Everyone knows we’re supposed to cultivate a rock-solid relationship with ourselves. Ideally, we step into the ocean of life as we enter the literal ocean—feeling its impact, but remaining ourselves.
Sure, we’re kicked by the waves and forced to swallow salt water. But we aren’t shredded into strips like seaweed, or worn into hazy, soft-edged circles like beer bottle shards. We keep our shape. We’re less influenced by the external, less swayed, less affected. Like a discerning consumer presented with any limited- time offer ever invented.
For most of us, though, a relationship with the self sounds too unhinged, too bogus, too loopy. So we look outward. Which leads to yearning to be included. Like hoping to get picked first—or at least not last—for kickball, our entire lives. But awaiting validation leaves us at the mercy of people’s whims. And people can be pretty whimsical.
Pinning our worth on someone else doing—or not doing—leaves us vulnerable in a decidedly un-Brene-Brown way. Like…the object of a sentence, not its subject. Refresher: the object is acted upon by the subject. But subjects are doers, and can even form their own sentences quite nicely, if simply, without any objects.
We’ll use “The cat is on the table,” as our example sentence, since Italians of a certain age always remember it from their English-learning school days. As the object, you’re on hold in your table-y way for the cat to notice you. Do you know how long that could take? You could end up at a yard sale before the cat concludes its decision-making process. And even then, you have a cat on you. How fun can that be?
Meanwhile, the cat is on the table! And it doesn’t care who sees. It’s on-ing the hell out of that table. And will continue to do so. Which would you rather be?
This dynamic is worth considering when we keep up with the Instagrammer of the hour. Along with time, we forfeit depth and understanding of our only guaranteed life-long relationship.
Did I hear you groan/yell, what does a relationship with yourself even mean, Julia? Just in case, it means examining how you make decisions, whose advice you seek or respect and connecting to who you are, beyond life's static.
And how do I connect to myself? you whine. I’m afraid it doesn’t involve SnapChat. It’s hyper-presence and in-the-moment-ness, which you earn through meditation. It’s expressing your thoughts, even if only to yourself. It’s time spent in nature, the ultimate sanity restorer.
Yes, I’ve shared these ideas before…because they work. And they always will.
I don’t always take my own advice. Sometimes I fall into distraction where I digitally snoop on people I’ve never met, but I’ve realized: the more I avoid myself, the bigger the upcoming change/realization/improvement on the way.
That, however, is a story for another day. Until then, be the subject. Get on the table.
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