My newfound love of lifestyle/organization bloggers/vloggers is taking as much getting used to as my stint getting into make up did; exactly like looking in the mirror and not entirely recognizing the face looking back at you.
Regardless, Kalyn Nicholson said something in a recent video that struck me as possibly the most crucial application of a philosophical conclusion I have recently been examining.
We try and convince ourselves that the new year, or the new month, or the new apartment, whatever new “beginning” we can identify will be the one that changes everything. This time we will change our ways and we will do the things that will make us into the person we have always wanted to be.
But that’s end-goal thinking. That’s the kind of thinking that is motivated purely by ideological purity. It’s philosophical and emotional perfectionism. It’s exactly the kind of toxic thinking that has been ruining lives and countries and politics and relationships and futures.
Instead, process based thinking is a much more effective and healthy approach. We cannot control the circumstances that arise, or the events that transpire, or what other people do or choose, but we can choose how we’re going to react to those things, what habits we’re going to build, what kind of work we’re willing to do, what hardships we’re willing to endure to try and build towards that “end goal” – ideological purity is important for determining the overall course of action and what things require attention, but the work needs to be procedural, constant, and evolutionary.
We cannot build a perfect world and hold it in stasis forever. That is impossible. Equally, we cannot build a perfect self and live that way forever. We do not live forever, and change is inevitable. But we can direct that change and build systems and processes and reactions that are more whole, more kind, more progressive, more inspired, more strong, more open, more accepting.
The personal is political, and not simply because politics ends at the door to the home. But also because the kind of people we make ourselves into and the choices and actions we take, and the philosophies we choose to enact in our personal lives are part of what builds the societies we live in and the politics we live under.
So we should extend to ourselves the kindnesses and the constant improvement we expect from others and for others.