This is a challenging blog post for me to write because I know that I will publish it and will need to respond to the comments gracefully… and I will.
I believe that the reason a lot of people struggle on their journey from being self-destructive to becoming a self actualised adult, able to achieve health and well-being for themselves, is the reluctance to admit when they are wrong. If a person is genuinely in search of the truth and has a desire to be the best person they can be, to be able help others, then it is necessary to be able to admit when a prior belief is no longer correct. I am sure that we all know somebody who will argue something until they’re blue in the face even when the reality is clearly something different. They are ‘stuck in their ways’ and admitting defeat tends to make them feel inadequate and sets of a defensive mode. I was like this for a long time (thanks mum), but not anymore. I can admit when I am wrong, if I can see that I am, which is humbling and beneficial or everyone involved. Some topics are obviously subjective, so there isn’t necessarily a cut and dry way to resolve the issue – that is a whole other blog post!
I have learned, particularly over the last four years since becoming pregnant with my first son, if we are not open minded and flexible that we will become miserable. I was so programmed to be stubborn, with the need to always be right that four years on I am still working on this every day. Had I not developed a life, which included both yoga and having children, my situation might be very different right now. Someone I love dearly is living in misery due to their unreasonable expectations and it is awful to watch; I don’t want to lived like that, nor do I want to subject others to it.
During a recent discussion I had with a loved one, I was told that I had been acting a certain way that made them feel stressed about a simple task. It was mentioned that I care about so many things that it seemed impossible to choose the ‘correct’ way to do anything for fear of being chastised. Boy, did I feel low. I could definitely see how my passionate nature could turn into this type of behaviour. I do care about a lot of things; the environment, the animals, yoga, nutrition, health and well-being, helping people, ect, ect… For most of my life I have put so much pressure on myself to do everything within a certain set of boundaries and in doing so I have projected those expectations onto the people around me. To be fare, I don’t have any expectations of the vast majority of my friends and family anymore, but I suppose the ones closest still cop the brunt of what I expect of myself. SO, when I was told this I immediately felt a deep sense of empathy and apologised for contributing to them feeling this way and vowed to try even harder to improve my behaviour.
I am always trying to undo years of imprinted behavioural patterns and even epi-genetics so that I can be truly happy and be of service to others; I also want to be the best possible role model for my children, all of which are dependant on my ability to out grow all of my immaturities. The need to be right is immature.
It’s no secret that I am a little obsessed with nutrition as a form on healing; therefore, I am constantly searching for the latest evidence about diet and exercise combinations for optimal health. I am well and truly sold on yoga asana, fasting and mindfulness being proven methods for improving and maintaining health; HOWEVER, I have spent the last ten years experimenting on myself with many different ways of eating and the science keeps on making new discoveries from long-term randomised controlled studies that impact my diet habits. As a child I grew up on your average Aussie diet: cereal, toast or bacon and eggs for brekky, and ham/ chicken and salad sandwhich for lunch, and meat and three veg for dinner. Obviously this is a very basic overview, but hopefully you get the idea.
I was roughly thirteen years old when I decided that my love for animals was more important than my love for the taste of them. I was animal obsessed and could no longer bare the idea of being responsible for their deaths, and to be perfectly honest, I still can’t; well, not them dying so much as their lives being spent in the appalling living and slaughter conditions they are generally exposed to in our current farming system. So I announced to my mortified parents that I would be turning vegan! The world pretty much stopped turning when the words came out of my teenage mouth. They thought it would be a phase, but what my parents just didn’t seem to get was that my convictions were much stronger than their pleas for me to not be such a pain in the arse… in fact it only made them stronger. I didn’t let a single ounce of animal flesh or secretion touch my lips for many years after that decision was made, until my early twenties when I had a pretty serious mental break down and began consuming animal products again (same time I got my implants and started taking copious amounts of recreational drugs… oh and becoming a stripper). That lasted for a few years until I just realised one day that I wasn’t living in line with my belief system and so I stopped consuming animals again. I also stopped other behaviours that weren’t serving me well at that time.
At around twenty-six years old I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome after ceasing to take birth control pills and still not menstruating nine months on, so I began researching the ways in which I could reverse it, as I was not overweight, which at the time was rare and there wasn’t much understanding in the medical world about my situation. I discovered that nutrition had a major role to play and so I became obsessed with trying every weird diet I could. Eventually (five years later) a week long fast seemed to do the trick, but there were many different trials leading up to that. Immediately after my longest fast I moved to Melbourne and met the father of my children… seven moths after we got together I was pregnant. It was a big deal. We were told at nineteen weeks that the foetus wasn’t growing at the correct rate and of course, this news scared me half to death. I was also not putting on any weight, which isn’t healthy, so I asked for advice and we eventually decided that I would start eating fatty fish a few times per week, and to be honest, for the last few years I have struggled to know without doubt what is truly healthy… until now.
There is so much evidence that has come out within the last year about nutrition and it is impossible to deny the facts. I can no longer say with such conviction that animal food is not healthy. For decades we have been told that low fat diets are the best option but it’s all rubbish, funded by cereal companies. It has been proven in a thirty year study carried out by the Swedes, that cow’s milk is not healthy, which was always obvious to me (I have always hated milk!) and obviously processed food (including processed meat) is no good for us. Eggs, fish and meat however… this was hard for me to come to terms with. I have accepted that a certain amount of animal product can be healthy; although, no where near what the general meat eater consumes today. Anyway, my point is – I was wrong. It doesn’t eliminate my ethical dilemma surrounding it all but I will never see that fully rectified in my life time.
I was wrong about some of my views. Views that I believed whole heartedly to be right and was vocal about, which I have no problem admitting. We constantly have new information and it’s pointless holding onto old opinions. If you know something isn’t correct anymore, just say so and own it. It’s perfectly okay to be wrong! In fact it is liberating in some respects because it allows the person to break free of the bonds of ego and breaking down the ego feels gooood. It truly does.
In my yoga training I have experienced the breakdown of ego many times and it’s one of, if not the main reasons I return to my mat regularly. I love uncovering that contentment that is always there below the facade of needing to be right all the time to protect our perceived integrity. The pure bliss of being free from the bonds of the attention seeking personality that is always trying to make me feel the need to be better than what I am right now. Just to accept what is at any given moment, take a deep inhalation, know that I don’t have to be right all the time to be worthy of love, exhale slowly aaaaand relax. Let it go.
This is much easier to do on the mat than in ‘real life’ but that is why we do the training; so we can take those lessons into our lives and enrich those of the people around us. By no means am I suggesting that you become a door mat and let go of anything you believe to be true, I am just saying that if there is a black and white answer and you happen to become aware that you are wrong then admit it! The wor