I am continuing here from the previous post about self-empowerment and the self-perpetuating disempowerment of myself due to specific cultural self-definitions as for example within how I’ve defined myself as a female being ‘less worth’ or ‘less valuable’ than a man. A specific word that came up in this context as I’ve also been looking into the point of ‘thinking like a man’ is the word: AMBITION.
In my life I have never been very ambitious. The ambition that I have had has mostly been within and towards illusionary ideals and fantasies about ‘changing the world’ but never as a real expression of myself and certainly not as a word I lived in full measure and scope. Interesting to note here that the word ambition in essence means to ’go around’ – you could say: ‘to make whole’, to drive a point to ‘come full circle’. And this is what I have missed. I’ve been adherent to a principle of doing the bare minimum to get by. This is the exact opposite of ambition. It is in essence about taking life and time and myself for granted. I see how the principle of ‘doing the bare minimum’ is indicative of a particular type of social class; the workers who silently accept their position and understand that jobs are something we do to survive. As ambition is currently defined within the world system, it is something often prescribed to males in how it is a desire to drive oneself to the top, either in business or sports or education, usually involving a drive towards money and power. Being ambitious in this sense also refers to having your ‘eyes on the prize’ or to ‘keep your eyes on the ball’ which in essence means that as you are pursuing your ambition in life, you do not allow yourself to be distracted or diverted from whatever you have sat your eyes on achieving. There is also within ambition in this sense an expectation towards self encouraged by parents and other adults that one then come to integrate into the driving force of one’s life. Ambition thus also is a part of a specific cultural programming that is instilled into some whereas others such as myself are not programmed to be ambitious. Ambition is not a word I have heard even once growing up and I was most certainly not encouraged to be ambitious with school or work or sports or anything of the like. I do see that there in my family has been a desire to rise in the ranks of society, but it was never something explicit or a definitive goal. Instead the emphasis has been on becoming ‘happy’ and on simply getting by as best as possible. As I grew up I even started to glorify anti-ambition, as I was part of an antagonistic sub-culture that saw mainstream society as repressive and suffocating towards real artistic expression. But interestingly enough, I also never fully embraced that life-path. I had a lot of self-aggrandizing ideas about myself for sure, but in reality I’ve always sought to do the bare minimum with whatever I was doing. In many ways it has been a curse because certain things came easy to me and so I didn’t have to push myself very hard to get by. It became an art form to always make it through with the least amount of effort. But now I have placed myself in a position where I have actually started expanding myself and I see how ambition as a virtue alongside other virtues such as discipline would assist me to embrace my full potential and how extensively I’ve limited myself and my opportunities in life by adhering to this principle of only always doing the bare minimum. I have, throughout the past 5 years started to push myself and even in pushing just a little bit I have seen that I am capable of so much more than what I ever thought was possible. It makes me wonder what I am capable of where I to give something my all. With teaching and with my work with Desteni I have certainly done it to a large extent, but I know in self-honesty that it is possible for me to push more, to expand more, that I have most certainly not pushed myself to the utmost of my potential. I have circled around this point for quite some time, looking at what exactly the problem is. Is it laziness? Is it simply that I haven’t been trained in self-discipline and perseverance? Or is it that I don’t value myself and therefore do not have ambition? Because I see how within the world system definition of Ambition there is a sense of pride, self-respect and a confidence involved in the word Ambition. You cannot be ambitious if you don’t believe in yourself. You cannot pursue that which you are ambitious towards without self-respect and perseverance. If you don’t trust yourself or value yourself, you won’t even consider something like ambition, because ambition implies that you know that you are able to make more of yourself than what you currently exist as. I realize that ambition when the fear and desire is stripped away and it no longer is charged with positive and negative feelings and emotions is that decision to push oneself to live and become one’s utmost potential. Ambition is the ability to see what is potentially possible and to have the courage, the self-will and the drive to go for it no matter what. I see a lot of what is possible but interestingly enough, it is a lot easier for me to see for the world system or for other people than it is to see for myself. It could have to do with the fact that I’ve always only existed in a negative self-definition and in positive but illusory ideas of myself. I’m not accustomed to identifying, standing by and embracing my own real strengths and there is definitely something daunting towards doing that, as a line that, once crossed can never be restored. There is an obscure idea of ‘freedom within the cage’ involved in being deliberately unambitious, because once the limits are no longer accepted as permanent boundaries for one’s movement and ability to expand, one automatically assumes a responsibility to break those limits and I see how this is something I have avoided. I’ve reveled in a freedom of seeing myself as flawed, of liking myself as ‘the little man’. The little man is sympathetic, harmless and most importantly, he is innocent and the unwilling victim of a goliath-like big brother system that can always be blamed and never held accountable. It is in a perverse way, a perfect symbiosis, just like our relationship to the mind.
