One of the exercises for the first month of Praxis is to think of 5 traits that you either want to enhance or obtain, then, think of the 5 people you spend the most time with. How do their traits effect your personality? How does it compare and contrast to your character goals? Well, I have to admit this was a difficult one for me to answer. The 5 people were easy: Dad, Mom, my sister, my brother, and my other brother. (I'm homeschooled, remember?) But it's this reason I found this to be difficult, I know my family pretty dang well. I know their best traits, their worst traits, their personalities, their characters - I know it all.
Since I found myself in this situation, I thought I'd take this challenge a step farther and do a 3-part series. Today I just want to focus on my 5 traits.
Some of the most respectable people I know are the ones that have poise. They speak when they need to, and they speak confidently and intentionally. They carry themselves a certain way, with an attitude that gives you a sense of intelligence and humility. Something about their character shows that they're respectable, they're knowledgeable, and in a way almost mysterious, but people with this character are always likeable - sometimes immediately.
Growing up, I hated being shy. I thought the solution to my problem was to speak my mind now matter how ridiculous - there's no doubting sometimes it's good to let loose and make jokes - but I would like to be someone who speaks when she needs to and carries herself with dignity. I don't want to be prideful (or too reserved) but a good balance of the two. I want to learn how to speak and act with humility and poise.
Everyone from time to time struggles with patience. I feel more often than not, I'm in a situation where I'm waiting for something. Whether it be a job, something from a friend - anything. But I seem to always be waiting for something. I want to learn to be patient with life and with other people. I want to stop thinking about the future and start to think about the present. I think "waiting" exists in the mind and patience is a skill.
This goes hand-in-hand with the last trait - it's about being present. There's times when I could be helping people, but instead I'm too focused on when my ride is going to show up or when so-and-so is going to email me. I need to learn to let things happen when they happen, in the meantime, look around and see what I can do. What can be done? What can I change? How can I help?
Pride is a dangerous thing because it sneaks up on you, sadly, some people never notice. It's like a disease that takes over your life. If you do something mean to someone - it's their fault. If someone asks for help - you're too busy, all the time, no matter what. (It's easy to justify that too.) Pride takes over your mind and finds a perfect excuse for every mistake. You become oblivious to your own flaws and invent new flaws in others. Most of the time, the very same flaws you despise in others are the very same ones you struggle with yourself. Pride is a very dangerous thing, it destroys lives and takes over your mind.
The bravest and strongest people are the ones that are humble because they already defeated pride. Essentially, they're free from the disease but they can also spot it in others. Humble people are usually wise and they won't allow pride to tempt them. They have self-control and self-respect. Humility doesn't mean weak, it actually means strong.
People that are free and full of life are also the ones that tend to be spontaneous. I think sometimes people are scared to be spontaneous because they're comfortable with structure. People are so used to being told what to do that they can't imagine life another way.
I'd say I'm a pretty spontaneous person - ask my friends, they know. Sometimes I embarrass them because I can let loose no matter how many people are watching. (But hey, if I'm feeling like doing Irish jig, I'm going to do an Irish jig because life's not always about following the rules.) However, I wish I could show this side of me in my work. Sometimes I get too scared about an idea and I feel like I have to ask for permission. It's not natural for me, I don't like asking for permission but for some reason I find myself feeling as though I need to. Well, I don't want to be like that anymore. I want to be respectful, but I also want to be free and go through with my ideas. I need to be daring and let it show in my work.
There's a phrase my sister and I say to each other all of the time: "It should be fine." It's our way of saying "Hey, don't worry about it. Even if this situation turns out terrible - there's other options. A mistake is just an opportunity to learn and be creative. It should be fine."
This started back when her and I decided to learn how to sew. We thought it would be fun to do a project together and we had a sewing machine so we figured, why not? We didn't know what we were doing. We watched some videos on YouTube, tried to set up the machine as best as we could, and we faked our way through it. The process went much like this: "Is this how it's supposed to go?", "Did the girl in the video do it that way?", "Is this thing even on?" But our answer each time was it should be fine. We didn't say that phrase as an excuse to be lazy, we didn't say it because we didn't care about the final product. We said it because it's okay to let loose, it's okay to have fun, it's good to know that there's always a solution to a problem and in the meantime, focus on the now. Do your best and enjoy it. Don't worry too much, just trust the process.
Sometimes we allow ourselves to stand in the way of who we want to become. We worry too much about what might happen, what other people think, what if we mess up? - we really need to relax and know that it should be fine. Try your best, if it doesn't turn out the way you thought it would, try again. If it doesn't work again, try something else. This is ultimately the kind of person I want to be and these are the kind of traits I want to have.
This is the mindset I'm trying to gain, I know it will take time, but I guess I'll have to be patient!