We shift, grow, change, and evolve at our own pace whether prompted by external forces, internal sensations, or a combination of both. There are some of us who have older souls, a deeper level of maturity, and a life already lived. This can be felt even at a younger age and others may actually note this as well while in the presence of such a person. On the other hand, there are others who have younger souls with so much to discover and experience whether there is a great sense of eagerness and curiosity to do so or it just happens naturally within their lives. Then there are many who are somewhere in between. There is a sense of knowing and recognition inside, yet inquiry and experiential living is still a great driving force. Certain “lessons/tests” may be repeated in various forms such as relationships and circumstances, while other times there is no need to “re-learn” what has already been passed and understood. Hence one moves on to the next step within his/her life’s journey. Whatever the case may be, there are certain things that we know about ourselves at any age, maturity, and level of understanding that remains true to the soul’s core.
1. The degree of the heart’s kindness to one’s self and others.
There are some people who are more expansive, loving, generous, sensitive, and giving than others. There are some who outright know that they are not any of the above yet frankly don’t really care to be or have yet to find the opportunities and the motivation to do so. As always, it’s a combination of choice and how experiences shape us—in the past and what we bring with us into the present. Innately this is something known deep down inside; either the heart radiates warmth or beats at a cooler temperature. This is not to cast a value judgment, but to accept that there are many different ways of being and existing. Once we understand this, there is no need to take anything personally and cause intentional harm to ourselves and others.
2. The will to find solutions and be a creative problem solver.
With ease there are those who can navigate their way out of a paper bag—eyes closed and hands bound. Perhaps even at times they exit unscathed and if battle wounds occur during the way, healing follows thereafter. There are others who rather have someone else navigate for them because they can’t read the map. They never learned how or simply there is no desire to read it, so they rely on others to lead the way without contest. Then there are many who easily crack under pressure as if they are out to sea hanging on to a raft—awaiting a lifeguard to rescue them or at times they end up drowning in the reality. The aftermath may leave post-traumatic stress or conflicts with those who actually tried to step in and help. Either way, there is an internal sense of being one of the three: the fearless leader, continuous follower, or the panic merchant. Each has it’s strengthens and it’s weaknesses and at times, roles reverse. But if self-aware, one realizes his/her approach to facing adversity and in turn can evaluate it accordingly.
3. The personality trait that is the most dominant and operative in daily living.
Our dispositions are as unique as we are. They are made up based upon our nature and shaped by nurture and life experiences from a young age—and carried with us through our life. We can always choose to change and re-invent ourselves by deciding how/when it’s going happen. This is truly one of the greatest gifts that life presents—multiple changes and endless opportunities for growth and improvement. But the truth is, just like a tiger, we can’t change the inherent “stripes” of character. We can only learn to accept it if we haven’t done so already and take responsibility for how we interact with ourselves, others, and within each situation.