Knowing yourself well is a keystone to life’s journey. All kinds of experiences and circumstances stay with us and vie for attention to inform the way we see the world and react to it. Eventually, these perceptions, behaviours and feelings stay in place and begin to define who we are.
The good thing is that when you become aware of what it is that is informing your thoughts and actions, the better chance you have of choosing to keep or not keep the things that are aligned with who you truly are.
Before you go any further, I suggest you ask yourself this question…. If there was nothing standing in the way, ideally,
‘Who do I want to be? and How do I want to be living in this world?’
How we live and present ourselves in the world is a choice we are born with. When we are not aware, there are many influences and circumstances that are happy to make our choices for us. By having a clear vision of what you want; what you know to be your authentic self, you stand a chance in achieving your ideal.
Role Models don’t have to be ‘successful’ or famous
My previous blog, Tips to Living and Being Your Authentic Self. Know Yourself Well. will help you begin the journey of knowing yourself well. Now, when I think of how I want to be in the world, I think of the role models I aspire to. These would be people (some famous, some acquaintances, friends and family) whom I feel good around, value their opinion and how they respond to different situations. No-one is perfect, so acceptance of a quality is not a judgement of the person, but a way of feeling and seeing what that quality feels like inside me. Does it resonate and make me feel good?
What influences may define us?
Moving forward with this vision of who and how you want to be, you will notice that at times you may react to situations in a way that isn’t aligned with your vision. For example, when I was straight out of high school and teachers’ college, there was a great deal of pressure to be authoritarian, IN CONTROL! and to teach in a chalk and talk way. If you didn’t comply you were considered weak and ineffective. Having been a child who was squashed by this culture, I found myself being guided to become a perpetrator. I became aware that I really didn’t like myself. I was really unhappy and there were no role models that matched how I wanted to be with my students and create a love of learning instead of the fear of being in trouble. I realise now that I had a vision of what I wanted, but I didn’t understand that then and it took me some time, life experience and lots of courage with help from role models I admired, to find my feet in more comfortable shoes.
Culture is a powerful way that society has to get people to conform to its rules. Often the culture of an organisation, a family, a religion can be toxic and harmful. At the same time, a culture can be mindfully created and implemented to support those connected by it in positive and nurturing ways. The point here is that to be true to ourselves; authentic, we first have to be aware of the factors that define how we live so that we can see the effect they have on our thoughts, actions and behaviours.
After a little self-brainstorm, I came up with the following possibilities to help you understand what kind of things want to define us; to give you some ideas.
- cultural expectations
- spiritual beliefs
- life circumstances
- trauma experiences
- Interpersonal experiences – how do you respond to friends, acquaintances, work mates, strangers, authority.
- rules and regulations
- rhythm of life/business
- family demands
- things that make your heart sing
- things that make you cringe
- things that fire your anger
I suggest that you write your personal list which may be quite different from this! You may like to explore by asking yourself the question, ‘What gets in the way of doing and being the way I want to be?’
Food for thought
I wonder what you will find out about what it is that is defining you and the way you live and interact in the world? What will you do with what you find out? Will you keep, improve and do mote of the things that bring a light heart and joy to you and others?
I hope you have enjoyed this food for thought and that it helps you on your journey.
Love and Blessings,