If we spent time in environments where only what we did was valued, acknowledged or appreciated often there comes a time when our being or “who we are” comes out of the wood work and says, what about me? In other words, a part of us feels unseen, unacknowledged, unappreciated and excluded. If this sentiment is strong enough in someone a flip can occur, something along the lines of a claim that “It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s who you are that counts.” There’s this sense that doing or action doesn’t matter and the focus, attention, appreciation and acknowledgment goes to being, or to recognizing qualities of the self. In the short term this may feel good, like relief. Qualities in the person, the presence of the person or what is radiated from someone is finally seen and acknowledged. Eventually though, if doing has been excluded, devalued, depreciated, and made to not matter, there will be an uprising. It may show up as the thought, “I want to do something, participate, offer skills, make a difference, move something forward and contribute.” However, if doing has been diminished, even though the want is there, few opportunities or invitations will present themselves. Or the ones that present may be what you don’t want to do, or things that have little value, meaning or importance to you. Do you see how this works?
What often happens is that being and doing are positioned as though they are in a competition for attention and appreciation. Either what you do matters (winner) and who you are or your inner world doesn’t matter (loser), or who you are matters (winner) and what you do doesn’t matter (loser). Eventually, once we see this dynamic we can introduce the possibility that being AND doing can be included, valued, acknowledged, appreciated and given attention. Being can support action or what we do, and what we do can display who we are, or facilitate who we are being shared with others. Often after sessions with clients I write up some notes to review what we explored together. Here is an excerpt from the notes that speaks to a few other things regarding being and doing that I find relevant to include here:
“Inviting the progression towards acknowledging the value of being and doing: We've come from a society where doing, action, contributing to society and being a good person is valued and valuable, whereas from that perspective "not doing anything" or "just being" seems without value or purpose or meaning. As we question that societal perspective and have direct experiences of "Being"...the qualities of presence, breath, relaxation, having an expanded field of attention etc. we come to know how valuable it truly is, both to our own health and well-being and also to the quality of our relationships, and our outlook on life. It also helps us to see possibilities for what we can do, that we may otherwise not see. You can continue to contemplate the question of: How can being and doing come together? And see what insights arise.
As children we often don't get the mirroring of our states of being, where we're at, how we're doing, or what's going on for us in real time. Not having any attention on that gives us the impression that it doesn't matter, or isn't overly relevant. Once we see the assumptions we made based on that experience we can have a new choice, to include those things as relevant and important. We can thus make the choice to include giving attention to our states of being, where we're at, how we're doing and what's going on for us as well as what we're doing, the actions we're taking, the accomplishments of the day etc.”
So, where are you at regarding being and doing? Are they both valued, seen, acknowledged and appreciated? If not, you can note where you’re at, which is your starting point, and move in the direction of offering attention to both and seeing how they can come together.