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 speaking inaccurately when we use the word “I” because we are disowning (or avoiding) one-half (or more) 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 our “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 our Next) have ignored the other half of us (called our “Now”), which is interested in feeling good now, 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 our Now is likely to want to exercise tomorrow at the time that Next planned. We have not taken the happiness of that future Now into consideration. Our Now may not make himself or herself known at the time that Next is making exercise plans (and Next often ignores or is unaware of Now’s existence). Next is not considering and showing respect to how Now is likely to feel at the time Next is planning to exercise the next day. When tomorrow comes, however, then Now will make himself or herself known by saying, “I don’t feel like exercising now.” At this point Next has receded into the background. Or, if not, then our Next will try to reassert his or her control by blaming Now, often without effect except to make Now feel guilty.
The battles and skirmishes
Most of us, much of time, go through life with an ongoing struggle between our Next and our 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 and to just relax.
Next wants to eat for future good health.
Now wants to eat for pleasure.
And the list goes on and on. Click here for a bigger list.
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.