“I believe ardently that you should drop everything
and run toward your true self.” – Kyran Pittman
Chances are, most of us are not going to be able to “drop everything,” but that doesn’t mean we have to forget about being our true self as a result.
The important thing is to identify our true self and then to find ways to honor it – to run or walk or move toward it – as often and as fully as we can.
In his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (a pioneer in the scientific study of happiness), writes:
The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times . . . The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”
Doing something that is both challenging and worthwhile!
Like devoting time to your passion. Like honoring that part of your true self. That doesn’t mean we have to be doing what we love 24/7 in order to be happy or to feel fulfilled (though if we can, that’s awesome). But we do need to devote some time to it.
Unfortunately, many creatives give up the pursuit of their art because it isn’t practical, because they won’t be able to (or may not be able to) support themselves on that alone.
I’m not going to suggest that most of us can just give up our day jobs and run in that direction, like Pittman suggests, but I do believe our cognizance of that limitation often influences just how much we do (and even more often do not) move in that direction.
There are certainly myriad reminders and pressures on us to forget about that direction (sometimes entirely), to stop following what Joseph Campbell called our “bliss” (whether that’s writing, or painting, or running, or whatever we feel called to do).
Most of us, however, give away time each week, if not each day, that we could spend doing that thing we love.
Maybe it’s only fifteen minutes some days, maybe it’s more. But the thing is, once we start making even a little time for that part of ourselves, we tend to find more time available for that very thing. And we also tend to start feeling happier and more fulfilled, as we get into what Csikszentmihalyi calls “Flow” doing that worthwhile activity.
Most of us can walk in the direction of our true selves if we allow ourselves to slow down and to listen, to identify what it is we truly want to do (our calling, so to speak), and if we give ourselves permission to honor that side of ourselves even just a little.
As Zig Ziglar put it, “You seldom, if ever, get lucky sitting down.”
We can’t get to that destination if we don’t actually get up and take the steps. And denying our true selves is often what leads to frustration, resentment, regret, guilt, and feelings of something missing and dissatisfaction.
So if you haven’t gotten started on the path toward your true self, begin by answering these questions:
Who is your true self?
What do you need to do to move in that direction?
If you have started, what do you need to do next in order to keep your momentum going? Giving yourself permission and time to do the thing you love is probably on the list.