Can defining yourself one way stop you from changing, growing and succeeding at times?
We always define ourselves one way or another; with our likes and dislikes; with things we are good at, and things we can’t do; and so on and so forth. At first it seems like all these definitions help us to have a stand, have a place on earth, and in society. However, if you look closely you may see that sometimes all these definitions just limit us.
What if you have defined yourself as someone who doesn’t like theater, and one day you go to see one and you like it. Then what happens? Or you define yourself as someone who doesn’t like a certain kind of food, and one day you accidentally eat and like it. Then what? Do you embrace that change or do you call that experience as an exception to the rule and keep holding on to your predetermined definitions? Do you even deny that you like the theater you say and not even go to see another one in order to prevent yourself from experiencing anything that might contradict your self-definition?
For a while I have been working on doing a tripod headstand (Mukta Hasta Sirsasana), where you put the top of your head and your two palms on the floor, forming a triangle shape, and lifting your legs all the way up from there. I have been doing Sirsasana (headstand) for while now, but for some reason tripod headstand hasn’t come so easy to me. I have been working on coming up from Bakasana (crow pose), and Prasarita Padottanasana D. Even though I have been trying it for a while, I was only able to get my legs up only a few inches off of the floor. There was something missing; maybe core, maybe the connection between pressing my hands down and activating my core. I am not sure. I kept up with my daily practice, and just tried to come up to tripod headstand a few times a week. Last week, again I was trying to come up to tripod headstand and my legs felt light, and they just easily started coming up. I was surprised. My legs just kept going up. But all of a sudden I came down. I brought my legs down. What happened? Haven’t I been working for this for a while now? Why did I bring myself down?
Apparently physically my body was ready. Whatever was missing before was present. However, when I was working on getting my body ready, I neglected one thing: I wasn’t ready mentally. I had conditioned myself to the fact that I cannot do this pose. So, even though I was trying and attempting to do the pose regularly, I was just accepting the fact that I won’t be able to come up all the way. When the day came, and my body was ready, due to all the practice, I wasn’t mentally ready yet, and had to bring myself out of the pose. I didn’t try to get in to tripod headstand again that day, or the day after. Only a few days later, I gave it another try, and I came up all the way. I was in the pose, and I was enjoying it. I came down, and I went back up again a few more times. I was ready to accept the fact that I could do the pose. I was ready, mentally and physically.
Sometimes the way we define ourselves block us and prevent us from growing, and from experiencing different things. Even if you are working on something, you may just keep yourself away from actually reaching it, because you are so used to thinking that you will never get there, and you will only keep trying. Then, what’s stopping you from reaching and getting what you are working for is not the circumstances or external facts, but your own mind, and your own fear of actually getting it.
You may not be able to do a headstand today, but you are not a person who can’t do a headstand ever. You just can’t do it today. Everyday is a new day. Sometimes it is better not to define yourself in one way or another. Accept yourself the way you are today, but don’t let any kind of definition of yourself or definition of anyone else to get engraved in your mind. Allow the room for yourself and others to grow, and change. Don’t be the one to prevent yourself from growing by defining yourself one way or another. Sky is the limit, and even that is not.