My discovery & 3 tools to create an authentic 'you' ...
Writers block hit this week. I have always believed that when writer’s say this they are being a little cheeky!!! However, it is real. In this world full of information and stories and theories, I could not find one single topic that I felt passionate about.
At this present moment in time I am not sure what this means. I am not sure what I am here to do right now, okay yes ;) … I know that I am here to write, yet alas dear reader as I tap away at my keyboard I wonder if I could go out and do something else instead?
Then it hits me, i don’t always have the answer, know who I am, know what I want, or even have a pathway to follow and maybe that is a good thing. What do all these plans do? Do they broaden my life? Do they create momentum and direction? Yes, well maybe, however they also have the capacity to limit me and to box me in.
I write this on the back of reading a book about ‘Time’* that I have been addicted to this week. I have always believed that I love plans and being organised. In fact I had lists, plans, drive and outcomes a plenty way back when. It was the way I worked, I believed that a plan whether followed or not would create the path for me, that would make my life effortless.
Cue the book on Time, so there’s a test in the book which ascertains whether a person is a planner or a spontaneous person. All the planning and test taking joy in me jumped up and went hooray something that will confirm that planning is the way to go. Well, you should have seen my face when I came out as a highly spontaneous person. Yep, I took the test two more times to be sure, but there is no denying it, I am actually a spontaneous person. I fall into the category of a creative.
I now realise that the plans made my life an effort!!!
Now the reason I bring this up, is because I wonder how many of us are labouring under an illusion of who we are. I use the word labouring as I now recognise that I was trying to get my round peg to fit in the square hole perfectly. On close inspection I have deduced that the life that I have lived, is the major contributor, to my thinking on this. I know I said not knowing who we are might be a good thing, but seriously not knowing who we are makes life tricky doesn’t it?
Education played a huge part in my life and we all know that when studying and learning, planning is important. In fact, if you have an exam coming up and you haven't made a plan on how you are going to target the topics you need to revise, you will not do too well, right?
So from this point forward I am going to use the spontaneous and planner as examples to highlight that it is indeed possible not to know who you are. As, this was the case for me, how many other areas of my life do I have upside down?
Now if you don’t know who you are, maybe it'll influence whether you do well. For example as a spontaneous person, you can make plans and fit in with a timetable, however these methods limit the brilliance that you offer by caging your creativity. My other half was a fantastic artist (I am sure he’s still great, he just doesn’t do art anymore), he could draw things from memory, and create beautiful collages that had everyone going oooooh and aaaaah, but then he gave up. When I ask him about this, he said 'art that fits into a type or is measured is not art, or even right.' Now I understand, he feels that societies need to measure, specify, dictate and direct limited him. Those of us who are spontaneous creatives find the world harsh sometimes.
This works both ways too, if your a planner and you have to fit yourself into a spontaneous box, well you're going to be out of sorts too, aren’t you? You really need to see it written down, but then find your working using the fly by the seat of your pants mentality? Which is going to stop you from exploring your brilliance.
For me this article, has proven that yes I am a spontaneous person; it has also shown that we are all probably to some degree playing roles that do not fit who we are and this could be in any area of life. It Is the dis-comfort that is felt, ‘as in my labouring to be a planner’, that creates living out of alignment with self.
I think I posed the question this week on my facebook page, do you really know who you are? I think we all get labelled when we are younger by teachers and parents and other adults and as we get older we either do our utmost to disprove them or we do our best to be just as they say.
Where in your life have you been told that you are something or someone that you are not? Or do you create a persona to protect yourself when you are with different people? Are you functioning in ways that do not really suit you?
It is easily done because to some degree we all embody various roles. Of course if the roles that you are in, are exactly right for who you are, that’s great. The trouble is that often times we aren’t being our authentic selves.
This is a strange one because there needs to be a catalyst to bring this to attention – so for me it was the test in the book. I know that you could say that maybe, the test is wrong; however I recognise that it is right. I love spontaneity more than I love a plan.
