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Aspiring Not Striving

Updated: Mar 25, 2023

I've mentioned before that I have been a striver for most of my life. Settling into a feeling of allowing I worried about becoming complacent, that I wouldn't care to grow or learn. I struggled to understand the balance. Start Where You Are" by Pema Chodron has helped me realize there is balance, that being willing to grow and change does not mean one has to strive to make it happen. And in fact, striving can hinder the growth that impacts your soul.

Chodron writes: "A heartfelt sense of aspiring cuts through negativity about yourself: it cuts through the heavy trips you lay on yourself. The notion of aspiration is simply that you voice your wishes for enlightenment." Further down she adds this definition of Buddhism, which applies directly to aspiring as well they are "about empowering yourself, not about getting what you want." After reading this I wrote the following definitions of striving versus aspiring.

Striving is a desire for accumulation born out of a feeling of not being enough. It's about "having". Having a nice house, having a better job title, having a happy family. Aspiring is opening up to your true worth, born out of a feeling of love. It is about "being". Being respectful of the home you have, being the best employee you can be, being the best mother/father/son/daughter you can be.

This aspiration creates alignment and you start behaving from a place of appreciation for yourself, just as you are now. It is a paradox, that by loving and being grateful for the person you are right now, you aspire to be more yourself in the future. More in tune with your own beauty, grace, love, and confidence that you were inherently born with.

You aren't taking action to prove to yourself and others you are worthy, you are taking action because you already know you are worthy.

The beauty of this clarity is ricocheting off the walls of my life. Every moment it rips through it tells me "I am beautiful as I am. I am worthy as I am." It does not wound me, it plants a seed of life that keeps growing. And soon I will be a green garden of love, gratitude, and respect.


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