Sometimes we get so caught up in dogma that we lose ourselves. We get so concerned with maintaining our “attachment-parent” or “vegan” or “paleo” or “hard-core” or “yogi” or “type-A” status that we don’t allow ourselves the idiosyncrasies we should embrace!
Are you a “type-A-meat-loving-yogi?”
Maybe you’re a “mostly-meatless-crossfit-bookworm?”
Or you might be a “sometimes-gluten-free-babywearing-marathon-dabbler?”
WHAT ARE YOU?
You are anything and everything. You are YOU. You are an impossibly unique combination of physical, mental, and spiritual attributes.
It’s O.K. to not be 100% EVERYTHING. You can like yoga but only do it once in a while. You can minimize your consumption of processed foods but still eat hot dogs with the kiddos on the weekend. You can co-sleep and baby-wear but choose not to breastfeed. You can be a loving, mindful parent but be grateful when you get to put on your grown-up clothes and go to work.
Trying to become the label wrongs and minimizes your true self. Worse, when we define ourselves so exclusively by black and white thinking, we also place ourselves on one side of an us-versus-them line. If she doesn’t realize being “vegan” is the only choice for the planet, she’s not someone you can relate to. If he doesn’t define himself as an “attachment parent,” how will your marriage ever survive?
BLACK AND WHITE THINKING IS THE ENEMY OF PROGRESS AND PEACE.
Everything exists on a continuum and everything is plastic. You can change who you are by changing how you view yourself. If you want to be better, happier, stronger, calmer, and healthier, I suggest you come to terms with your unique combination of quirks. Let go of any labels you’ve accumulated over the years — these might be labels attached to a younger self, labels given to you by people who don’t really understand your true self, or labels you’ve given yourself out of self-condemnation and not self-love. Choose labels for yourself that are kind. Or forgo labels altogether. Instead of “I am a runner,” which suggests running is a profession or a defining characteristic, why not “I like to run!” The former implies obligation. The latter is carefree, positive and kind to yourself. Instead of “I’m 85% gluten-free,” try “I choose foods that make me feel well.” The former is restrictive and joyless, while the latter is full of opportunity and abundance. You get the idea.
NOW, WHAT ARE YOU?
Share your unique combination in the comments.
Here’s another tip: every time you do something that makes you feel really good, really authentic and true to your own priorities (We’re not talking feats of strength here… I mean walking your kids to school instead of driving, eating together around the dinner table instead of grabbing something quickly, having a bubble bath instead of doing the laundry, or calling a friend on the phone instead of using Facebook, for example.), write it down in your journal or your day planner that day, or create a task in your iPhone to recur daily or weekly and remind you that you are not just an “overworked-type-A-vegan-lawyer-runner” but a woman who likes to walk, eat dinner with her family, call friends on the phone and take bubble baths. That woman sounds WAY more interesting.
Now, just for fun and to make my point, here’s how not to be yourself. Apologies to those who might actually be celiac or gluten-intolerant. This video, as you’ll see, is not about you!
Down with dogma!