Frantically trying to finish work for the week so that I can jet for Oregon to see Jeremy and Rose! I was, however, pondering self-image again in the shower this morning, so I wanted to write that out a little more.
Nate suggested that the correct thing to do is to align your outer self with your ideal self – that is, behave like who you want to be. I think it’s a very admirable goal, but I also think it is the opposite of easy. The reason I believe that is that I think one’s outer self is very volatile in response to control – both from inside and from outside.
Here’s an (appropriately themed for the month) example:
In my Junior year, when I was still kind of recovering from Katharina telling me she definitely didn’t want to be involved with me (in a relationship), I turned to running as a way to get my mind off of it. Well, to be clear, I wanted to find something to get my mind of it, but couldn’t. It took a good friend, Robin, to convince me to get my butt in gear and get running. And even then, as I continued to run each morning, I was unable to keep my mind from returning to the Katharina “problem” (only really a problem in my own head) whenever I (a) saw her or (b) saw something that reminded me of her or (c) happened to think about any experience involving her.
I don’t think it’s impossible to do what Nate suggests, but the pressure of emotions (and emotional response to what’s happening around you) does a ton to shape your outer self sub/unconsciously. This is the danger of utilizing the outer self as a tool to change yourself – it cleaves in both directions. There have definitely been times in my life (like, now, for example) where my outer self is emotionally turbulent and it is dragging me around with it.
It seems a much safer, if much more difficult, method to work on the inner self while maintaining some measure of stability in one’s outer self. Or, at least, make small changes rather than large ones (advice that could apply to lots of scenarios, not just those about image!)