This statement is attributed to Socrates. How it resonates with us at my manifesto! It is a powerful statement and as with many such statements, it has many implications. Who would ever say that their life is not worth living? Is it not life a gift by any reckoning? Yet, as Socrates dictates – and indeed the wisdom comes from a life richly lived – an unexamined life is not.
We believe that an unexamined life could just as easily be anybody’s life. What makes it your life? Could it be that you have taken on the values and beliefs of your family, your culture, and your society, without question, growing physically but never growing into your own adult version of them? If you never examine your life – ponder and weigh up your lived experience, readings and the words of the diverse people that you meet – how will you grow in ways other than physically?
Florida Scott-Maxwell wrote in The Measure of My Days, “Perhaps the creation of identity is man’s most essential task…it is our life’s work to create it.” We believe that the beginning of this work, is firstly to know yourself. Once you have tapped into your inner self, found out what matters to you most, you begin your life journey intentionally. With your personal manifesto guiding your decision-making everyday at each decision-making point, you build a self and a life that reflects you, that shouts to the world, “Here I am! This is the life I have chosen to lead.”
Stand up for that life too. It is not necessary to justify it to anyone. You have crafted it from within your values and therefore while it might not suit everyone, that is not the point! It suits you.
Watch yourself carefully as you live. Notice how at peace you are and also how inspired you are and filled with hope. Don’t expect this won’t be noticed by others too. What used to cause conflict within you, doesn’t disturb you so much now. You know that life offers resistance, that many situations arise beyond your control, but because you are controlling you within that chaos, although tugged out of centre, you will return to you.
This is my manifesto’s take up of Socrates’ dictum. How empowering!