“First I overcame the pangs of isolation, born in an undesirable body in an unforgiving time. Next I addressed the fire of anger, as a result of rejection and mockery. From here I moved to the plane of denial, where the self met the hoard in a devious stew….
It was at this time I first faced the spectre of oblivion that had seemingly been ordained for one bearing my mark.
However, from this abyss, I manoeuvred into a new slipstream, meant for wanderers and thinkers alike.
Through this current I felt a freedom and a function, a form and fellowship, except this was a fellowship of one.
Within this singular race I ran a different sprint…one made from all the shortcomings that became shortcuts.
In the end, we arrive where we started. It is through rejection that I was forced to look inwards. It is inwards where I found a calling…this calling was telling me something I could already feel. Those who feel…are those who create.”
This is all about perception, bottom line and resilience, top line.
Using the famous SWOT analysis as an analogy for one’s life, how we handle decisions, changes and circumstances more or less dictates how we navigate through our years. By using the SWOT model you can start to see that a strength is relative to the opportunity and threat that coexist with it. Strength therefore, doesn’t live in isolation of the other elements of the model. Weakness is exactly the same. Weakness is relative to opportunity and threat too. Now here’s the cool part;
By understanding your strengths you can isolate your weaknesses and in doing so, put a plan in place to develop one and negate the overall effects of the other. If you ignore your weaknesses, they can only be linked to your threats, but if you acknowledge them and work on them, they become part of your life’s toolkit and not just something others can attack you with.
Now to Resilience:
Dealing with and managing weaknesses is by no means an easy win. This is where you have to show insight, foresight and hindsight. Insight, because you understand who you are, foresight because you are aware of how you need to be to progress and hindsight, because you’ve seen the effect of this issue in the past.
Insight+foresight +hindsight = Resilience
Weakness therefore is something you manage as opposed to something you are exposed by or help captive by. You control it, it doesn’t control you.
It takes a certain type of journey or path to build character. Often it is the less desired route one must take into order start to appreciate the more serene efforts of success and achievement. That is not to say that once you reach your destination, the effort can stop or that character is not required. What is evident from history is that the more difficult the path, the greater the character building and once the path is easier, then a different type of character is needed; an appreciative one.
There may be someone directly or indirectly involved in your personal or professional life that needs you to be you and stay you. By this what is meant is simple; someone may find purpose in you. Purpose is often misunderstood as a concept and an even less well understood as a reality. At its most brutally simple, purpose is about why you do what you do. At its most complex it is the foundation of someone’s reality and journey. How then can someone else find purpose (simple or complex) in another?
The answer lies in the relationship between wants and needs. This may seem strange at first, but upon closer inspection, wants and needs are in fact interwoven with the idea of purpose. It is through learning what we want and what we need that we tend to end up with an idea about our sense of purpose. The issue that can arise is whether or not the purpose we have found is the actual one that will benefit us over time. When we engage and build understanding with others, a host of underlying issues come into play. Some of these are intention, action, awareness, want, need, motivation and situation to name a few. We can sometimes unknowingly project some of these onto others and as a result end up in an unofficial inter-dependent relationship. What we do and who we are can become a type of beacon to another who for a variety of reasons may be seeking the exact form of influence or direction that your own actions may be exhibiting. Both parties may never fully acknowledge this influence, but it slowly starts to take shape and as it does wants and needs start to converge into common understanding and expectations.
This is why life can never be described as a linear journey. Life is a constant tangent of ups and downs, change and adjustment. It is during just such a journey that others grab a momentary sample of your essence. This ‘force’ becomes something that attracts deep lying needs and emotions in others that cause them to recognise your ‘flow’ and actually be overtly or subtlety drawn to ‘it’ through you. The key here is to understand for your own wellbeing and everyday life, what the actual intention behind this convergence may be. Naturally, some may be drawn to you for reasons that may cause you harm or negative outcomes and others for positive and life affirming reasons. This is where you have an important realisation to try and come to. You need to develop a sense of awareness as to what your own purpose is in order to then project the best elements of this purpose to the wider world. You see, what you project about you is at the same time projecting a part of your purpose as an individual. Be mindful of what you’re projecting and that way you will also know what is worth protecting. Purpose can be shared, but it can’t always be spared if used in the wrong way.
At some stage, place or point in your life, you have decided to seek recompense, fault or blame in another person. Regardless of whether this was intentional or as a by-product of circumstances, the ‘other’ has come into your view and caused you to think and possibly act upon what is nowadays part and parcel of how we seem to define ourselves. The process is referred to as ‘othering’. This term is attempting to define the spectacle of when one person creates a sense of self or identity that is dependent on there being someone else to compare or contrast their own reality to.
