I bought myself a gift recently. The minute I saw it, I was drawn to it. This purchase was not made out of whim or indulgence. It was made out of a deep personal connection and need. Ever since reading Michelle Obama’s autobiography, “Becoming”, I have been attracted to the idea that we have the human capacity to reach beyond ourselves, opening up possibilities for learning, growing and doing in ways we never imagined. The gift I gave myself? A “Becoming Journal” to explore and chart my course in this new year.
“Becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. It’s forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self.” Michelle Obama
If you are a regular reader, you know that I have often talked about the importance of our stories, how they shape us and help us learn who we are and how all of our experiences connect to that growing. Life transitions especially challenge us to question who we are, where we have come from and how we integrate this information into finding out who we want to be.
The wisdom of authors Brene Brown and Michelle Obama combine to reinforce the concept of our life cycle as an ebb and flow of movement and becoming. This month, as I look back over the past year and set my sights on the new year about to be born, I frame it in the act of becoming.
How exactly do we embrace this act of becoming? It begins with seeing our life stories not in pieces, but in a continuum of movement. Change comes in many different sizes. Sometimes it is small and subtle, sometimes it is big and seismic. Oftentimes, our life transitions fall somewhere in-between. Our awareness and attention to whatever changes are taking place is the important part.
The process of becoming is both a letting go and reaching out. Letting go of old, negative ways of thinking about oneself and believing we are bound to be stuck in a state of unhappiness. Feeling we have no choices. Surrendering to being a victim.
When we are aware, committed and immersed in the process of becoming, we are discovering who we are. We are finding faith in ourselves to heal, grow and learn, no matter what stage of life we are in.
Here are my top five lessons of 2019. They have shown me what becoming is all about.
1. Flexibility – Wanting something or someone to be the way you want them to be is a form of denial. You can’t see the reality of the situation or person because it doesn’t fit your expectation.
2. Imperfection – When we live in a mindset that we must be and do everything perfectly, we become prisoner to our own unreasonable expectations. We set ourselves up for a fall if we don’t reach that “perfect” mark.
3. Patience – When in a state of transition, we want to move to the firm ground of knowing answers. We want to feel settled, safe and secure. But change does not happen on our timetable. It only occurs when we are ready.
4. Understanding – All of these steps are about getting to know and understand who we are. Our individual traits, characteristics and beliefs can help or hinder how we navigate the bumps, detours and pathways of our lives.
5. Self-Compassion – When I remind myself to take a break, I am much more likely to be able to access a solution to solving my problem, Rather than blaming and shaming myself for not seeing warning signs, or not being able to control a particular situation, if I let go, I can allow myself to see choices that can move me forward.
My intention for this New Year is to grow my awareness of becoming and to pay attention to these 5 keys. I look forward to bringing you blogs each month that will resonate and connect with you in your process of becoming. Keep in touch with your questions, feedback and suggestions for topics we can explore together.
Dear readers, I wish you Happy Holidays filled with light, peace and joy and a New Year of possibilities and becoming!