As I’ve gotten to know myself better over several decades, I’ve learned a few things. I know I’m not a morning person. As much as I wish I could rise before dawn and take a run before work, it’s not me. Sure, I can force myself to get up early, and occasionally I enjoy a beautiful sunrise, but in general, I feel best waking up when it’s already light out.
Instead of fighting this natural tendency, I recently chose to work with it. I stopped beating myself up because I can’t get myself up to exercise before work, and I stopped feeling guilty about not getting to bed by 10:00 every night. Working with my Self is incredibly freeing. Complying with the signals sent from inside is so much easier than trying to force myself to function in a particular way. Of course, to do this, I had to get to know my inner Self a bit. What else did I learn? I found that I hate to wash dishes, music makes me feel alive, I feel most comfortable when I’m barefoot, I enjoy quiet time with my cat, nature calms me down, and I’m stimulated by new things.
I can’t remember when I lost touch with my Self, but I imagine it was probably around the time I started going to school, but maybe before that. There were rules to be followed. Eat at meal times, stay in line on the way to the playground, look a particular way before you leave the house. Keep quiet, work hard, be good, help others. The rules themselves aren’t the problem, but blindly following them made the signals from my body and mind harder to hear over time. I had to eat at meal time, regardless of when I was hungry. I had to wear shoes, even if I was most comfortable barefoot. I had to get up early and go to school even if I felt like sleeping longer. I had to go to bed early, even if I felt like staying up to read. Probably like many of you, I learned to ignore the signals and to do as expected.
I tend to believe that resisting our natural urges wears us down over time, and eventually oozes out in a variety of forms. Could teenage rebellion, self-sabotage, and addiction be ways that our inner Selves fight to be free? I don’t know, but I do know that when I do my best to align my life with what my Self is telling me, there’s a lot less struggle and a lot less self-sabotage going on. I understand that to be socially accepted and to reach our goals, we sometimes need to set aside what our Selves are telling us. However, there are many ways that we can align our lives with our Selves and it doesn’t much impact anyone else. Try it and see what happens. Let go. You might find that life is a lot simpler than you thought.