Recently some friends invited me to get in shape and lose a few pounds with them. The stipulation? I had to commit to track and email a list at the end of each day of every morsel of food placed in my mouth. Amazing how a goal crystallizes when someone is holding you accountable and expecting full honesty. My dear friend Emily Orton put it this way, “Why does knowing someone else cares motivate us to take care of ourselves?”
There is something deeply empowering in the public statement of a goal. The desire for achievement is one thing. The declaration of it, entirely another. It is a proven and tested approach for me. Not necessarily to announce to the entire planet, but verbally or in writing, announce even to ourselves, a trusted someone or even a stranger – “I’m working on this thing – here’s what I’ve committed to do to make it happen”.
Accountability for our choices and behavior is inherent in values based living. What is important to us drives those decisions and actions. If it doesn’t, then we have a disconnect. Human beings aren’t built to live in a values/behavior conflict. My observation has been that when values and behavior are out of sync, one of those has to change. Typically I’ve seen that it is a person’s values that get swept away – on the surface the easier path.
Not living true to your core however, extracts its price. Health, relationships: there are many places in life for your anguish to show up. Craving Balance writer, Lisa Gates just wrote on this – a touching, tragic and ultimately healing tale of a life coming full circle.
I think my favorite word in the English language is “authentic”. When I make a connection that feels honest and pure to its very essence, I am so grateful. The reason I married my husband was primarily because it was the first relationship I had ever been in where I felt every facet of who I am could be expressed without judgment, repression or recrimination. On the contrary, I felt celebrated in every respect. Vulnerability and kick-butt strength could co-exist without threatening one iota of this man’s sense of self. The gift of authenticity is a gift he continues to offer daily. It is a gift we deserve to give to each other, and more fundamentally, to ourselves.
A true seeker of balance, has to decide what they value. And in some way, declare those values. A critical add-on is to find a confidant and regularly return and report on what you are doing to live an integrated life.
Do you have someone that could be? Perhaps you could you start a journal? Is there something you feel you should really do with your life, thoughts you may have had before and dismissed? Paraphrasing Stephen Covey “What’s the one thing you’re not doing right now that you know would change your life? Why aren’t you doing it?”
What does your authentic life look life? Would you comment so I can hear your thoughts? I would love you to share, follow and link to this blog.
Note: Photo of my Mother circa 1965. What was she thinking then? What was important to her? Did her life play out as she dreamed back then? I am going to ask her.