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The Ugly Duckling

Your Mind - high res

When we’re on automatic pilot, we may complain about the experiences that we want and don’t currently have instead of mind­fully reflecting on the possibility that our disappointment is an out­come of our current wiring. The reality is that our current wiring enables us to do certain things very well and other things not as well, and that our attitude about how we see this results in our expe­rience of the situation. We can choose to see it as “good” or “bad” when, in reality, it isn’t good or bad, it’s just “what is” at that second. We always have the opportunity to remind ourselves that:

I’m having the experience I’m having right now because I’m on automatic pilot, which is cueing my old programmed behavior.

I will commit to being mindful so that, in this moment, I can change my action to a mindful one. Over time, I will transform my wiring to create better and better experiences for myself, to stop judging myself, and, instead, to lovingly accept myself.

I think of this as analogous to the story of “the ugly duckling” that never felt it belonged until it chanced upon a group of beings that looked just like it did. Then it recognized it wasn’t an ugly duckling; it was something different—a beautiful swan. In order to develop empathy for ourselves, we have to stop comparing ourselves to our picture of how we “should be” and instead cherish our uniqueness. To develop empathy for others, we have to stop comparing them to our picture of how they “should be,” and we will then start to cherish their uniqueness. We are all as we should be at this very moment, and at this very moment, we all have the potential to continue growing.



An excerpt from my recent book, Your Mind Is What Your Brain Does for a Living, now available at Amazon.

  • 13 Jul, 2015
  • Posted by Steve Fogel
  • 19 Tags

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