An unexamined life is …


An unexamined life is not worth living.
But if all you’re doing is examining, are you really living?

As a very introspective person, I will admit I walk this fine line a lot. The one between useful self-awareness and self-reflection … and flat out navel gazing. Which is why I found a couple of pieces in this last week quite interesting.

The first was from James Lonergan who shared ‘Why I am breaking up with the Wellness industry’. It took me a while to process his words and understand why I found them so thought provoking but the passage that initially caught my eye was this one:

“You don’t need me, my business, my products, my advice, none of it. Our intuition which is all too often silenced by our “knowledge”, is your blueprint to living well, so start listening to it.

One of the most powerful techniques I have discovered over the past 5 or so years is the power of self-enquiry. A questioning of oneself and our beliefs …

Excuse my basic language here, but you cannot just do the outside stuff and think the inside will happen! Become someone new on the inside, and not only your own lifestyle will shift, but the whole world will shift because of it.”

I think this resonated because it powerfully reflects where I’ve got to with my health. These days, instead of trying to exercise away bad nutrition, and poor mental health (and being quite obsessive about food) I take a far more holistic approach to everything. I’ve realised that ‘health’ really needs to come from within first: being kind to myself, cutting myself some slack (something I do find hard to do) while still subjecting all the things I ‘know’ to a bit of healthy scrutiny.

That latter brings me to this from Sarah Wilson this week: ‘The importance of a moral struggle against yourself’ – something I engage in a lot! And when I do – it can tend to feel like navel gazing and walking the line of ‘being unkind to myself’ because it triggers off my perfectionist leanings. But … it’s a line worth walking I believe because, as Sarah says:

Moral struggle exposes truth. Moral struggle radiates and spreads and provides a stable pivot point from which so much of life can launch from. Which is ironic, because anyone who struggles with themselves will so often feel uncertain.

I’m coming to realise, however, that the truth and vulnerability that emerges from this moral struggle is the most certain thing we can offer the planet right now.

But wait!

How do we ensure it is truth and vulnerability that emerge when a moral struggle can just as easily send self-loathing our way?

I believe so long as it comes from a place of self-compassion first … that’s the key.

Is this all a bit heavy for a Friday evening? Perhaps! But still worth pondering I reckon. Happy weekend folks!