How Well Do You Know Yourself
Think about what it's like to finally meet someone you admire. It's just the two of you having a bit of one-on-one. They ask you to tell them about yourself and you want to, but for some reason you can't seem to put into words who you are or what you like.
What does it really mean to be authentic? The dictionary says simply, of undisputed origin. Think about that. There is only one of you. No matter how hard someone tries to be like you, they will never be as you as you can be.
The same goes for yourself. No matter how much you try to be like the people you admire, you are still going to be you.
The only person you can be is you.
The qualities others have that you admire are your own qualities that you need to start using.
These qualities make up who you are. I want you to devour them, to own them.
Instead of admiring them in others, tell yourself you possess those qualities, and show yourself. Be the person others admire. Know who you are, and share yourself with the world.
Stephen Covey has an eighth habit. He says to find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.
I think that's a great philosophy.
So, how well do you know yourself? What is your voice?
step one | know what you like
I was recently thinking about how well I know myself and how glad I am to know me. I didn't always know my likes and dislikes. I used to go through life responding to things that happened around me, wondering where my happiness was.
I wondered why things would always go right for others and why life was so hard for me. But then I started to really get to know myself, and my life began to change.
Some things I know I like are the following:
- luxurious high quality sheets
- Strong hot black coffee with cremé (a perfect americano)
- new notebooks and ultra-fine black ink
- loose tops and fitted bottoms
- black and white
- classic novels
- making someone happy without seeming to do so
- intellectual discussions
That list could, of course, go on and on. Make a list of the things you like. This will put you in a state of abundance. It's okay if they aren't actually a part of your daily life, but feel them as if they were.
Create your list of likes.
step two | know what you dislike
Sometimes it's easier to know what we like by knowing what we don't like. If you have a difficult time coming up with things you really like, add a column of dislikes to your page.
Here are a few of my dislikes:
- cheap coffee
- small talk
- dim light bulbs, cheap light bulbs, fried light bulbs
- dark rooms (see above) (unless I'm sleeping!)
- ill-fitting clothes
- a dirty car
- an open toilet seat
- a messy house
And of course, this list could go on and on and on... But if you cross reference my lists, you can see how you can take the opposite of what you don't like and turn it into something you do like.
Create your list of dislikes.
step three | be creative and curious
If you want to know more about yourself, you need to take the time to be curious and allow yourself to be creative. Occasionally I discover something I really like that I didn't know I like.
Like painting. Not walls, but pictures, like art. Though I hesitate to call anything I do art; I have no experience. I find painting so enjoyable and addicting. I love the transformation of white canvas coming alive with wet fluid strokes so changeable. It's organic. It's left me wondering what else I can discover about myself that I like.
Make a third list of skills you wish you had.
step four | know your story
So now you have these three lists: things you like, things you dislike, and things you would like to be able to do. How do they measure up to your current life? Do your wants feel out of reach? Let's try to close that gap.
Take a look into your past and see what story you've been living. Here's a bit about my story:
I haven't always known myself so well. Throughout my teens and my twenties, a common phrase I said was, "I don't know." or "I don't care." I felt so lost and out of my own skin. Like I was watching myself go through life and wondering why I had no direction, no desire.
I went to college because I knew it was the smart thing to do. Only I didn't want to be there. I wanted to get married and have kids. I was so unhappy and knew the only thing that would make me happy was to have my own family.
But that actually wasn't true. When I did finally marry and I had my own kids I felt even more depressed because I finally had everything I ever wanted and I was still depressed. Surely there was something wrong with me.
My story was one of self pity, of overwhelm, of anxiety, of depression. Everyone was out to get me. Nothing could go right.
It wasn't a good story, but it was my life. You have to understand your story before you can change it.
Have compassion for what has brought you to where you are today, and you can begin to close the gap to where you want to be.
decide to live on purpose
After you take a look at your past, at the story you have been living, you get to make a choice. Is that what you want to keep living? You can decide to live on purpose. You can have compassion for what has been and create a brighter future for yourself.
You can know who you are and what you like and what you want to create in this life. Give yourself time to figure it out. It takes time to change. Remember, nothing in nature is in bloom all year. Change is a natural part of life.
We all have our own natures and we can't change the way God made us, but we can learn about our natures and strive to live to the best of our abilities.
If you want to get to know yourself and have a purpose to keep you moving forward, stay tuned for the Personal Mission Challenge launching soon. It's never too late to understand who you are and what you're about. I can't wait for you to try the free mini course!