Friday, January 20, 2006

Being who we are

"To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking." ~ Goethe.

I borrowed the above quote from one of Wenda's blogs at Daring to Write.

These statements bonked me upside the head. They felt so true.

I particularly like the second part of Goethe's quotation. Matching the inner you -- your belief system, what you know is right, your moral and ethical core -- to the outward you and how you behave IS hard.

Achieving a convergence of thought and action is tough and even tougher to sustain. Each of us has an ideal about how we'd like to behave; a set of moral dos and don'ts; a means to judge ourselves and others. As much as we may say we're not judgmental, at some level, we all are. It's when we allow our behaviour to veer too far from that inner core, that we get in trouble. More often than not, we end up miserable.

How we behave should be a reflection of who we really are. But life seems to get in the way and give us excuses.

What I call the "I would (should), but . . ." excuses:

I would recycle, but ... , I would volunteer, but ..., I would take public transit, but ..., I should visit Aunt Sally, but ..., I should be kinder, but ... , but, but, but ....

The "buts" need to be replace by "and I will". Otherwise, our lives end up full of 'could haves' and 'should haves'. I suppose it's really about the road to self-actualization.

Quite a few years ago, someone told me that I was the most self-actualized person they'd met. Hardly. I was flattered, at first, then full of guilt. I felt like such a fraud. If only she knew how much self-doubt and inner conflict churned in my head. Over the years, I've come to realize that understanding and knowing ourselves doesn't happen overnight.

It's something I've been consciously working towards - probably why this quote jumped out at me. I'm trying to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. If I think I should say something, then I will. If I think I should do something, then I will. My goal is to become the person I think I am.

Not that it's easy. Heaven knows I'm a procrastinator extraordinaire and can think of a million excuses why I can't do something.

But as I said, I'm working on it.


Journey Through Life said...

Hi ell,

Thanks for your comment on my blog.

I really enjoyed reading this post (and the rest of your blog too!). I particularly liked this.....
"Matching the inner you -- your belief system, what you know is right, your moral and ethical core -- to the outward you and how you behave IS hard."

Just knowing that is half the battle. Its awareness that helps us to evolve. And you put it so well.
Thanks for your reflections on this wonderful quote.


jane said...

that made me think of a quote i read once, "i have morals, i just haven't always lived by them"

my challenge is having people dislike me. i suffer because of it. currently i feel the urge to argue a point, but because i don't want people to think badly of me, i am biting my tongue. or i have been guilty of letting somethings go for the sake of peace when really i wanted to say something. it's something i struggle with.

ell said...

It's often easier to let things go unsaid than to cause ill-will. I suppose it depends on how important the issue is to you. Figure out if it's about "getting your say in" or if it's really all that important. Sometimes the right thing to do is to let it go.

Simply Coll said...

To be true to oneself.. not always an easy thing to do. But your post has made me want to try.

jane said...

you're right ell, the thing i wanted to argue hasn't bothered me all weekend so i have decided to let it go.
i think it was more a case of getting my say in. :)

Wenda said...

It's taken me a few days to get back here (busy with new tools, you know), but I like where you've taken this and how you've taken me along.