There is great merit in life when we tap into to who we really are. I suspect that the journey doesn’t ever end and maybe it can’t because we will evolve, change and me at twenty, is definitely not me now. That being said there is always room to check in with who we are and whether we still like what we are doing.
So many of us do jobs, or raise kids, or get married and then realise that the life that we have placed ourself in is unsuitable. I would think that it is easier to end up in this position than not. As a whole we tend to go with the flow that society has created. You know, take the tried and tested route, not necessarily the right route for us personally, but the route most people take. Some of us were even unfairly directed by a parental figure to follow pathways that were not for our benefit. No wonder we are often left holding a vision of ourselves, which does not seem authentic.
So whether you're a spontaneous person or a planner, a dancer a singer or a candle maker, there’s room for you too. We are all diverse and whatever we do, so long as we are contributing and making an impact in the world does it really matter?
I feel not, for me I would l say yes planning does box me in a little, but not planning at all does that too. I would also say that the moral of the story for me today is to realise, that if I do not know who I am, I may find that I am endlessly performing tasks and activities that place me where I don’t want to be, with people who I may or may not like!! lol
The upshot here, the message in this, is that it is really worth getting to know you. It is also never too late to get to know yourself. In fact if you are still here kicking around this planet with the rest of us, it really is something that will support you in all that you do.
Oh and as for being a planner or a spontaneous person, the world needs us all doesn't it... Just make sure you know which one of these you are. I guess, there are also the creative planners ??
When we are out of alignment with ourselves we draw experiences towards us that create a lack of harmony in our lives. Functioning in this way, we are trapped in a world which does not suit us.
Just as I have realised that I am spontaneous, by some careful enquiry you may find out new and brilliant things about yourself too. This takes a tiny bit of thought, but once you do it you will be able to repeat this without too much effort.
Self enquiry is a great way to ease tension, stress and anxiety because it taps into the wisdom that you already hold within yourself. The Buddha ascertained that the greatest training ground is within the self. If you are willing to play, you will reap phenomenal results. That headache you always get when you go to pick up the children from school may become a thing of the past!
I know this sounds simplistic and to some degree it is. As the Buddha said it is not to be complicated, it’s just the human mind full of its thinking and doing that complicates things.
I can’t recommend it enough, finding out that I am a spontaneous person has made me at ease with the way that I do things. It has also brought into perspective other areas of my life that were out of alignment.
You can take the path that appears to be easy, using a mind, thoughts and beliefs that do not belong to you, while following a path you would rather not take. Or you can really tune into who you are and be honest with where you are and get to know whether the beliefs, ideas, thoughts, and vision that you are holding for yourself reflect who you are.
Quick Tip: Who are you, check in.
Self Enquiry takes time, yet there are some small time effective things that you can do to help you to start the ball rolling, if you want to get to know yourself:
The true self knows who it is …
Listen to the things you say, are they your truth or someone else’s?
Where do you behave differently and with whom, are you happy doing this, does it suit you? Feel free to be authentic.
What is difficult for you that you habitually do, internal dialogue why this is hard for you? Now create a new way of doing this activity that feels comfortable for you, and is in line with who you are.
Remember: We will experience negative emotion in life too, yet once we get to know ourselves fully we are more able to deal with these situations because they will no longer affect us in the same way.
Go on tap into getting to know yourself, you may learn a little something about you that you didn’t know. There is nothing greater than realising that you can drop a thought about yourself that really, really does not fit you, or the life that you are living. Or that it’s okay for you to behave in way that you have held back for so long because you labelled yourself as someone that does not do that!! ;)
This is just a little start. Being your authentic self means knowing your authentic self. It means admitting that you don’t like some of the things that you have previously said you like, or it might mean accepting that you are never going to be the next Mo Farah.
But who cares, because you get to be You …
*the mind gym - give me time