Your Authentic Self

Recently, I have been reflecting on my present position in life. I am a believer that, as cliché as it may sound, “Everything happens for a reason.” I also feel that there is a lesson to learn in both the good and the rough times. In order to grow, we must be stretched beyond our comfort zone. While it is comforting for a short while to finally reach a place where you get “it,” you have learned how to navigate a new job, relationship, or other task, it is deadly to remain there. By doing so, you never expand your influence or understanding and your soul begins to shrivel.
I am a competitor, and have always been that way. To some extent, I always will be. However, as I have aged, I have realized that it is not as important to outdo others, or to be the best… what really matters is the impact you leave on the lives of others around you and ultimately, the impact you leave on this Earth. We are all here for a purpose, and before we can begin to understand what our purpose may be, we must get in touch with our authentic selves. As this is a work in progress for me as well, I will lay out a brief outline which helps to guide to a place of revelation concerning one’s true identity.

Before I lose you… yes, this probably seems “deep” and somewhat philosophical. But, if you are reading this blog, you probably have an interest in development and expression of self…and before you can begin improving YOU, you must be confident in knowing who YOU truly are.
If we break this question of “Who am I?” into smaller pieces, it doesn’t seem too overwhelming of an inquiry. First, without including those opinions, requests, nudges, pushes, or beliefs of others (to include your parents, friends, co-workers, children, and “they”-whoever that may be), what do YOU truly enjoy doing most in life? Your response should not reflect what you think the “right answer may be,” but honest replies only. We get nowhere by lying, especially if we are lying to ourselves.

If this still seems like too large of a question to conquer, you can break it down even further.
The following examples may be able to help guide you with this question:
“When I am ________________, I feel at peace.”
“When I ____________________, I feel happy.”

Seems simple, right? But many of us don’t take the time out of our busy lives to really think about what we enjoy doing. Instead, we get caught up in the merry-go-round of life, and get lost in doing the things we feel we HAVE to do, completing ignoring our soul’s cry to be fed with joy and self-love. As long as these things which make you happy and at peace are not harming anyone, they are likely healthy for you.

Now, the opposite is just as important. What are the things that you find yourself doing that cause stress or misery? This is not to say that we never have to do anything we don’t like.

The following examples may be able to help guide you with this question:
“When I am ________________, I feel stress and strain.”
“When I am ________________, I feel uneasy and/or anxious.”

Finally, take a look at the last week. How many of the things from your “makes me happy” list did you partake? Likewise, how many of the things from your “makes me uneasy/stressed” list did you engage in within the last week?
Taking note, which of these items from the unhappy list can be removed or decreased? For example, can you alter your schedule in order to allow for more time so that you are not stressed due to running late? Can you ask for help (yes, I know this is not my favorite thing in the world to do either) with doing a ride share so that you can decrease time spent taking your kids to and from practices throughout the week, sharing responsibility with other kids’ parents who also must drive their kids to the same practice? Further, does your chest get tight each morning when you think about having to go back to the 9-5 that you despise? If so, what steps can you take in order to change this stressful aspect of your life?

Of those happy list items, which can you make more time for? If drinking coffee out on your porch or deck in the morning helps put your mind at ease the rest of the day, can you wake up a few minutes earlier so that you are able to enjoy this relaxation time? If taking pictures energizes your soul, can you plan to bring your camera/phone with you to take pictures of nature and beauty you come across throughout the day? Taking a moment to admire the little things, really can make a huge difference in the tone of your day. On some very stressful days at work, when I lived in West Texas, I would go to a little park where I knew the prairie dogs gathered and watched them play. It honestly helped me get through the day on many days.

Finally, what are the things you are good at? What are your talents? Do you find that you are a great speaker, but work a job which requires you to sit behind a computer all day, interacting only via text? Are you the person your friends always come to for relationship advice, but your work duties involve changing linen or cleaning an office? Conversely, are you anxious at the thought of speaking to large groups of people, but your work regularly requires you to do so? Sometimes we are not even really aware of our own talents! A good way to begin your search if this is an area of confusion for you is to ask your friends and family what they believe you are good at. What are people always asking for your help with doing or situations that you are always asked to help resolve? People don’t typically call on others to help if they do not feel that person would be successful in doing so.

things I do well

Once you have your list of at least 5 things (please, add as many as you can think of!) that you are good at doing, gauge the amount of time spent doing these things in your daily life. If it is not often, ask yourself why this is so. Are you staying at a job which you hate because it pays well? Do you enjoy doing the things you are good at? If not, I encourage you to explore why this may be.

If you are like me,writing down your thoughts, goals, and even to-do lists, helps you to save it to memory and ultimately enhances the chances that you will remember what you intend to do. So, for those of you who could use it, I have attached a handout which will help you with this little exercise. 


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