So last time we got a basic over view of who you are and took a peek into how we view ourselves. Now we are going to dive into how we view ourselves.
Growing up I was often told you are mature for your age and for a 13/14 year old I did not know how to respond or even what to think about it, but as the years past I came to understand what was being said. When I was 17 I told a history teacher I was close with that people often told me I was mature for my age and he said I do not think so. I did not know how to respond to him, I was not even sure whether to be angry or happy, but there was a sense of freedom that came from hearing those words. It was like somebody finally saw me for who I was. Instead of hearing his words I do not think you are, it was like I heard you are free to be who you are.
There is a myth that we have to go through a difficult life altering circumstance for us to ask the question who am I, that you find who you are when you in the low places or was it in the ditch. Not sure how that country song went.
It is not necessary to wait for life to make us know who we are. It is vital to know who we are and do it now. If we center ourselves in who we are then the storm that comes when life tries to kick us in the ass will not be a level 5 hurricane. Yes, I had some difficult life circumstances that pushed me to understand who I am at an early age. I ran from the question for a long time though only wanting to address when I had the tid bit of inspiration and strength to confront reality, but this was not helpful.
We often answer the who are you question with a sense of holiness, not out right, but internally. Do you ever say I am who I am? Oh yeah those words, we say those words when people try to challenge us or come off as judgmental. Those words were recorded by Moses in the explanation of who Yahweh is. We are only allowed to say I am who I am when you have made it to the other side of the pearly gates. We are ever changing and ever being shaped by our social surroundings, which is where we get our social identity. This can range from bully’s making fun of you in high school or the area you go for a walk every night to the job you work. Who we are is shaped by all of our surroundings. This puts most of the emphasis on the aspects of life that nurture you into who you are, but what about the ones that you are born with. This is your ethnicity, spirituality, sexuality, gender. These are things that define and shape who you are, but are still main defined how you encounter them in your social settings.
The important aspect to remember when understanding who you are is that you are unique and there are very particular traits you have that nobody else can express the same way you do, but all things that define who you are come from the intersection of our reality and our beliefs. This is what we know as values or ways of life. From this comes interest and desires. The sad part is that we often do not take time to figure this out until the phenomenon of midlife crisis hits or something like divorce hits you. I am here to say you do not have to wait for the difficult circumstances.
Through my time of self-discovery and entertaining the question of who am I; there were some key questions that stuck out to me as important. I figured these out through many hours in counseling, meditation, praying, reading, friendships, courses and conferences. If find it interesting that the combination of all the previous work can be summed up by a few questions, But I have come to know and believe in the importance of these questions
1 what are you passionate about?
Passionate means to suffer with, to go through the grueling days of learning about perseverance; it is the heavyweight version of dedication. This question is asking what would you do if you knew you could not fail. Passionate is not a leisurely day to day patient pursuit for something to happen. It is a complete restructuring of life to pursue what the passion is. Time resources, work, relationships, finances, health; Being passionate takes all of who you are to the point of suffering to learn what it will take to get to the next level. If there is no suffering then it is dedication and if there is no push to get to the next level then it is just a hobby and if there is no waking desire each morning to do the work then it is just an interest. So what is it that you will wake up each day excited to pursue without failure
2 what do you do
This is the time for your elevator speech, you have 15 seconds if the attention span is short and 90 seconds if the elevator ride is a long one, but this is the time to shine. What summarizes who you are and why you do what you do? Do not tell me what you do is marketing. What people look for in this question is they want to know why you do what you do. saying I am a sales manager, does not cut it because that profile in that persons head of a sales manager is not really who you are. It does not even answer the question. The question was what do you do and to know the we need to know the why, so understand why it is you do the things you do and what it is that you enjoy about them. If you are a mom explain why you do it and what you enjoy, if you are in marketing explain the purpose behind your decision to take the job where you did. If you are retired then explain what that means to you and why you got to where you are.
3 what do you value?
This may take some thought, but we put value on particular traits and characteristics in our life often because we were raised to value those things. Remember when we ask what we have to ask why, which leads us down a long road of wondering why do I value what I value. This can range from friends, to career, to politics, to cars, to personal traits. These things shape how you live and the priorities you have. The greatest imbalance is when we do not live align with our values and our passion because then we do not find purpose. (There is a link at the bottom for you to take a free values assessment)
4 what makes you come alive?
This ties into passion and values because if we are pursuing those in an authentic way then an abundancy of life should start to flourish in our life. On the other end of this question is what is taking life from you. We need to know what makes us come alive, what keeps us afloat, and what we need to keep our energy and our mind set in a focused place. This will look different for extroverts and introverts, men and women, those with fewer years and those with more years. The importance is on knowing what it is that keeps life flowing through you and out of you and also knowing what brings you down and diminishing the role those have in your life. There is always room to step outside your comfort zone, but we need to know where and what our source of life is so that we can return to it for strength and rejuvenation.
5 what are your limiting beliefs?
What hold ups do you have in life? We all have frustrating things that happen in life, things that push us back and give us resistance, but they are not a wall of fire that marks a dead end. A hold up is a time to do just that; hold up, pause, take a second, and take a look where you are. There is a reason for the hold up, so what is it and what does it tell you about who you are? We have a choice when we come to points in our journey where there is resistance; we can either get bitter or we can get better. There are many other choices that we have to make when we encounter a hold up, but this is one of the most essential questions that will determine whether you move forward or not. This is the beginning part of creating a plan to move forward.
6 what is your foundation?
Ok, so I save the best for last. What is your rock, that thing you return to when your world feels like it is falling apart? We can build our life on sand or we can build it on a rock and it is important to know what we are standing on. It is ok if you learn that you are on sand because beneath the sand is a rock somewhere and you are on the journey of finding it. There are quicker paths to the rock though. Peace comes when we know what we can expect in the future. Wisdom and revelation of who we are and where we are going is available to us but we can only hear it when we are not being blown around like a hurricane. What is the place you can be still to hear wisdom and revelation; this is probably the place where your rock is. We may not have a rock or a foundation, so where is your security found in life, that will be your current foundation.
These are big questions and there should not be an expectation to know the answer to these right away. These are questions to frequently return too and the answers will not come easily. It will take patience and the time to rethink an answer when you think you have it.
This work is hard but necessary to really understand who you are. It is not the end though. This is only part 2 of 3. I know this work sounds thick and heavy enough. I believe you can handle more. I believe this because we were not created to just be we were created to become. We have something to transform into. Who we are is not yet who we are to become.
The third part is going to look at my question I like to ask people, who do you want to become.
Until then, bookmark this article, write down the questions, screen shot it, do whatever you have to do to continue to return to these questions.
Peace to you in your discovery
In the comments let me know the most helpful question you have come across in discovering more about yourself
Here is a link I found helpful in understanding more
Here is the link for the free values assessment