Who am I?
After the words “the,” “be,” “to,” “of,” “and,” “a,” “in,” “that,” and “have,” the next most commonly spoken word is “I” (at least in English). For a word that we use so often, you would think that we would know who we were referring to. Quite often, however, we are thinking and we speaking inaccurately when we use the word “I” because we are disowning (or avoiding) one-half of ourselves.
Our split personality (the two of us)
Let me illustrate.
“I want to exercise tomorrow.” For many of us, most of the time, when we express this desire, we are only talking for (or aware of) one-half of ourselves: the half of us (called “Next”), which is interested in our future being good. We believe that, if we exercise, we will have a better future, our future will be happier. Having a happy future is the first concern of Next. But we (and especially Next) have ignored the other half of us (called “Now”), which is interested in our now feeling good, which is interested in feeling good and being happy now. When we say, “I want to exercise tomorrow,” we are not present to whether or not Now is likely to enjoy the process of exercising tomorrow, at the time that we intend to exercise. We have not taken the happiness of that future Now into consideration. Now may not make themselves known (and Next will ignore or be unaware of Now’s existence). Next is not considering how Now is likely to feel at time Next is planning to exercise the next day. When tomorrow comes, however, then Now will make themselves known by saying, “I don’t feel like exercising now.” At this point Next has receded into the background. Or will try to reassert his or her control by blaming Now, usually without effect except to make us feel guilty.
The battles and skirmishes
Most of us, much of time, go through life with a dichotomy, a battle, a struggle between Next and Now:
Next wants to exercise.
Now wants to relax.
Next wants to get up early in the morning.
Now wants to sleep in.
Next needs to go to work every day.
Now feels that work is often boring or stressful.
Next wants to be patient with the children.
Now gets frustrated with the children.
Next thinks it would be better not to have that drink.
Now wants a buzz.
Next wants to eat for future good health.
Now wants to eat for pleasure.
And the list goes on and on.
Our crumbling foundation of integrity
Most fundamentally, this ongoing struggle between Next and Now is a lack of integrity. When Next and Now are not in agreement and alignment, we are out of integrity and we suffer dearly for it.
Keeping our integrity through cooperation
When Next and Now are on the same page, when they are “working together,” then we are in integrity, we are loving our life and ourselves, we have become our own best friend, and it even seems that life couldn’t get any better.