Last week I asked you on my Facebook and Twitter: “This time next year, what would you regret not accomplishing or experiencing?” and you had some great answers, one of which was “Find out who I REALLY am“.
Most of us come to a point in our lives where defining ourselves can be a bit hazy, or even down right anxiety riddled. Only a couple months ago I was caught in a whirlwind vortex of anxiety about what I’m all about and I had to hit rock bottom emotionally to gain some clarity. That’s why sometimes I’m ok with suffering from bouts of depression, there is aways a lesson to be learned from them.
Discovering who I am was a trial and error process and it really is a project that never ends. Being in my 30’s makes it easier to know who I am, but I had to go through a lot of experiences to gain that knowledge. I had to try a lot of things, kiss a lot of frogs, cry many, many lakes of tears and read a mountain of books to discover what was true for me.
I think the best way to go about it is to strip everything away, strip away man made things that define you, like societal “shoulds” and definitely religious beliefs. Go back to being a human. Before you are anything, you are human, what does that mean for you?
Who are you when you aren’t being defined by religion? Who are you when you aren’t being defined by how the people close to you want you to be? Who are you when you don’t need anyone else to show you who you are? If you didn’t have to work, who would you be? If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money? If you could do, be and have anything at all, right this minute, what would you choose? Who would you need to be to fall in love with your magnificent self? Who would you need to be to really be able to look in the mirror? Who are you when you stop using magazines, newspapers and whatever is on the TV to tell you who you are? When you’re on your deathbed and thinking back on your life, who do you want to remember yourself as being?
It’s important to enter into a relationship with yourself. To have conversations with yourself so that you an be openly honest about the things you’ve done, your failures and your accomplishments. I find knowing what I do and don’t like helps me define myself and that takes honesty, both with yourself, and with those around you so you can set the standards of how you want to be treated.
If you were to write a short story about yourself, 3-500 words, how would you describe yourself right now? Do it. Write that story, as you are, right now. Then read it, sleep on it, and read it again. How does it make you feel? Do you feel good? Can you accept what you’ve written? Do you need to make changes or do you feel let down and disappointed? Your emotions are your guide. Feel what you need to change or accept. Make sure you really accept and feel good about the positives.
What needs to happen for you to feel like you have a good idea about who you are?
For me, it has taken all my life to come to a place where I feel like I could describe myself. I had to have a lot of life experience to figure myself out, which isn’t to say I have myself figured out. I still constantly surprise myself. I put myself in new situations, go on adventures to have new experiences and along the way, I learn about myself.
While volunteering on that guest farm in South Africa last year, I learned a whole heap about myself. I learned that I like things done just so, that I naturally fall into a managerial role if need be, that I am short tempered, that I need to be obeyed and that I’d probably make a good mother. I reacted to things in ways that really surprised, and kind of scared me, I had to ask myself where that came from. I saw myself through the eyes of a 13 year old girl who idolized me and a 48 year old woman who loved me and regarded my bull-in-a-china-shop stubbornness with quiet amusement.
The animals I worked with showed me who I really am, they are not skewed by societal political correctness, they see you and treat you exactly as you are, the animalistic human that gets confused and irate when we hold on too tight.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you how you define yourself. How other people define you is only a perception and you can choose to accept it or not. Just do yourself the kindness of accepting the positive comments more than the negative. Remember, you define who you are.
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