Welcome to the latest issue of The Qi of Self-Sovereignty. The newsletter exploring what it means to be free in an increasingly not-so-free world.
Whether you're looking to locate your authentic self or investigate sovereignty, you're in the right place! Each week, with just a few minutes of reading, I aim to expand your awareness through a quote and a piece of content that made me go hmm...
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"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change." - Carl Rogers
When you were a child, were you ever asked the question:
"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
From such a young age, we are programmed to build these identities of who we want to be, not who we are or the values we align with.
In doing so, we are unwittingly sowing the seeds of disappointment and strife.
What am I talking about...
Disappointment arises in the gap between expectation and reality.
Put differently, when reality doesn't align with our expectations, we feel shit.
Our society places immense pressure on our doingness while almost ignoring our beingness. Yet it is an understanding of our beingness that promotes satisfaction and happiness.
Let's explore these:
Doingness is taking action, accomplishing goals, being productive and striving to do what we think we should do.
On the other hand, our beingness is who we are, what we value, and how we show up in the world.
The challenge with directing our energy towards our doingness is that we focus on identifiable external attributes rather than looking within for a sense of self.
You're probably wondering, "why is that an issue?"
Simply put, we cannot control outcomes, but we can control our behaviour and actions.
Case in point. I can't control whether I will be a successful blogger, but I can control how I show up in this world. And for me, that is as a thoughtful, caring, and passionate individual that wants to share the many insights I come across.
Do you notice the difference? If I am to distill it down, doingness revolves around outcomes, while beingness focuses on who we really are and our values.
We should strive to act according to our beingness rather than our doingness.
That means if I don't make it as a self-professed blogger, my internal identity doesn't suffer.
A few years back, I went through a challenging breakup and decided to speak to a counsellor. Although this guy didn't have much to offer, one thing he said caught my attention.
Through working with countless Olympians and professional athletes, he noticed a common thread amongst these individuals:
These world-class athletes create an identity out of what they do. Not who they are.
They build up this internal self-image as an Olympian snowboarder, skier, cyclist... you name it.
As a result, their identity crumbles and they lose their sense of self when age and injuries prevent them from continuing to align with their doingness.
If, however, they had directed their focus to their inner core values, although they might feel grief around no longer being able to compete, they would find it much easier to move on, as they have not lost any sense of identity. Their values are still intact.
Values give us an anchor from which to latch on to in moments of strife and challenge.
What's more, when we identify with our doingness, we can fall prey to motivated reasoning.
As we have built our identity around a fictional self-perceived image, we persuade ourselves that what we're doing is who we are.
This does two things:
- It makes it significantly harder to question whether we are on the right path, as changing our path means dismantling our sense of self.
- We never feel truly grounded, as we never really resonate with our true selves.
This brings me to...
Insightful Content which made me go, hmm...
This week, I want to highlight a quote that really stood out to me in a book I recently read:
"Only when I acknowledged and accepted the very thing I wanted neither to acknowledge nor to accept could I start taking actions that would make my situation better. You can't work on something in a meaningful way if you are fighting it at the same time." - Brad Stulberg, The Practice of Groundedness
If we can understand our core values, we can easily look inward and ask whether our actions align with our beingness, and if not, we can move on.
It's perfectly normal for us to find ourselves in unpleasant situations. You are not broken as a result of this. You are human.
With this in mind, when you look back, wishing you had taken a different path, have compassion for yourself. Recognize that you did the best you could, given the information you had at that moment.
If you knew what you know now, then yes, maybe you would've done things differently, but you didn't.
So don't feel shame and guilt about a decision you made in the past. This will only impact your ability to make decisions moving forward, as you'll fear shame or guilt if you make the wrong decision.
When making important decisions, I've found what works for me is the little internal mantra of "I'm doing the best I can given the information I have."
Hopefully, it should now be apparent that expectations lead to emotional fragility.
Rather than asking this generation of children, what do you want to be when you grow up?
We should be asking, what do you value in yourself and others?
Thanks for taking the time to read this issue of The Qi of Self-Sovereignty. I hope you found it insightful.
I always welcome feedback and thoughts. So, do not hesitate to respond to the newsletter email, comment on the article or reach out via Twitter.
The future is bright!