EVOLUTION & CHANGE: more push and pull from life
Cognitive dissonance: holding two confliciting beliefs. It’s akin, or like a cousin to, guilt. It’s uncomfortable. Most people take the path of least resistance and adopt the easiest route to re-establish comfort. However, doing that often means compromising self-concept, which as you might know, is destiny.
Ex: A guy sees himself as an honest man. Yet, catches himself bullshitting while talking to some people. He senses it in his belly then or later, and doesn’t like how he feels.
So here, he can either rationalize it–and tell himself something like, “Everyone bullshits a little bit,” or a version thereof.
However, if he does this, it means a shift in his self-concept, a watering down of his values and belief in himself, and a polluting of the ideal of how he believes others see him.
He’s now nothing special: a “bullshitter” like everyone else.
This is a weakening of his self. It’s a weakening of his manhood, and that lessening of his power will translate into every area of his existence. Soon, he can expect to use this same lazy template to rationalize other aspect of life: his body, his relationships, his work, his very spirit.
The more difficult challenge for him is to take the interoception he reads from his body and realize this was a call to action.
This is what men do. They lean into things, even when those things are uncomfortable, painful, and involve short-term loss. A man with an intact sense of himself knows if you give him an ax and point him towards a forest, he can build a life.
A man who knows he is a man, remains dangerous. He guards against anything which would dull the sharpness of his edges, carefully honing himself like an ax, or a sword, or a mind.
He may choose to never bullshit again. He may choose to retract (a beautiful word and technique available to anyone) his words with those people, and re-establish his worth in his own eyes, and perhaps in theirs. He may choose to be more careful in the future and stay precisely on the side of truth.
The same is true of any change. Life progresses and we must adapt to it, or die. Each day you are caught between your old self and the possibility of a new you. The old self is comfortable, you know him well.
The new you is uncertain, less known, and perhaps a little scary. Part of it is because your self concept has two aspects: How you see yourself measured up against how you believe others see you. What a balance you must negotiate.
The motivation stall is wrapped in two things: one is your old self/new self dichotomy being played out as per above. But another factor could be perfectionism. That’s a common facet in men, and indeed, of procrastinators everywhere.
We can become afraid to act and make a mistake and, be judged, so do nothing. The risk is judged too high, best to immobilize myself, frozen here, I take zero chance. Now, I am plagued with “what ifs” and “if onlys” and “coulda, shoulda, woulda” self-flagellations. These add to my inertia.
So, the answer is to watch for the above. Sometimes, just starting at something is enough to entrain the rest of you… so you become fully involved in a task. Starting is everything.
Worth repeating: Starting is everything. Do one rep, commit to 5 minutes, get moving, but start at something, anything.
Soon your natural inclination to live takes over. All humans seek to stop time, to cheat the forward movement of their lives, to stop the linear progression they know ends in death.
And the only way to stop time is to get so deeply engrossed in doing something of complexity and which demands from us a progression of competence. This flow state stops it all, and is the natural boundary of spirit and body. It’s where passion and strengths and focus meet. It’s our personal heaven while alive, available to anyone one of us.
This all is made easier if you are getting time in to take care of your spirit needs. Planned and merited reward is a key part of taking care of yourself. Do not allow the demands of those around you to snuff out your spirit. Do not ask, but take it, impose your spirit on life. You are no good to anyone with a weakened spirit, so do the thing which allow yours to soar high.
It’s good to plan “I will do this and then I’m going to do that” and have the “that” as something which rewards you. Play is spiritual, especially play in nature, outdoors, where you evolved. Planned play is a key way to take care of you, your spirit. Do not let this lapse in your life.
All of us as human being have a core worry that other people will discover we are imperfect, and not good enough, and that this discovery will mean we are not worthy of love. It’s a story we tell ourselves, derived from nature’s needs.
Understanding this, we can seize our power as men and write our own narrative. It’s our story to write.
What story are you writing about you?