Our personal evaluations of events are based largely on cultural and family conditioning. Often, conditioning is something that we are unaware of. Sometimes we are conscious of it and uphold it as an identity.
My “Macaroni and Cheese Lover” Identity
My comfort food is cheese and macaroni, which I can trace back to its being my favorite lunch when I was in grade school. I tend to accept it as a fact and own it as “who I am” instead of being curious about it and holding it in my mind lightly.
We could choose to see these kinds of preferences as a phenomena that was constructed and therefore can be deconstructed, changed or transcended.
I might always think that I like macaroni and cheese because that is part of how I identify myself – “macaroni-and-cheese-lover”. And as I develop more awareness of present moment reality I may discover that I don’t really enjoy how I feel after I eat it. And perhaps I actually prefer a crunchier food with a wider variety of flavours.
Believing “my story” that macaroni is my comfort food feeds a belief about myself that holds my sense of self in place. This may have helped me to feel safe and loved as a child but it doesn’t support a healthy current life paradigm. And it doesn’t support my growth or exploration of a bigger life view than the one I grew up with.
Growing as an adult, letting go of childhood needs and beliefs
Becoming aware of what is happening in present life may counter what did support us as children. To live fully as an adult requires some letting go of the needs of the child.
Becoming aware of what is happening in the current moment as it is happening is being mindful, aware, awake and conscious. Whether we choose to look or not look is a choice we make all the time, moment by moment. Being conscious more often in our lives is how we find peace, happiness, good relationships, better life-work balance and health. And yes, even improved financial sustainability.
Everything is better with more awareness. Being conscious is the great healing activity.
Maureen Smith (MSW, RCSW) is a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) facilitator and a Registered Clinical Social Worker practicing in Eastern BC. She is the Founder of Alive Mindfully, teaching meditation and mindfulness to people from all walks of life.