“Our wisdom is all mixed up with what we call our neurosis. Our brilliance, our juiciness, our spiciness, is all mixed up with our craziness and our confusion, and therefore it doesn’t do any good to try to get rid of our so-called negative aspects, because in that process we also get rid of our basic wonderfulness. We can lead our life so as to become more awake to who we are and what we’re doing rather than trying to improve or change or get rid of who we are or what we’re doing. The key is to wake up, to become more alert, more inquisitive and curious about ourselves.” ~ Pema Chödrön
We have all been systematically trained to live against our own temperaments.
If we like to go slow, we’re told to speed up. We have been told we won’t get our work done in time or that we will hold everyone else up if we move and think too slowly.
And if we like to go fast, then we have been asked to wait for the rest of the pack or told that our ideas are coming too fast and others can’t follow.
Or maybe we are erratic. Sometimes we need to sprint and sometimes we need to crawl, and we have been told we are unpredictable and that we need to be stable to make others feel more comfortable.
The point is many of us are exhausted and confused and feel like we aren’t living as our authentic selves because our daily schedules, activities, and pace of life are contrary to our temperaments.
This leads us to feel like who we are naturally isn’t good enough and that we need to change in order to make others feel more comfortable around us, and to feel more comfortable being ourselves.
I think this goal of feeling more comfortable in our own skin is really important, but not because we need to change. Instead, it is essential because we are perfect the way we are and simply need to give ourselves more space to be exactly who we are.
The world needs all of us.
It needs our seriousness, our distractedness, our playfulness, and our inquisitiveness. The planet needs diversity for survival.
A mix of personalities, temperaments, opinions, and styles of doing things ensures our survival and allows there to be complexities that promote growth.
That is why one caring thing we can do for ourselves is take a look at our lives and be firm in discerning where we are pushing ourselves out of our natural temperaments and pace.
What often happens when we do this type of self-awareness work is we begin to doubt and lose faith in ourselves.
We think that if we live in our natural temperament we will become out of control in some way. We will sleep too much, eat too much, or be too self-destructive.
I highly recommend taking a close look at where we are self-policing in some belief that our natural tendencies and choices will hurt us or be bad for us in some way.
This type of distrust for ourselves is very painful. It is actually more painful than other people not trusting us. Admitting where we have lost the ability to care for ourselves with ease and grace and instead feel like we need to push ourselves with force is an important awareness to have.
I have confidence that our natural temperaments, when allowed to fully bloom, will always be beautiful and bring abundance to our lives.
When we restrict our natural temperaments from showing, we feel all tied up, restricted, and like our life choices are limited.
Going slow isn’t correct, and going fast isn’t correct either. Being busy isn’t correct and having lots of free time isn’t the perfect option in any respect.
What is essential is self-awareness, and that means asking ourselves if our pace of life, schedule, number of commitments, and type of transitions we have within a day are suiting us and, more importantly, serving us.
This is not an easy question. Many of us have never, in our entire lives, lived a day that is actually in sync with our natural temperament, so we likely have no clue how to evaluate if how we are living feels right for us.
That is why we are not looking for a correct answer to the question, “are we living aligned with our temperament?” Instead, it is more of a process.
A process of being committed to self-love, being committed to self-awareness, and being committed to being a spiritual warrior, so that we can make the hard, brave choices of developing a lifestyle that feels in sync with our personal, daily rhythm.
I am aware that when we have spent our lives being told that living aligned with our natural temperament is a luxury, the possibility seems virtually impossible.
But if we are feeling physically sick, emotionally drained, spiritually poor, and like we can’t access our real power then how are we ever going to be of true service to this planet and humanity, which we so greatly want to help?
Our temperament is important. It is not to be ignored. Proper amounts of sleep, food that our bodies thrive on, a schedule that has enough stimulation but not too much overwhelm, and time to think slowly or quickly, depending on what our systems need, are all essential.
Asking the intimate questions about where our schedules support our unique temperaments and where they conflict are a great place to start on this self-awareness practice that can aid us in living happier, more fulfilled lives.
Our temperaments are essential. Giving them our attention is a beautiful gift we all can give to ourselves each and every day.