Who are you? I must have asked myself that question a thousand times and there were many times that it wasn’t the easiest to answer. As a society we are constantly inundated with images and realities that are seemingly projected on us by the media, advertising, family history, friends, co- workers, etc. … I find it extremely interesting how we naturally process this information and adapt bits and pieces to the framework of our beings. If this is true then how fair is it to say that we are ever being our true selves? Therefore, that is what I would like to explore today and this week.
The idea of being your true self and not a carbon copy of something or someone else.
It’s no secret in my immediate family and with my close friends that I have a bit of a mouth on me. Not in a negative or harmful way but more so in a curious and exploratory way. As a child I challenged everything. You name it, I had an opinion about it and I wasn’t afraid to speak up. For that reason I often stayed in trouble, sometimes overstepping my boundaries as a child in the way I delivered my words, but at the core of it all was simply the passion for each and every thought and idea I had. Along with telling me I had the potential to be a great lawyer when I grew up, my mother also instilled the importance to never let go of the magic that made me me. I must admit this has been the fundamental backbone for who I've been my entire life. I bring this to light because I believe there are inherent qualities that we naturally possess and those that we pick up along the way. My passion to challenge concepts and ideas is something that has always been. Surely cultivated and refined over the years based on life experience but the foundation has always been there. So how do you know what has always been there versus what is picked up and/or adapted throughout life and who you think you should be based on your environment?
Herein lies the challenge.
I firmly believe that most of who we are lies within our core value system. You know those characteristics and attributes that drive you to do things or act in certain ways with little to no effort. That gut feeling you get when you know something is about to go horribly wrong and you want no part in it or when meeting someone new and you get that instant attraction that tells you whether you like them or not. The instincts that draw you toward certain people, things, activities. The thing that draws me speak up and out every chance I get. Whether we are aware or not they exist in us all. The key then becomes recognizing just what that value system is. Because when you are able to recognize what your beliefs are it is harder to allow outside forces to then compromise them pushing you away from your true self.
As I got older and started becoming conscious of my value systems I soon learned that the reason I was so passionate about always challenging things is because, among many others, I have a strong underlying belief in directness, listening, influence and change.
Directness- Speaking with candor. I always say what I mean and mean what I say. There is no beating around the bush for me and I have a great respect for others who operate in this way.
Listening- Authentic interest in understanding others. Although I might have a lot to say it is equally as important for me to hear and understand others points of view as I truly believe there is knowledge to gain in every moment.
Influence- the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself. Affecting change is what drives me and keeps me motivated. Knowing that by way of speaking up and out I have the opportunity to create a positive impact within the world.
Change- To become or make something different. Without change there is no growth and without growth there is no life. George Bernard Shaw once said, "Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
These are just a few examples of what certain values mean for me and the weight they hold. They give meaning to my actions and guide me in the way of living in truth.
So now perhaps instead of asking who are you the question might be better answered if asked what do you believe in?
This week I challenge you to start to uncover your authenticity by getting in touch with your core values. Asking yourself questions around why you do certain things and what is truly important to you. To bring this to life create a list in your journal or somewhere that allows you to easily reflect on the words and their meanings. You might find it helpful to recite your list in the mirror every morning or to yourself as you lay quietly just before you go to sleep. Whatever it is I want you to get in the habit of reclaiming your values and creating a new relationship with them. Strip away the outside influences and what you see others doing when making new decisions and take note of what it does for your life. What recognizable change is created? Tap into your core without judgement or fear and revel in the beauty that lies deep within you.
Start honoring your belief system and get to the root of your true self.