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 all have the human capacity to reach beyond ourselves, opening up possibilities of 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 a forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self.”
If you are a regular reader, you know that I often talk 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 settle into 2020, a new decade and a new year, I explore it through the lens 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 a 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 that 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 the lessons I have learned and what I bring into this new year. 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 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 unfold 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 five keys, flexibility, imperfection, patience, understanding and self-compassion. I fully expect that my road of intentions will be paved with detours, bumps, curves and smooth patches.
How about you? What do you see as your 2020 pathway? What do you need to heal? What do you need to learn? And most of all, how do you want to grow? I’d love to hear from you!