Been down with a cold again and spent most of the day in bed – just nipped out for a little while to buy some books, and got these pictures of the trees on our street. The sky was so blue and the birds were singing and it got me thinking about spring and what I’d like to change about life next year.
I keep coming back to the theme of self-actualization – theoretically, where Maslow’s hierarchy meets Horney’s neuroses. I’ve been building up to this in a number of ways – how does one (or more specifically, me!) go about self-actualizing? I’ve come up with a few ideas so far:
* creatively – I’ve made a good start on this this year and with this blog, documenting the things I’ve been making – making stuff is the purest and most direct way of self-actualizing and getting that out there feels great, but that’s not all there is.
* following my own star and prioritising the things I love and find important, for no other reason than because they’re important to me.
* interacting with others – I started out this year trying to spend more time with people than ever before and I’ve learned so much from that, becoming much more comfortable with people and with meeting new people, that’s been so valuable. I still find it difficult to be truly authentic though and often fall back into old patterns, especially with people who have known me the longest, so it’s not as easy or fulfilling as I anticipated just increasing the time spent in social situations – often it means time away from being my true self, because I still don’t manage the limitations of those situations well.
Today I bumped into a fairly new acquaintance on the street, someone I have only had a handful of conversations with but who has only known the new “open” side of me and who I feel quite comfortable with. We were genuinely pleased to run into each other, shared a hug in the street, and exchanged plans for the day – it was only a couple of minutes but I’d take the realness and affection of that over four hours of small talk anyday. I think these small pools of authentic interaction may be the starting point – if I can expand them then all the better, but keep it real. One thing I have not focused on this year is setting boundaries and cherishing my time alone and that’s also a flip-side of self-actualization in a social setting.
* health and self-care – I think my attitude to my body is another great arena for self-actualization, and I want to set this up and build on it from the beginning. I have a new set of stretches that take 20 minutes, counting out sets and time in long deep breaths so it’s relaxing and meditative as well. That’s one step. I have a new gym and a pool membership and everything I need to put any kind of workout plan in place – I want to plan it and get on with it and have that be a statement of who I am.
* effort and suffering – what’s the point in suffering? I have asked this question so many times this year. There are a lot of aspects to it but basically, there are things worth doing that can only be achieved by concerted effort and a willingness to suffer through sustained unpleasantness. I can think of so many things off the top of my head. I’m not talking about being miserable for the sake of it, but suffering well for a bigger long-term purpose is a way in which I can express myself. I want to be able to cope with pain and difficulties and not build my life around avoiding them at all costs.
That’s what I have so far…