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to accept myself as inherently unambitious and thus as not having any drive, will or motivation to push myself beyond my current accepted limitations
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to define and see it as perfectly acceptable and normal and even positive that I don’t have any ambition to strive to push myself to live and become my utmost potential
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to polarize the word ambition within myself where I’ve on one hand judged it as something that is engrossed in ego, superficiality, power play and greed and on the other have seen and experienced myself as being inferior to and less than ambition and so people who exude ambition and as such separate myself from the word ambition in experiencing myself as being exclude from and excluding myself from living the word ambition
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to be satisfied and content with not being ambitious and so not pushing myself or willing myself to excel or live or become my utmost potential within and as having accepted and allowed myself to instead live according to the principle of only doing the bare minimum, on surviving on getting by and through seeing that as freedom from responsibility and so freedom period
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to not realize how extensively I’ve equated the word ‘freedom’ with the idea or experience of not having responsibility as that is what I understood, defined and experienced freedom to be as a child – when in fact I start realizing now that real freedom can actually only come from and through absolute self-responsibility
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to hold onto a positive energetic definition of the word freedom equated as not having responsibility and within that also hold onto a negative definition of the word responsibility as bondage, enslavement and subjugation
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to not realize that real self-responsibility is the only path to sovereignty and thus freedom, as only when I am the force that drives and moves myself can I make decisions and move myself freely
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to fear the word ‘ambition’ not only because of the negative connotations that I’ve attached to the word but also because I feared that by becoming ambitious I could no longer hide within a stance of not taking responsibility for myself through deliberately only doing the bare minimum and through keeping my expectations to myself down
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to not realize that I can redefine the word ambition to seeing the potential of myself and making the decision to become and live that potential through developing discipline, self-trust, self-will and confidence
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to value my self-imposed delusional idea about freedom as being more valuable and more real than the potential of actual freedom, which I realize now can only exist through me taking absolute responsibility for myself and so for the world I exist in
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to not realize how extensively I’ve driven myself according to my idea of freedom through abdication of responsibility and how saturated this idea has become in my life to the point where it literally controls and defines my every move
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to fear the word ambition because I fear actually making the decision that I have the potential to expand myself beyond my limitations because I’ve gotten so ‘comfortable’ in my limited existence and I’ve created a paranoid sense of ownership towards it that I honor and cherish my own limitation
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to fear embracing the word ambition and thus standing within and living the expression of being ambitious with myself and the goals that I set for myself and my life because within doing so I know that I am making the statement that I am capable and I’ve gotten so ‘comfortable’ in deliberately undermining and dismissing myself believing that if I deliberately stay under the radar then I also can’t make mistakes or disappoint anyone or be held accountable – when in fact that is not so as I stand accountable in every moment to all of existence
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to not admit to myself that I fear expanding beyond my current limitations simply because they are ‘the devil I know’ and I know that once I step beyond them and allow myself to accept the fact that I have potential beyond my limitations, I will step into the unknown, the uncreated and I will have to stand alone and create myself and trust myself and most importantly, stand accountable for myself
Self-Commitment and Correction Statement
When and as I see that I am accepting and allowing myself to participate in thoughts of not being good enough, of accepting myself as flawed and incapable, I stop myself and I take a breath. I realize that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to use such thoughts of accepting my self-imposed limitation as a justification and backdoor to remain limited and so in that which has become my comfort zone, to always only do the bare minimum and to never push myself beyond my limits and stick my neck out. I realize that this has been utterly redundant as I am accountable for me even when I am in a state of misery and when I’m flawed and make mistakes. I realize that I cannot continue to make excuses on behalf of myself just so that I can stay in the comfort zone of my self-imposed limitations because I can and I will not accept myself as a guardian of the status quo of abuse in this world which is exactly what I do when I justify limitations and within that create a positive energetic experience of ‘escape’ and ‘freedom’ and ‘safety’. I realize that any and all real moment of creation and authenticity, in however capacity I’ve been able to express it in my life thus far, has come from me daring to step into the unknown. I realize that I’ve held a backdoor open which has manifested itself through me accepting my apparent flaws and limitations through justifying them as ‘who I am’. I realize how it is similar to someone having had their legs broken and who has been sitting in a wheel chair, who’s legs now have healed but who refuses to stand up and walk because one has become comfortable there in the chair, being dependent, being pushed around, not having to make an effort or risk falling. I realize that I have seen what I am capable of when I push myself just a little bit and so that it is absolutely spiteful and egotistical of me to claim a right to myself, to have a comfortable life where I just have to do the bare minimum when I know that I am capable of so much more, that I can be a real force in this existence if I dare to trust myself to do so. Within this I am not even talking about me personally as a ‘special’ individual. We all have this potential. But it has to start with someone. And if I don’t do it, if you don’t do it, if we all just sit here and wait around for someone else to take the lead, the madness and mayhem is just going to continue to escalated unabated and if one thing stands absolutely crystal clear it is that that is absolutely unacceptable. It is unacceptable that children have to suffer when they could thrive and develop their full potential. It is unacceptable that animals have to suffer at the hands of humans, that nature has to suffer, that the elderly has to suffer, that our physical bodies has to suffer – because it is not necessary. That’s why it is unacceptable. If there were nothing we could do it about it, it would be different. But I have seen humans change themselves. I have done it myself. So I know that it is possible. Ambition is to see the potential of what is possible and relentlessly go after it, no matter how many times or in how many ways I fail until I stand. I see that it is possible to stop the abuse. And I see that it is unnecessary to let it continue. And I see how I within every moment, implicitly as well as explicitly, either make the decision to let abuse continue or to stop it. Those are the only two choices we have. And only once we start stopping the abuse can we also begin the healing, the development and creation of a new life, a new way of existing on this planet. This is my commitment to myself. And I will keep making it as long as it is necessary.
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Artwork by Alexandra Valenti