Authenticity Archives

Ideas and desires are like seeds, you’ll always have plenty of them. That’s the good news. The bad news is we’ll have more ideas and desires than we’ll ever be capable of actually carrying out.

How many of us feel dissatisfied with our lives because of the ideas and desires we’re not pursuing? I know I can feel that way. I buy into the belief that I can have and do it all. But that’s actually a false belief that will always keep us feeling unfulfilled and critical of ourselves.

sunflowers

In nature, plants produce more seeds than they would ever need in order to reproduce. If a sunflower plant was determined that every seed in every flower she bore had to create a new sunflower plant, she’d be stressed and discouraged as birds ate her seeds, as some fell to the the sidewalk to be swept away by a homeowner, or as some lay on the ground not germinating for one reason or another. Nature intentionally creates more seeds than is needed for just reproducing, there’s plenty of other uses for them.

That’s the same with our ideas and desires. Some we’ll achieve. Some will lead us to other ideas and desires. And some we’ll give to others to use.

Unlike the sunflower plant, we can choose which ideas or desires we want to pursue. A secret to fulfillment is picking the ideas and desires that currently fit us best and pursuing them in ways that also fit us best. The others will fade and be forgotten or return another time when we are looking for something new to experience.

Image courtesy of thawats / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Listening to Your Inner Authority

Have you ever taken the advice of a doctor or teacher and later regretted it because you knew deep inside that your idea on how to handle the situation was the right one? Over the years, I have come to realize how important it is to check in with my inner authority before making decisions. It doesn’t matter how experienced or skilled an adviser is, I need to make my decisions for myself. This is empowering and in the end I get much better results.

A couple years ago, I hurt my back. I went to a doctor I had seen once before. I was really impressed with how she handled my first issue. I told her my back hurt at the level of “distraction.” I had walked 3 blocks to get to her office. I definitely wasn’t debilitated. She started writing out a number of prescriptions which right away concerned me. I’m sensitive to medicines and avoid taking them. She comforted me by saying the medicines were gentle and would help me heal.

Pills in womans hands

I decided to try them. I figured if I got a side effect, I could always stop taking them. I had no idea how powerful they were. The first medicine to show it’s bad effects was the anti-inflammatory. I went from nausea to vomiting very quickly. It took me over 2 years to recover from this damage to my digestive system. I didn’t know if I’d ever fully recover.

The second medicine showed it’s bad effect a couple days later. It was the painkiller. My digestive system was majorly stopped. The nurse on the health insurance’s hotline sent me straight to the emergency room where they informed me, based on the medicines I was taking, they weren’t surprised to see me there! They, then, proceeded to prescribe yet another medicine and put tremendous amounts of pressure on me to take it.

It was a tremendous challenge to walk out of that emergency room and not give into the fears they had impressed on me to take the medicine they wanted me to. I agonized over whether to take that medicine they said was so critical to my recovery or go a more natural route. I took the natural route… and with good results.

This experience was a major lesson for me on listening to my inner authority. If I had, I would have taken natural approach from the start. I probably would have been fine with just a heating pad. I would have gone to the physical therapist as the doctor prescribed to address the root cause of my pain. And I wouldn’t have had to suffer for 2-1/2 years and paid all those medical expenses trying to figure what had happened and how to fix it.

Now, I let my doctors know that I’m hiring them as a consultant. I will listen to what they say and then decide for myself how I will handle my issue.

This also applies to teachers and coaches I work with. If I turn my authority over to them, I become filled with turmoil and drift into places that aren’t good for me. It can be scary not following the advice of someone who is very knowledgeable and skilled in the area that they are advising in, but they don’t always know what’s best for me. It’s my job to sort that out.

 

Image courtesy of marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Is It Perfectionism Or Your Strength?

I definitely have a perfectionistic streak. I used to feel guilty about it and thought I should be more laid back. I would make efforts to let go and be more easy going. I’d hang out with laid back people and try to emulate them. I’d criticize myself when perfectionism raised its ugly head.

Eventually, I felt like I was losing a part of myself. I’d see beautiful things people would create when they allowed their perfection to reign, like Martha Stewart’s amazing home decors. Over time, I realized that trying to make myself be more laid back than I was actually denied myself of expressing who I truly was. And denied the world the gifts I had to offer through my own “perfectionism.”

At one point, I worked in medical research and had my own biochemistry lab. The tasks I did were very precise. I had to pay attention to detail at a level most people wouldn’t have the patients for. The results of the whole research project relied on me doing my work meticulously. But that was my strength, so it was a good fit.

Now, I’m not saying that perfectionism can’t be taken to an unhealthy extreme. If it’s negatively affecting your relationships or slowing you down from accomplishing what you really want, it’s time to try and balance it. But don’t ever think that you have to let go of that precious high standard that’s at the core of your being. Instead, celebrate it and nurture it. Find places to express it where it’s truly needed, valued, and even treasured.

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