‘In a nutshell, in order to be happy, you need to accept yourself.
The epiphany here is that, paradoxically, accepting oneself as one is often involves releasing yourself, especially when there is an illusory self, which you hold to be desirable.’*
‘[T]he only way to keep making a difference is to keep giving. Giving the best part of yourself, with or without the prospect of reward.’**
Your worthiness cannot be given by another, only recognised.
Another stranger thing is that we can be more aware of our worthiness when we’re being exluded from something – something may then feel ourselves to be entitled to. We seem less expressing our worthiness by beginning something new, when we make something happen. Something that will recognise and include others – to give rather than get. We need to believe we can this.
Edgar Schein writes about the kinds of question that help us move into things we have not seen or understood about ourselves:
‘Whereas the previous inquiry questions only steered clients through their own conceptual and emotional landscapes the confrontational question introduces new ideas, concepts, hypotheses, options, etc. that clients must now deal with.’^
We can be worthy generally but the artful question allows us to be worthy specifically, to know and name what it is that we have to bring. Specific doesn’t happen quickly – it requires some slowness. Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber describe slowness in this way:
‘Slowing down, in contrast, is about allowing room for others and otherness. An in that sense, slowing down is an ethical choice.’^^
This is interesting because even in a fast world we still know that people and relationships are the most important part of life. In a slower world, people can notice and grow their worthiness. Slow time is about questions, having time to find out more than we presently know, including about ourselves. Slow listening is open and inquisitive about the whole person, the larger world and the universe of possibilities.
Joseph Campbell makes this intriguing point which can be related to specific worthiness:
“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”*^
Add to this some remarks from Erwin McManus’ on indecisiveness and we may see that someone else’s path is exactly where we have found ourselves:
‘What I learned from twenty years of indecisiveness is that you will either define yourself or be defined by others. You will either choose your life or live a life that was never meant to be yours.”^*
Our lives are trying to get our attention so we might see our worthiness. Of such attention as this, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes:
‘Attention is like energy in that without it no work can be done, and in doing work it is dissipated. We create ourselves by how we invest this energy. Memories, thoughts, nd feelings are all shaped by how we use it. And it is an energy under our control, to do with as we please; hence, attention is our most important tool in the task of improving the quality of experience.’⁺
When our energy is engaged in what matters to us then what we find we have is flow:
‘When we are in rhythm with our own nature, things flow an balance naturally.’⁺⁺
This natural flow can be broken up or disrupted by a number of things. Csikszentmihalyi names pain, rage, anxiety, or jealousy, and I would add premature judgement and cynicism as great interruptors.
Why not slow down and notice where your attention goes when it’s given free rein providing you with the possibility of becoming acquainted with your worthiness.
(*From Ken Mogi’s The Little Book of Ikigai.)
(**From gapingvoid’s Your time will come.)
(^From Edgar Schein’s Helping.)
(^^From Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber’s The Slow Professor.)
(*^Joseph Campbell, quoted in Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)
(^*From Erwin McManus’ The Last Arrow.)
(⁺From Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow.)
(⁺⁺From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)