What’s your mission statement?
I was asked that a few months ago and was like, “ummmm…can I get back to you on that?”
What sucks about having a mission statement is the accountability that comes with it. So you have a mission statement that boldly states what you’re all about. Your purpose, your passion, your whole reason for existing… and then the big question that inevitably follows it: So what are you doing to achieve that?
I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but it took me a few years to respond to that question. And here it is:
To live my message.
If ever a mission statement, this for me, felt like a truly powerful and empowering one. I didn’t need to be perfect, I was allowed to make mistakes. Having a mission statement with a specific “goal” in mind (like world peace, or eliminating poverty, or curing cancer…whatever) is extremely intimidating, and honestly, probably unrealistic. But this- living my message, sounded pretty practical and like something I could definitely do.
It was basically daily accountability to do the things I say I’m going to do,
avoid doing the things I say I’m not going to do,
and find flexibility and forgiveness somewhere in the middle.
So the real question isn’t about having a mission to change others or to make some dramatic dent in the world, but to be as truthful, honest, and real as I can possibly be at all times, and hopefully, that helps others feel free to be as truthful, honest, and real as they can be as well. In that, I find freedom, hope, and love. No rules, no super out-of-reach impossible goals to achieve within x-amount of time. No one-size-fits-all rules and expectations.
To do this only required one thing: to be brutally, rigorously honest about who I was and what I was about. No more people-pleasing. No more looking outside me to fill what was lacking inside.
As I began my path of discovery, healing, and self-love, I began to have a lot of “aha moments” and “epiphanies” that I was desperate to share with others (hence this blog). It was tempting to insist that my friends and family do what I was doing, think what I was thinking, and heal the way I was healing. I secretly judged… Sorry…
Little did I realize, though, was that by focusing on the progress and struggles of others, it would not only take away from my own recovery but pull me back. Significantly…
What I found was that in order to help others, or carry a message of healing to those who still suffer, was that I can’t “pull them along” in my own struggles. I had to live my message.
We learn only through our commitment to our own healing and growth. We carry that message of hope and strength by living it; by serving as an example. I believe it is not us who share the message, but the message that shares itself as it comes out in our daily actions and attitude.
If so, what was I sharing?
Self-improvement, personal development, healing, recovery- whatever you want to call it, is all a very intimate process that somehow unfolds itself uniquely in each individual, which is why it requires rigorous honesty, intention, and personal effort and commitment. We recover not through the advice of others, and not by doing things the way others do them, but by committing to healing ourselves, every day, in whatever way works.
No matter how far we have come, we do not have the ability to “teach” people how to live. We do not have the divine knowledge of what is the best path for others to take, and we do not have the right to insist that one way is better than another. We rely on a “program” that works for us and our personal relationship with some form of Higher Power, even if that Higher Power is your dog. Seriously. Whatever works. We never attempt to be another person’s “Higher Power”. All we know, by walking our talk is what worked for us, and this is evident not though an intense advising session but through our actions, thoughts, and behaviors.
It would be truly arrogant of me to try and teach something in which I had no experience or knowledge in, and that lack of experience or knowledge isn’t the things I’ve learned.
The thing I know absolutely nothing about and have no experience with is,
“what’s best for someone else.”
What I learned through my unfortunate failed marriage with a sex addict, alcoholic, problem gambler is that the more I tried “teaching” him how to “overcome his issues” (as opposed to just living a better life for myself), the more I enabled his addictions, and the more distance I put between us.
All I know is that I have found my “program” transformative, healing, and a vital part of my recovery. Through doing my own personal work, I have met others who have experienced the same recovery and healing. While our stories are all very different (and in some ways very similar), our core commonality was in our commitment to our personal healing and co-witnessing how it transforms and heals us.
No matter where we come from and what our background, we had been supported and encouraged to continue working through our issues in a positive, loving, and supportive way, and this was all we could do. This was ultimately the most effective and influential for everyone involved.
Naturally, when we find something that works to make our lives better, we want to share it with the world. We want others to know and feel the freedom and joy that we once only dreamed of having. But our message, our product, that “thing” we hold dear to us, we only carry it because it carried us. Through a lot of inner-work, and commitment to bettering ourselves, it has now become a part of us, and through this, we are able to carry it in return. And that is how we live our message.