Do You Want To Design Who You Are Becoming?Jan 18, 2023
By Patricia Wooster
At the start of every New Year comes new goals, resolutions, and thoughts toward the future.
It is usually an increased burst of HOPE - the expectation or belief in the potential of something good occurring - that fills us with the energy to start anew.
Without hope, there's no life energy. There's no possibility without hope. An individual feels that connection, belonging, or peace is not possible. Whereas a person who has cultivated hope in their life remains consistent in their practice. According to the psychologist Tara Brach, Ph.D., "The mature expression of hope includes three elements: the aspirations for manifesting our full potential, a trust that this is possible, and an energy that engages to serve this unfolding." Without hope, our neurochemistry and mental and physical health are negatively impacted.
So why is it that within several days or weeks of feeling hope for the future, most goals are abandoned?
This abandonment occurs because we have difficulty imagining that in the future, we'll be much different than the person we are now. Yet, if we look back at who we were ten years ago, we can spot the differences in:
- the friends, colleagues, and family we most rely upon
- our occupation and our day-to-day activities
- our beliefs and knowledge about current events, pop culture, religion, etc...
- our personal growth and interests
- the goals, habits, and aspirations for our life
It doesn't make sense to believe that although we have changed in the past, our future won't change either. Regardless of whether we embrace our future self or ignore it . . . we will change. We will evolve with new experiences, worldviews, and things outside our control.
So, it comes down to asking yourself: Do I want to design my future self or want it designed for me? This is where the work of deciding who you want your ideal self to be begins. Which goals or desires will provide you with the highest emotional return and satisfaction?
One powerful statement to contemplate during this process comes from Ryan A. Bush in Designing the Mind, "Do not allow your strengths in one area to justify your weakness in another." This is a great statement to journal on by answering:
- Where have I limited myself due to my strengths and weaknesses?
- Where have I allowed negative self-talk to impede upon my desires?
- Where have I used my "weakness" to justify my actions or beliefs?
Action toward the future self we want occurs when our desire for that new identity supersedes our present state. Pain occurs when we avoid that calling by down-regulating those desires because we have lost hope. The beauty of cultivating hope is that we have personal agency to grow and develop it, and it is 100% within our control.
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