There is something to be said about the value of consistency. This is true at any time, but perhaps even more so when so much of what we used to take for granted has changed. I stumbled across the title of this post from Stephanie Russell’s One Flash of Lightning: A Samurai Path for Living the Moment. As I read that phrase I asked myself what it would take to present the same face to everyone I interact with, in person and online. Is there a way I can foster my existence to be the same person with everyone? No pretense, no ulterior motive, no secondary objective or agenda—just me. Here are some ideas I am pondering that I will work on to foster a kind of genuineness that is real and true to me as well as clear to others:
Honesty. I will strive to be forthcoming to as many people as I can. Honesty means being truthful, which is different than being vulnerable. Vulnerability, in turn, is something I share with those who have earned my trust and the ability to hold the more intimate parts of myself.
Self-compassion. I will work towards exercising forgiveness to myself. I am not perfect. When I do not meet my expectations, I will remind myself that I can try again. In most instances there is always a second chance to make things right, even if it does not erase past mistakes.
Patience. I will acknowledge that I am always in a state of learning. Granting myself space to learn and try again is just as valuable as achieving the task at hand. When I am able to show this trait to myself, I will have a heightened ability to extend patience to others, which is something I highly value.
Groundedness. I will make time to do the things that keep me level and steady. These things can include journaling, spiritual reflection, prayer, art-making, and exercise. Regardless of what one does to maintain stability in a shaky world, make time for it because the world will not guarantee the time.
Lou Lim is a licensed mental health counselor and registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) with a master's degree in Expressive Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and on the committee for REAT credentialing. He has 13 years of experience in counseling and expressive therapy working with children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, and retirees.