don’t have forever to grab hold of life and REALLY live it, we have to make the ecosystem of our inner life a healthy place to live.
If and when you lose something or someone so crucial to your orientation in the world that you feel you’ve lost your very self, consider being especially kind to and gentle with your heart. This loss, whatever it may be for you right now, is major, life-changing, self-changing. And it must be treated with great respect and kindness.
How you respond to being misunderstood will be the difference between spending a good deal of time trying to correct other people's misperceptions or being free to carry on with your life no matter what others think of you.
What are you trying to prove when you keep going at full pace even when everything inside of you is crying out to slow down and rest? Take a moment to ask yourself what would happen if you stopped moving long enough to heal and recover when you're hurting.
If you are someone who fights the seasonal blues, you will know what I mean when I speak of the feeling of dread that comes when you look outside one October day and see nothing but endless drizzle. The inside of you drizzles too. There is a way to stay tethered to who you know yourself to be in lighter days.
How can a person really find her own pace in life—the one that fits only her—when the crowd she runs with is on a different schedule? It isn't easy to watch your peers pass you by. So it becomes important to pull over, slow down, and dig for the inner wisdom that speaks ONLY TO YOU. Only you can know what your pace/goal/need is.
Do you fall prey to looking in the mirror and lamenting the deepening lines around your eyes? Do you spend extra effort shopping for bras that lift and shape, or frequently wonder if your outfits are out of date or if they're trying too hard. There is an authentic, less self-critical way to feel rejuvenated.
Any major goal you set for yourself will require you to push through resistance, maintain a certain level of commitment and energy for the project that you may not always feel, and work harder than you've ever worked before.
It's inevitable that at some point you're going to feel exhausted and discouraged. What's the cure?
It's a simple process, but it works to move you toward your goals because the focus is not on changing anything essential about yourself. There's no need to shame or condemn yourself for past failures. The key is breaking your goals down into bit-sized pieces.
While many people delight in the holiday season, others of us struggle every year. Dark days, social pressures, and sad memories can leave us flattened. But we can take a page from marathon running to get us through.
Finishing what you start is typically considered a mark of good character, but finishing something in spite of the fact that there may be good reasons for quitting can indicate compulsiveness. How do you know when to quit versus when to press on?
There are many ways to manage regular, low-grade depressive symptoms. At midlife, when transitions are everywhere on the horizon, it's more important than ever to find some effective self-soothing techniques.
One of the most important qualities you can cultivate so that you have a reserve when you most need it is something called "differentiation." This concept has to do with how susceptible the "self" is to group think or group pressure.
We all need community. When you've been plugging along in this marathon of life for a while, you get tired. You've been laboring to keep your desired pace. And then, on an extra steep hill, fatigue and self-doubt set in. What you need are people who can surround you with “acknowledgement and acceptance,” as Dr. Estes says.