“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” – Carl Jung
Our quote today invites us to investigate a bit more deeply our perception of ourselves. Often, if we’re asked to describe ourselves, we will share qualities of ourselves that we believe accurately describe us. We may say something like, I am a kind, generous person that values diversity and believes that we should honor and respect people of other cultural, political, or spiritual groups. We may truly hold these values, or ones similar to them, in our hearts and minds. The question begs, however, is holding these values in our hearts and minds enough? If I think of myself as a kind person, is it not important that I be kind to others? Or am I selective in my kindness? If so, when describing myself, would it be more accurate to describe myself as a selectively kind person? If I value diversity and seek to honor people with different views or beliefs, how good am I at tolerating others, especially when I’m angry? Is it more accurate that I describe myself as someone who can appreciate and be tolerant of others, when I’m a good mood or I like them?
We may also carry with us perceptions of ourselves that are quite limiting, and even harmful. We may describe ourselves as impatient, not very good with people, or not very smart. So when we say that we are an impatient person, have we, in fact, been patient many times throughout our lives? Have we been patient with our friends and loved ones? Would it be more accurate to say that sometimes I can be impatient? To say that I am not good with people, does that mean that I’ve never been good with people? Do I sometimes feel quite comfortable with people? If we describe ourselves as not being very smart, how many challenges have we overcome in our lives? How many things are we quite skilled at that requires intelligence?
Today’s quote is not an absolute truth by any means. It is much more of an invitation to reflect upon and explore our perception of ourselves and the relationship between our actions, beliefs and values. Often our actions do not match our values or our perception of ourselves.
I invite you to reflect upon your values and try to have them be reflected in your activities and interactions with others. We also invite you to take a little time to reflect upon some of the negative perceptions you may hold about yourself and see if they hold up under investigation. Remember, you can always improve. – John Bruna
The above is a an excerpt from one the daily emails sent to the members of the Mindful Life Community. I invite you to explore our community and consider joining.