Recently I realized that there is a disconnect between me and how I treat myself.
Something as small as the vegetables in the garden. Veggies are good for me, they’re free, but I’m not eating them. I’m too busy doing stuff for others.
The apples from my tree are so abundant that even my resident posse of squirrels and rabbits can’t handle them all. Have I eaten one today? Nope.
This lack of attention to self has a long and honored history in my life. In fact, it has been sort of a requirement in how I was raised.
And so I thought I would share with you a recent insight that I discovered during a welcomed moment of reflection. (No those aren’t real fish. They’re painted on the rock! Reflection showed me that too!)
There are only three
tasks we have to do in this life.
Yes only trois. 3
I. Honor yourself.
II. Discover your expression.
III. Share that.
Let me explain a little. It occurred to me that what happens instead is that we begin little people with the idea that they must share. They don’t know who they are yet. They don’t know how wonderful they are yet. I’m not talking about just sharing toys. I’m talking about not knowing they exist yet really, in their consciousness.
And so we grow up with the idea that who we are by ourselves is not important. What matters, what counts, is sharing with others.
This is helpful of course to mature. But what happens, I think, is by reversing the order of these essential life tasks, we produce some odd little aberrations. And sometimes some serious pain.
Without feeling valued, people share but resent sharing. They become fake, even dishonest, and begin to hide. They know they might upset others if they express how they really feel and think, so they convolute it and it comes out ugly in other ways later.
Without knowing what their gifts are, people never know if their sharing is doing any good. So they may turn to the idea that sharing is just for making money or some other external value. Either way, it’s not real. We aren’t connecting.
In fact I knew from my studies in counseling that the psychology profession based its foundation of mental health on the idea of adjustment: that is, since we have to live with other people, they think it’s crazy not to get along, or as they call it “adjust”.
But I was surprised the other day when a student pointed out to me that being an introvert is listed in the DSMIV as a less than desirable trait.
Yes, you read that right. Why? Because they don’t see relating to others as primary.
I suppose that’s why so many people think you have to be deviant or drunk to create or criminal authorities are quoted as saying, “He was a loner. Just kept to himself.”
I disagree. And I think my little list is in the right order. I think Maslow would agree with me. His study of mentally healthy people revealed that the idea of self-actualization was a marker of maximally functioning people. And some of them were….introverts!
And I think Jesus and other advanced souls agree too. Love others as yourself, not instead of. Because the instead of can’t be done.
Come back to explore the second task with me in the next post. Leave me a comment too on what you think.