The delicate balance of aspiration and acceptance.

I’ve been witnessing an interesting trend in my personal life that I would like to share with you today.

One of the most recurring reminders to me has been that life is all about the delicate balance between the opposites. And that our mind is terribly under-prepared for this reality.

If you take a look at these two seemingly contrasting mindsets, it becomes clear that you can’t choose only one. The answer is plural.

1) The mindset of aspiration:

To possess an aspirational mindset means your beliefs may need to sound like: “I love myself enough to strive for better things and hence I need to aspire to be a better person. “

2) The mindset of acceptance:

To possess an accepting mindset means your beliefs may need to sound like: “I love myself enough to accept me just the way I am.”

The great challenge I’ve been facing is balancing these two minds without taking an extreme stance on any single type. Real progress occurred only after I had learned to hold these two contrasting beliefs simultaneously without judging myself too much.

But holding off judgement is so hard. Why? Because our mind seeks consistency and certainty so it can free up its resources inside the frontal lobe for other activities. So we like quick judgements. This is probably an evolutionary trait. You wouldn’t expect our “cave man” ancestors to sit with the uncertainly of an impending attack near a dark cave. They either had to go into that cave and find out whether there was a saber-toothed tiger or NOT. The “openness” to plural possibilities is not a pleasant perspective and our brains continue to hate “plurality” even now. We want a binary outcome.

But here’s the thing: Some things in life may NOT have singular answers. They are plural and it’s wiser to leave them that way.

True acceptance comes without judgement but from practicing patience with just the way you are.

True aspiration comes without expectations but from practicing patience with the journey of who you are becoming.

Bonus: If you want to truly get to be the master of this “plurality” and win friends/family over, practice this with them as well. Love people enough to encourage them to meet their full potential; But also love them enough to accept them the way they are as well. It’s not binary, it’s both.

What are your thoughts? Have you gotten schooled by life on this topic as well? What are your take-aways and lessons? I’d love to hear - so drop in your comments/opinions.