On life’s journey, intermittently pausing to assess our progress helps to readjust our sights and correct our path.
An amount of measured introspection is an essential (if sometimes painful) exercise, and how we see ourselves at any given moment in time will directly impact on our future actions. As we all live by different values (and long may that be the case), we all have slightly different yardsticks by which to judge our progress.
From my point of view, there are two particular yardsticks that are always vying for prominence.
I try to live my life by my (inner) feelings, but sometimes the (external) numbers get in the way to the extent that I can’t help wondering whether they carry more weight. It is naïve to say that unswerving positivity is more important than a healthy bank balance, but equally a healthy bank balance is no good if you are cowering in bed with depression.
Let’s be honest, healthy feelings and healthy numbers are often intimately linked, so the real question is where you place your focus. If you believe that healthy feelings lead to healthy numbers (and vice versa), which yardstick is your go-to barometer of success?
Many people would see materialistic achievements as the primary measure of their worth. So much internal effort goes into building a career, buying a house, finding a life partner, or raising a family. These visible accomplishments provide the fuel for our internal battles, and no matter how hard the emotional struggle might be, at least we get to shut our own door behind us or kiss the kids goodnight. Good “numbers” give us a tangible reason to feel better about ourselves.
How is it possible to feel good without good numbers, and do bad numbers mean that our emotional world should be desolate and barren too?
I believe that our inner self can be nourished perfectly well without the trappings of materialistic “success.” How we truly feel about our lives and ourselves is not a reflection of whether we own a house or whether our daughter has got into the A team of all-conquering netball club. Belief and faith in our purpose (whatever that might be) is stronger than where we physically find ourselves at any given moment. How we feel (and how those feelings develop) during the journey is worth more than that fleeting sense of achievement when we do get there.
So, you’ve got a new job. Tick. What’s next then?
Numbers can only be quantified when we hit certain milestones, but for the vast majority of our lives we are in that state of limbo when we are not quite there yet. At these moments we can’t help but fall back on how we are feeling about things.
Our past achievements (numbers) are in the past and our future achievements haven’t happened yet, so we have to rely on our inner strength to get us there. Without a whole host of positive feelings, we simply won’t have what it takes to “hit” those numbers.
For me, cultivating healthy feelings is what keeps me ticking along. I might achieve my goals or I might miss out on them, but as long as I am caring for my inner world, I know that I’ll get there in the end.
Whatever “there” means….
I’m honestly not sure that it matters anymore.
What matters is how you feel along the way….