Be the person you need to be and the person you want to be will adapt.
It would be nice if we could all just ‘be ourselves’ without consequences, if everybody liked, loved, and respected us no matter how we behaved. Unfortunately, the people who count on us, those we serve, need us to show up in ways that are often very different than who we think we are or want to be.
When there is disparity between our self image and necessity, when these things do not not align, if we err on the side of service and necessity, our self image will adapt. Adaptation, after all, is the essence of evolution. If we are not evolving, if we are not growing and changing to meet and overcome the demands of our environment, we are stagnant and stagnation means death.
The persons we imagine ourselves to be are, more often than not, only shadows of our true selves and our true potential. Our imagined selves can never grow beyond these shadows without light shone on them. The light we need in order to see and grow past the limitations of our imagined selves is friction and feedback from our relationships.
In other words, we need conflict. We need to be challenged. Then, we need to rise to the challenge, but this requires us to change.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Artwork by Ana, except where otherwise noted
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