Open your mouth only if what you are about to say is more beautiful than silence. –Arabic Proverb
I have high standards, and I expect others to live by them. But that’s not fair, because I can’t place my standards and values on others. Not only that, but I’m beginning to realize that I shouldn’t hold myself to these standards either. I need to make more time for play and silence; life doesn’t have to be all work.
As I prepare to move to a new place, with a new job, new colleagues, and all that jazz, I’m asking myself what things I can leave behind and what I should take with me. Is it possible to leave parts of yourself behind? I don’t know that it is, so I’m trying to make small changes now so I can take a better version of myself with me. However, I do believe that Buddhist thinking is correct in forwarding the idea that people are always changing. In the recent past someone commented that a former colleague had reinvented themself after leaving. The comment was said with some suspicion, and I’ve thought about it many times since. Is it wrong to reinvent oneself? I don’t think so; I think people are constantly reinventing who they are, looking for a version of themselves that work better for the life they want. After troubling over it for awhile, I think that it would be more of a concern if someone failed to change over time, or if someone didn’t recognize the ways in which they change.
Along those lines, I’m reinventing myself. I’m paying more attention to the things I discuss with others. Is it productive for me? For the other person? Is what I say potentially hurtful? I’m trying to accept moments of discomfort and vulnerability. This means I’m trying to be me even when it may lead to moments of judgment or embarrassment. I’m trying to encourage my kids to do the same. (Side note: There’s been a lot more laughter and fun since consciously letting go.)
Lastly, I’m trying to let go of negative body image. I have spent two and a half years working out nearly every night in an attempt to meet unattainable goals. I’m wickedly strong now, but I’m not any happier; if anything, I mentally beat myself up more than before. I’ve been doing more yoga, less lifting; sitting in silence more, less distractions; walking more, high impact less. I’m mostly at peace with this, but I still have moments when I internally fight myself on whether I’m doing my body image more harm than good. As with the idea that I need to watch what I am saying to others, I also need to watch what I am saying to myself.