The last week of any year compels reflection, as does time spent with family. It’s when older folks start pontificating while the younger ones sigh and roll their eyes. So here are the next 5 cents of “wisdom”. 

#Fulfilled rather than flawless 

      The source of #selfvalidation needs to be held within us. As long as our self esteem is dependent on meeting some one else’s expectations, we are effectively a hostage of their emotional maturity, as so many of us discover. I used to think someone who has enjoyed success and popularity would have extra tolerance for loss or mistakes. Another hard won lesson, that isn’t how it works. Perfection is a ruthless predator of empathy and fulfillment. 

Grimy rather than glorious

     There are few things in life that give us a connection to the universe more effectively than doing some hands on, messy physical activity. My personal favorite is #gardening, we experience what warm dirt feels like, how seeds sprout, and roots anchor. How overwatering is just as harmful as neglect, and periodic pruning of the whole may be necessary for the growth of what we want (🤓 it’s all so symbolic!)

Honest rather than harsh 

   It is often when we are ourselves hurting most that we hurt others. That #innercritic can be unrelenting, it is so painful to see the desperate denial in the face of reality. It is important to create the space and acceptance of our own self, in all our flaws and fancies. Hold ourselves in support and comfort when we need to face some bitter truth. Honesty with radical compassion for ourselves is essential to growth. 

#Idealistic rather than infallible

     Believing in some principles and striving towards them for ourselves (not imposing them on others) is another trait that marks most really admirable people. There is a certain humility in idealism, a hope for something better held despite frequent failure to uphold. If our ideals are too easy (self satisfied) or too difficult (cynicism) to reach, we sabotage chances of progress. Tilt at some windmills!!

Joyful rather than jealous

Look for #joywithin, rather than judging or coveting someone else’s happiness. Our very different histories and circumstances will mark us in very different ways (even as siblings raised by the same parents in the same home). This has been hard for me because our culture invites defining success by tangible possessions. Even if jewelry brings me no real joy, I have negative feelings if I am constantly in a group of folks who value diamonds. I find myself stepping into the rat race of the newest car (even though I love my mustang), the biggest house (ugh, more to clean!) or the most likes. Pursuing them actually robs us of the opportunity to examine our own preferences.

The ABCs of life skills F to J
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