In essence, this is not a new phenomena at all. In fact, from the very earliest human stories we see a process emerging in which the self has to attach its ‘being’ to the existence of another in order to find, attribute or align a sense of meaning. The issue with othering is as follows;
Too often othering is about blame, grievance or some of suffering. These three terms are powerful in their own right, but when combined with a physical entity (person) to manifest them in, they become immense drivers of what can only be described as ‘sub-human’ behaviour. We now have narratives, imagery and constantly rehashed information appearing on our screens every second, yet we also have less time to process this information. This odd duality of existence creates an imbalance in the favour of an ‘instant gratification’ model of life. Basically, we take in stuff and don’t often question why. We just need the ‘rush’ of consumption, regardless of its actual net worth or merit to us .
So when things in your own life go array, it can be very easy to start looking around for someone or something to blame. There are situations when people do hurt us, abuse us and make us suffer. There is however, a difference between being a victim and deciding of your own volition that you want to be a victim of the ‘other’. The reality of the ‘other’ is that often we are looking for an easy win or solution to why we are not where or who we want to be. For this issue it is actually inside that you need to look. There is another, its true. This other is your ‘self’, ego or conscience. The otheryou don’t like looking into the mirror because of. Start there and look up at the mirror. Better still, look into it. The other is you.
It can be easy and if honest, a bit of a walk in the park for many people to somehow end up mistaking acceptance for realising some form of greater purpose life wanted to extract from them. The trouble with this mindset is as follows; Purpose as a concept can be abstract, removed from mundane daily routines and therefore, one’s immediate consciousness. It’s not like the daily ‘grind’ of work, college or chores can really be classified in the ‘this is my life’s purpose’ category, at least not for the majority of us. Ironically, this is exactly where the situation takes a wrong turn. In the midst of the daily humdrum we can sometimes end up with an entire set of wants and needs that are managed through potentially oppositional means.We want to be respected, we want to be cared for, to be loved and to be appreciated. Now, while there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting these things, the issue in question emerges when we replace our personal and unique ‘sense of purpose’ with ‘wants and needs’.
You see, purpose is a personal thing. It’s innate to the magic that makes us who we are. Purpose is like a mountain’s worth of aims and objectives, built with unique and personal bricks that have combined and been stacked up in a certain way for…you guessed it, a certain purpose. A very certain purpose to be precise; Your purpose. One thing you can’t do is view purpose as something others can completely fulfil for you. Of course others play a vital role in our personal development and sense of realisation over the course of our lives, but one thing another can never do is tell you or prove to you that you have found or stumbled upon your purpose.If you decide to make it your purpose to be accepted by society and the norms and values contained in it, then you will need to ask yourself how much acceptance will be enough?The thing with purpose that makes it so personal and so elusive to pin down is this;Purpose includes material, physical, spiritual and intellectual elements to its constitution. Purpose is a developmental tool, not a finished project. It’s a map with some uncompleted directions. Purpose is tied to your journey and only you can be the one to know and tell if you are on the right track to finding yours.
The irony is that ‘finding purpose’ is a bit of a misnomer. The more accurate way to put it is that you, at some stage meet your purpose and it meets you. You introduce yourselves to each other and acknowledge the journey both have taken to make the rendezvous possible. There is no set time or moment (that you know anyway) for this occurrence.If we are consumed with wanting others to accept us and respect us, we often miss meeting purpose along the way and end up substituting it for things that can ultimately still leave us asking the question, what’s my purpose? Do yourself a favour; make it your purpose to meet your purpose and keep your senses about you for it could be anywhere. Don’t play games with purpose. It is something too precious for you to toy with. Purpose either becomes you or releases you to whims and desires. Which are more valuable to you?
Learn to look forward with the cognisance of what went before and the respect for what lies beyond your gaze. When looking, you may note that there are observable realities, opportunities and roadmaps on your path. When looking turns to seeing, observations become meaningful points in your existence and not just abstract sounds, objects, textures and moments.When looking turns to seeing, realities become tools that you learn to use and work with as opposed to constantly challenge or deny. When looking turns to seeing, roadmaps offer you direction, purpose and patience as opposed to haste, misdirection and loss.When you look, you are aware. When you see, you are cognisant. Through the art of looking we should be pushing our sense of self to ‘look beyond’. Looking beyond opens up not only new ways of addressing life, but also new ideas about life and its purpose for you and your purpose for it. To look is to observe. To see is to know that vision is not just confined to the understanding of optics. Vision is about seeing the obvious and that which makes things not so obvious.