Intuition, strengths, weaknesses.
I like to be strong. I like to be powerful! I like to be meaningful and I like to have a positive impact. I like to be important, I like to be right. I like to be confident, I like to be helpful.
We all like to be perceived by both ourselves and others in certain ways. In some of these unexamined desires I found myself causing the opposite to what I wanted. I found I would try so hard to help that I was no longer helpful. Eventually I was a burden on other people where they needed to assure me that I was helpful before I could relax and leave them alone.
I needed to come to terms with my desire to help. I needed to see that if I wanted to be helpful, that was for myself to square with myself, and not for other people to validate. I needed to see that I could be helpful while doing nothing, a paradox of the fact that sometimes inaction is helpful too. I needed to realise that despite my best intentions, sometimes I will get it wrong and that’s a tragedy that I can’t be in control of, while deeply intending that not to happen and not beating myself up if I do.
In grappling with “who I like to be”, and spending years of time getting to know myself, I started to be able to ease up on how much I felt I needed to be the helper. How much I needed to show strength. I even started to explore the opposite of some of these polarities. I tried being insignificant, being meaningless, having a negative impact (I don’t like that one). I tried being weak and soft and scared. The great thing about being weak is that you don’t have to expect much of yourself. The great thing about being insignificant is that you don’t have to fuss about being important. The great thing about having a negative impact is that you relinquish your responsibility to extended orders of effect that you can’t control, and get clearer on what you can deliberately do.
I explored so many of these ways of being that I expanded the category of “who I like to be” to cover a bigger territory. Then I became okay being flexible, fluid, creative in who I like to be.
I also started to notice who I like to be in relation to other people. I like to win, I like to be successful, I like to be the model of a good person. I like to “do the right thing”. But along with watching myself in the relational sense, I started to notice that I show up differently in front of different people.
Once I could be flexible about who I wanted to be, I could notice who other people wanted me to be. And then I could watch who I found myself being in order to meet other people’s shape of me. I can find myself being confident with one person, and confused with another.
But more importantly, I can learn about other people by who I end up being in front of them. The shape of me, is influenced by the shape of their desire, which is influenced by the shape of their struggles and their ideals which is influenced by the shape of their lack of flexibility of being.
Who I choose to be is a mixture of who I want to be, the type of person that appeals to myself. And who you want me to be. The type of person who appeals to you. If I can tune into my side and calibrate myself towards reducing my own noise, I can tune into your part and what matters to you.
This is a training in intuition.
This post goes well with my last post The hero principle of the mind.