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Friday
Oct232009

Altruistic Shouldism VS Authentic Goal Setting

 

By Rahti Gorfien

So I was recently talking to another creative-eclectic-professional-mom; a client actually. When I asked what her ideal day would look like she said rather ruefully: ‘A day at the spa!’ To which she quickly added: “But I know I SHOULD…..” Well now. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that answer, and in truth, therein lays a tale, a little hint, as it were, as to what this lady (and many of us) truly need. Our Altruistic Shoulds as I’ve dubbed them, are often at odds with another hidden agenda. Ever try going in two directions at once? It’s a great way to stand still. So what’s the solution? Is her right-purpose to sauna herself to oblivion because that’s what feels good? No, but she should look at her desire, and not judge and dismiss it as selfish. There is great power in self-care. I’m not just talking pedicures: Paradoxically, boundaries help me get closer to people and taking the time to ‘pleasure myself’ in every sense of the word makes me more enthusiastic about being of service and support to friends, family and colleagues. What does she want from the spa? My guess is strength, health, serenity, energy. All the stuff that empowers us to be the happy, productive and fulfilled individuals we aspire to being.

 

In my playwrighting persona I wrote a one act a couple of years ago, in which I quoted the airline emergency speech line ‘put your oxygen mask on first’… The logic of that is obvious, right? You cannot create and manifest a life vision based purely on intellectual, altruistic shoulds. You’ve got to weigh in what your gut has to say, and make sure you’re tending to your needs appropriately. Selling a painting won’t make you feel good about yourself for very long. Do you still enjoy painting? Or are you setting yourself up by putting the pressure of financial solvency completely on your art? That’s joy-kill right there.

 

Do you have a happy home life and loyal friends, or are you relying on professional validation to feel appreciated? It isn’t always all or nothing like that, but we can all afford to examine the underlying motivation for our goals from time to time, to make sure our desires are integrated and needs are being appropriately met. Otherwise, ambivalence is bound to be a constant, and enthusiasm will easily wane. Our vocational work, and creative endeavors are a form of self-care, to be sure. But life is, after all, a balancing act. Hey, I don’t need to tell you that!

 

Rahti Gorfien, of Creative Calling Coaching, is a Life Coach and Park Slope mom, specializing in creative mothers with universal and yet unique challenges to succeed both personally as mothers and professionally as artists. She is also a regular contributor to Hip Slope Mama. Join her Yahoo Group for additional tips and essays.

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