Most of us have a lifetime of responding to the signals of others without regard for who we are or what we need or want. The "art of being" is the order of the day; the art of knowing and accepting yourself, living in passion and joy; embracing and valuing fun and leisure.
Every day we are bombarded by erroneous and damaging messages in the culture that tell us that personal happiness, having fun, and self interest are bad and wrong, evil in some way, and not worthy or valuable pursuits.
There must be a balance of work and play, seriousness and fun, activity and rest. Being in harmony with your true nature and living the life you were meant to live, means you must reconnect with that natural self and honor and affirm that self on an on-going basis. It means cherish your own desires, formulate your own values, and remain true to them.
Begin to take time for yourself without deciding that each moment has to be spent productively. In the beginning you may have to schedule this time to ensure that you take it. Many adults never become completely comfortable playing or even with the idea of having fun or spending leisure time.
Here is an exercise you can use to help you uncover and discover underlying beliefs about fun, deserving to have fun, spending money to create the opportunity to have fun, and wanting to be with others or by yourself when you have fun.
Write each of the following partial sentences at the top of a blank page, then write at least ten different endings as quickly as you can.
- When l used to have fun, my motherâ€¦
- When I used to have fun, my fatherâ€¦
- When I was a kid I always wanted toâ€¦
- As an adult I feel silly or foolishâ€¦
- When I see other people having fun I feelâ€¦
- I can remember playingâ€¦
- If I ever did decide to play or create the opportunity to have fun I think I wouldâ€¦
- Valuing the time and being willing to spend the money for fun would meanâ€¦
Breaking free of other people’s limiting beliefs and values, exploring family dynamics, and challenging cultural models that may keep you stuck is life-long work. Ironically, part of the work is learning how to create and enjoy leisure time; recognizing and acknowledging the value of fun (play) and bringing balance into your life.
Learning to have fun, and enjoy yourself and others, affirms a vital part of all of us and is necessary to build and maintain good self-esteem.
Remember, only YOU can make it happen!