Set Fire to the Old Self

“You don’t know anyone at the party, so you don’t want to go. You don’t like cottage cheese, so you haven’t eaten it in years. This is your choice, of course, but don’t kid yourself, its also THE FLINCH.

Your personality is not set in stone. You may think a morning coffee is the most enjoyable thing in the world, but it’s really just a habit. Thirty days without it, and you would be fine. You think you have a soul mate, but in fact, you could have had any number of spouses. You would have evolved differently, but been just as happy.

You can change what you want about yourself at any time. You see yourself as someone who can’t write or play an instrument, who gives in to temptation or makes bad decisions, but that’s really not you. It’s not ingrained. It’s not your personality. Your personality is something else, something deeper than just preferences, and these details on the surface, you can change anytime you like.
― Julien Smith, The Flinch

I don’t read many self-help books. Too often they do more harm than good, and they refrain people from getting the professional help they need. But on the other hand, there are some books that gently point us in the right direction, like “The Four Agreements.”

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to improve, often all that’s needed is a slight course correction and like a ship at sea, we continue to sail safely through stormy oceans.

“The most incredible architecture is the architecture of Self,
which is ever-changing, evolving, revolving, and has unlimited beauty and light inside
which radiates outwards for everyone to see and feel. Allen Rufus

How do I know that I still don’t like fennel, if I haven’t tried it in the last thirty years?

Has my taste not evolved?

I hated asparagus with passion as a little girl, just to fall in love with it years later.

I love the above example of cottage cheese because I lived it. I disliked everything about the American diet, mainly because it wasn’t the lifestyle I was used to. Biscuits and gravy? Nasty stuff! Hamburgers? What the heck! Why would you put a meat pattie on a piece of bread? Make a simple sandwich, like we did in Austria, or eat a pizza like the one we enjoyed from the street vendors in Italy.

Fast forward thirty-plus years, and one of the hardest things for me to give up is biscuits and sausage gravy. Over the years it had become my favorite comfort breakfast, which I served on weekends or holidays. Sadly, my health doesn’t allow it anymore.

So much of who we think we are is just an opinion and a judgment of ourselves and the things we remember or think we know. We make a determination and then we stick to it for decades, sometimes for a lifetime.

Once upon a time, I tried a dish with fennel and I didn’t like it. How about other recipes? How can I dismiss them all because of one small incident?

And how about my coffee addiction? Guess what? I gave up coffee and it didn’t kill me or anybody else around me. I admit, the first two weeks I wanted to smack people and did so in my mind, but then the cravings were gone and all that was left was a caffeine-free tired version of me.

Not going to a meeting because we don’t know anybody there? Sounds familiar, does it?

Why do we overthink everything and take the fun out of new experiences? So you don’t know anybody, guess what? That’s going to change if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone.

We can change at any time we want to!

Does that include fennel?

I finally gave in and decided to try a recipe with fennel.

Organic chicken breast with oranges, mushrooms, and fennel.

I was skeptical, and even crinkled my nose when I took the first bite. I was pleasantly surprised. I liked it and ate it all. The fennel was not overpowering, instead, it felt like it completed the meal and without it, the dish would have been rather bland.

Of course not eating fennel for the rest of my life would be alright, but what about all the other things I once dismissed.

There was a time when I thought a marriage between two gay people was downright silly and I didn’t take it seriously. That was fourth years ago, at a party when my best friend Jürgen, who happened to be homosexual, openly declared that one day he wanted to get married to a man.

We laughed at him in a loving way, as friends so often do. I wish he would be still around and could see that his dream became a reality in so many countries.

We are ever-changing, evolving, revolving, and improving, we should never forget that.

The architecture of Self! Will I ever be done?

I hope not!

10 thoughts on “Set Fire to the Old Self

    • I am not crazy about kidneys either but learned to like a good dish with liver, either the German way, “Berlin Liver” or the Italian “Venetian Liver.” All it took was someone to cook it right and I love Braunschweiger. 🙂

      You are right, life would be very boring and dull if we would not grow.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This post is a bit of a smack-in-the-face-post for many, including myself, I think. Essentially a working self-help book, but shorter. And it’s not that I don’t like fennel. I do. But this picture of self that’s etched into my brain, that is recognizable, and could most certainly be scratched out…


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