The older I get, the more I feel like I am being divided into pieces. I am my work self, and my family self, and my mother self. Sometimes I am my best self and sometimes I am my worst self. But often I feel pulled in different directions. How do we learn to integrate, rather than divide? How do we practice whole living?
We will never be everything we want to be all the time. That stretches beyond our human capacity. However, we can learn to structure our energy and our lives around the things that are most important to us. The more we wrap ourselves around our values, the less we have to work to integrate them into everything we do. This frees up mental energy and time, as well as offers opportunities to recharge within our every day. But it is important to be able to identify our foundations. What is most important? What matters? How do we want to live? What do we want to be like in our relationships? If we don’t devote conscious energy to these questions, we could easily find ourselves adrift. The things we value most will simply fall off the shelf of our focus until we intentionally refocus on them.
We can’t structure our lives to align with our values (and our goals) unless we are clear about them. Once we have established what is most important for us now and in the future we can live within our better self while leaning into our best self. But we will never be able to do that if we aren’t conscious about what that means to us.
So how do we cultivate enough conscious awareness to consistently live out our best lives? Begin by allowing space for regular, daily reflection. Reflect on your goals for the day in the morning. Reflect on your gratitude list. Reflect on your wins and your misses when you wind down in the evening. Reflect again on your gratitudes. Integrate a practice of self-compassion. Forgive yourself when you fall short, and hold yourself accountable to keep going. Identify the slip hazards, the things that are likely to knock you off balance, as well as the things that give you strength. Once these intricacies are interconnected in a conscious way, you will be on track to living as your whole self. Rather than being divided by your commitments, relationships, and endeavors, each of these things will become beautiful, unshakeable additions to your foundation.