How well do you know yourself, really? I will tell you that is not an easy question in some ways. When I wrote about relationships yesterday, I emphasized that most basic aspect of any and all relationships: we must know ourselves.
Why is it a challenge to know ourselves? Partly because we allow ourselves to be defined by the perception of others about us. Their opinions, words, body language, actions, and reactions are interpreted by our ego, which gives our minds feedback about who and what we are. That is the source of problems for many of us, maybe all of us. I know it is for me at times. The problems arise from our acceptance of those perceptions of others, and it is damned hard to stand in the face of rationalization from your own ego about our identity when it is tied to what looks like irrefutable evidence, i.e., the observations and consequent interpretations of others.
That, however, is not the reality of who we are. We just need to get that straight in order to get ourselves straight, and it will follow that our relationships with those others will improve, or end, which is a possibility. Some folks get offended if we refuse to allow ourselves to be put in their boxes and follow their suggestions about how to be more like they want us to be. Yeah, we are probably better off without a close relationship with those folks.
I relate my nightly Instagram pic to this post and try to add a small bit of focus to one of my ideas. Last night, that was in the form of a “To Do” list. I intended that it be a little exercise to help us get to know our core Self, that Heart identity, a little better. It was very simple, and I did it myself this morning: look in the mirror, smile at myself, speak a hello directly to my heart, at least think of a little song to myself, if not hum something or sing it, say “I love you,” and then go show that love to any others I come across. Yep, I did it.
It’s just as detrimental, though, to not know our own ego. We need to know our ego because we should embrace it, love it as part of ourselves, and invite it into our expression of heart self. To me thus far, the value of ego is in alerting me to know when I am approaching limits of my comfort zones, when I am functioning in fear of crossing lines drawn by others, and when I need to make decisions about what I’m doing and where I’m headed and what I should demand of the Universe. Ego leads me to know when I have Heart choice to make, Heart revealing personal truths, giving insights, creating vision, and urging to action. Heart is not a mush of wimpy emotions — that is all Ego. Heart doesn’t bullshit; it’s straightforward and wise.
If we do not know our own heart well enough to be able to create some kind of celebration about it, then we probably are mucking around in ego. We need to celebrate heart, which is why I put in that little to-do list that we should sing to Heart. Now, it does not have to be a real song, but it could be, or it could be humming or a poem or spontaneous words of praise or engaging in a piece of work and thanking Heart for that.
And sometimes ego impulses can be valuable. I am not judging here about merit of one over another, because my ego and my heart are all me. I say this because it helps me personally, at least right now, to know that others feel the same. And Walt Whitman — I think he somehow in his eternal state channels his spirit to my heart! — saw this relationship between heart, ego, and relationships. I have referred to “Song of Myself” before, and obviously, a song of ourselves already fits tonight’s theme. However, a few lines from Section 5 shows how he understood the sort of relationship with self, heart, and ego that leads to relationships with others: “I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to you, / And you must not be abased to the other. “ Heart doesn’t obliterate ego, nor vice versa. I choose, however, to filter, see, sense, observe, evaluate, and create based on Heart, which he calls “soul.” The “other” is ego. I just know. Lol!
Since ego is always pushing for influence and recognition, we need to be consciously choosing our hearts as our primary operating system. And we each need a song to celebrate self, well, at least the attitude of a song to celebrate our unique Heart identity and truth. It might be fun to just stare at yourself, lock eyes with yourself in a mirror, and think Who am I, really? What song flows? What gives me joy? Then, start humming, composing, whatever comes to you.
And, then, NEVER, EVER forget that little celebration. Build on it. Make it a regular event. A continual holiday. When, I think of things like this, I think of something that my mom and my dad both said to me on a number of occasions, independently and not referring to the same thing: Mom — “Follow the dictates of your heart;” Dad — “Just do it.”
If we learn to know, enjoy, activate, and live that core Self, then we will live that to others, not in dependence on them, not waiting or hoping for their approval and acceptance, but in pure love, regardless of any work of ego on their part or ours.
We, like Walt Whitman in the last section of “Song of Myself,” need to be like the hawk: “I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, / I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. … // Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, / Missing me one place search another, / I stop somewhere waiting for you.” This is the way his celebratory song ends.
It’s where ours should start. Being, expressing core Self — “I sound my barbaric yawp” — and then looking for, expecting, those wonderful connections, meaningful relationships, those that we crave: “I stop somewhere waiting for you.”
Here I am.
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!