Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but … life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves. – Gabriel García Márquez
Life does not come with an instruction manual. There are no clear cut paths to the self-actualized life we hope to live. There are, however, countless opportunities for course corrections every day. One only needs to adjust, adapt,… to CHANGE. That single word sums up real life. Everything changes, and so everyone must change. One’s birth creates the crucible for molding and remolding the self. The self moving through time encounters various degrees of resistance along the path. This resistance creates friction which shapes the self.
One sets goals and works around obstacles to try to accomplish those goals. Along the way the goal has to be altered or abandoned depending upon situations encountered. Some ideals should not be sacrificed such as, integrity, morality, honesty for these define us to ourselves. As a person matures these ideals and adaptations increasingly come to define a person’s character. The dictionary defines character as: “the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing”. But character is also a person or being in a narrative. The character one portrays before others is often not one’s true character. Adopting a public persona is part of social survival. But for the vast majority of people that public character is not the true self.
Cooperation is important to social beings. Aligning the individual self within a group can be critical to survival. As Marcus Aurelius wrote, Every living organism is fulfilled when it follows the right path for its own nature. Most life forms fulfill their true nature as part of a group. It is an important human characteristic though to seek actualization of a fully realized individual identity. Self-actualization requires sophisticated adaptations, perseverance and an indestructible will. And this brings about a dynamic vitality which overcomes without friction.
Happiness is not an accident, and joy cannot be purchased. When a person has shaped their true nature through morality, creativity, spontaneity, lack of prejudiced, acceptance of facts, life is a blessing. Many years ago I was influenced by a quote from the mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell: If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. Follow your bliss and give birth to your true incorruptible self. Peace.