You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren't. You take the action, and the insight follows: You don't think your way into becoming yourself. ~ Anne Lamott ~
There have been many times in my life when I didn't think I was living my true self. When I believed I needed to be more me, less who others think I should be.
And I thought and I thought, and mostly, my thinking depressed me because in my thinking was the fear -- I can't do it. It's too big a task to change not being me into being me when I don't know who I am -- I didn't say my thinking was clear. I just said I thought a lot about not being me!
Everyday I am presented with opportunities to 'not be me'. From little one's like, choosing to not pick up the dog's deposits (which I always do), to big one's, like stealing (which I can't do), there are numerous opportunities in the world to play dirty, be small, be unethical.
Choosing to do the right thing is a matter of choice. It is taking those actions that state -- this is who I want to be. This is who I am. This is the imprint I want to make on the world.
To not clean up dog poop would be a statement of not caring about the other people who use the park and pathways where we walk. It would be a statement of not caring about my community, or being a responsible dog-owner.
And I don't want to be someone who doesn't care, so I choose actions that build my 'me' muscle in ways that strengthen the values I stand for and thus, embed within me a deeper understanding of who I am within me and within the world around me.
Sometimes, I'll make mistakes. Like forgetting I made a commitment and double-booking, or not paying a parking ticket on-time and having to pay triple its cost when I go to renew my license (which just happened). I sure learned from that one that the me I'd rather be is the one who a) doesn't get parking tickets, and b) if she does, pays them right away.
I want to be someone who takes care of the details of her life so that I am free to live my life without lingering anxieties over what I've done, or haven't done, undermining my enjoyment of being fully present in the now.
And in the moments where my mistakes trip me up, my actions need to be firmly planted in the belief that it's never too late to learn, it's never too late to do the right thing now, it's never too late for second chances or to be my best.
To live in the now I want to be who I am, not who I don't want to be. I need to take care of the details that would keep me from enjoying the now. I need to embrace in everything I do and say, living a life based on who I want to be, my values and principles intact, my wonder and awe of life shining through every breath I take.