As much as I’d like to break into a rendition of “These are of few of my favorite things…” from The Sound of Music, that’s not what’s on my mind today – although – maybe it is now because that tune has now firmly taken up residence via my inner voice (insert face palm here). Instead, the idea of favorite things has been rolling around in my head since I went to a friend’s birthday party the other night.
The party centered around all her favorite things – from food, to music, a raffle around her favorites – and she must have listed about 100 – and people, those she wanted to spend time with. I discovered that some of her favorite things are mine as well. But I couldn’t help wondering if I could name my favorites, and that’s stuck with me since.
I come from a family steeped in tradition and one of the phrases I hear nearly every time we’re planning a dinner is, “We’ll have [insert food item here], everyone loves it.” Sometimes I think to myself, “I don’t love it,” but at the same time, I don’t dislike it either. I go with the flow. If asked, I probably couldn’t name what I’d want instead anyways.
And there’s the rub. The fact that I know I have a tough time naming what I truly like is unsettling to me. At the same time, having an understanding of how I’m wired gives me a leg up on the ‘why’ behind it. I’m an Enneagram 9, which is likely not news to you if you’ve read my blog for any length of time. And as a 9, go with the flow is my middle name. I want peace, no conflict, to have harmony. Declaring what I actually want is honestly a bit terrifying. What if others don’t like it, or agree? What if I rock the
boat? I’m far more inclined to tell you what I don’t like than what I do.
But when you go along to get along, it doesn’t always work out that well. You could find yourself being resentful without being sure why. Resentment coming from not expressing your own desires, wants needs. I’ve come to the conclusion that knowing what you want and expressing it is not selfish, as some might suggest. Instead, it’s part of being an individual. Knowing what you want, what makes you come alive, brings you delight, makes your heart swell with joy. It’s not the same as someone else’s joy, or passion, and that’s ok.
And simply knowing and expressing what you’re passionate about, your favorite things, doesn’t necessarily mean you are surrounded by those things at the exclusion of what others desire. Instead, you can weave together…find a blending and harmony in sharing your favorite things with others.
You may already know your favorite things, but if you’re like me, let’s work on figuring it out. As you go through your week, notice what sparks joy in you. What activities, objects, people, experiences, feelings make you happy? Where do you find delight? Is it shopping at Whole Foods market because you like the environment – for me, yes it is. Being in nature, the sunrise or sunset? Bodies of water? Helping other people? Shoes? Painted toenails? Painting in general? While these would start a list, it would not fill up the board my friend had at her party. The challenge for me, and anyone else looking to get in touch with themselves, is to notice, name it, and write it down. Expressing what you love might feel awkward, or foreign to you, but practice it. In time, we’ll get there and have a greater ability to express our bold selves. I’m with you on the journey.