This morning as I was catching up on some old blog posts from some of my favorite authors, I ran across this quote from The Baking Bird. As a somewhat addicted blog and Pinterest enthusiast, I see these kinds of quote-o-graphs (btw, what are they really called?) all the time but this one just kind of stopped me in my tracks. For as long as I can remember, I have cared immensely about how the outside world sees me. Perhaps is comes from our image-obsessed society or it might relate to my people-pleasing tendencies. As a child, I never wanted to disappoint my parents. In high school, I spent ridiculous amounts of time blow-drying, straightening, and then curling my hair. In romantic relationships, I hid my true self to avoid conflict. These days, I worry about how my house, career, and relationship look to those ever-present "others".
While there are possibly some positive aspects to seeing oneself through the eyes of the outside world (helps me keep my house neater!) it becomes problematic when the personal experience is not attended to. Who cares if you always have the best clothes if you're stressed out by increasing credit card debt? What does a picture perfect relationship matter if you and your partner aren't making each other happy? When it comes to evaluating your life, your inner experience will guide you much for faithfully than your concerns about what people will think.
These are truths that still give me a lot of trouble and I know I have a long way to go. But maybe just taking a few minutes to ask myself what I really want in my life is a good place to start.