Who do you think you are?
Do you know? Do you suspect? Are you sure you have it nailed?
After all, you've known yourself your entire life. So, if anyone knows you it should be you who knows you best. Of course, that's true if you compare how well you know yourself versus how well you know others. Guess what? You don't know. I'm sorry if that comes as a shock to you, but the reality is that you don't know who you are.
Your brain automatically sets about defining and comparing things to related items. Our habit of definition and comparison are so intertwined that one simply could not exist without the other. You can take an apple and compare it to other objects like dogs, watermelon, or even cars. You can recognize the differences between apples and the other items. When you compare apples to other apples, however, you immediately seek similarities. We do that same thing with each other. We attempt to define and compare others to ourselves. So, you automatically attempt to define who you are as compared to other people. That isn't a great handle of who you are, is it? It's simply a comparison.
Let's take a look at your next-door neighbor. Millicent has a great job and she cares about the car she drives, which is why she drives a top of the line Range Rover. She's deeply passionate about her SUV. You, on the other hand, have a decent job and while you value being able to get from point A to point B, you have never bothered about the status related to car ownership. You, instead, drive a decades-old Toyota.
So, if you were to directly compare those two points, Millicent is a well-off Range Rover driver and you aren't doing as well since you drive a Toyota. That's not accurate, though, is it? There are additional factors you didn't consider when you drew the conclusion.
That's the reality of life. When you compare yourself to someone else, you do so without the full picture. You know your side of things, but you don't know their side. So, you judge yourself based on an incomplete story. How can you say that you know who you are as a person when you a) set out to define yourself based on others, and b) you can't stop with the comparisons! Who are you for you?
This goes beyond the obvious I'm a mom, I'm a homemaker, I'm a lawyer, I'm a shopkeeper. It's deeper than that. What do you value? What do you desire? What do you want from this life? What issues and dysfunction keep you stuck and cause you pain?
· Old Definitions
I want you to think of how you define yourself as of right now. You can write out your name, sex, job description, loves, hates, likes, dislikes, hobbies, fears, bad habits, addictions, and anything and everything that you believe makes you who are you.
For each, write out I am… and complete the sentence with a new thought.
· Question Labels
For each of the responses you created from the point above, I want you to ask whether it's an accurate description of you or simply a definition/label you have accepted as truth. Be creative with your doubt as you examine old definitions and labels.
· Is It Beneficial?
Now, are any of these labels valuable to you? Do they improve your life? Do they help you learn more about yourself? Will they aid your personal growth? You'll know the answer in your gut. Learn to listen to your intuition.
· A New Definition
If you have decided any of the definitions/labels you listed are not beneficial, then it's time to come up with a new definition that will help you move forward. This is your opportunity for rebirth, to get to truly know yourself, and use that information to move forward with confidence.
Living your best life is a wonderful goal to shoot for, but many of us confuse that with living the perfect life. We get hung up on all the details, trying to make sure everything is just right. We tell ourselves it has to be the right time or the best circumstances before we’re ready to try something new or make a change. We let perfectionism hold us back. If you feel you fall into this trap, keep reading and learn how you can live your best life without waiting for it to be perfect.
Consider What’s at Stake
First, when you get caught up in feeling like things have to be just right, take a minute to consider the stakes. What will you miss out on if you wait until things are perfect? What opportunity are you giving up? Often, this simple reflection will be enough to push you toward going after your goal, rather than waiting for a better time.
Know That It’s Not All or Nothing
The all or nothing trap is one that is common. This is the belief that you have to have all the resources in place or know everything there is to know before taking on a task. This line of thinking is false. It’s simply a way of getting caught up in the cycle of perfectionism and remaining in place. Take baby steps and give it a try even if you don’t have everything in place. Sometimes things come together on their own.
Change Your Self-Talk
If perfectionism is holding you back from living your best life, chances are good that you’re probably sending yourself some negative messages. Listen to what your inner critic is saying to you the next time you decide that you shouldn’t do something and then see if you can’t turn that message around. If you hear yourself saying that you’ll never get the job promotion because you’re not qualified, try giving yourself some realistic reasons why you might just have what it takes and what you have to offer. Refuting negative self-talk can go a long way to stopping perfectionism in its tracks.
Learn to Accept Good Enough
Finally, try just accepting good enough and see what happens. The next time you want to do something different or step out of your comfort zone, but you don’t think you’re ready, just go for it. Pay attention to how you feel and what it’s like to push past those feelings. Note the end result. Maybe things won’t turn out perfectly, but you may discover they end up being worthwhile anyway.
Keep these steps in mind the next time your inner perfectionist tries to sabotage you and keep you from living your best life. You may be surprised at the results.
You’ve probably heard of both meditations and affirmations, though you may be uncertain of just what they are and how they work. They may even seem a bit too new age for you, but don’t underestimate their power just yet. These two practices are actually quite simple to add to your routine or even to use in a particularly stressful moment to gain perspective. Take a look below to learn about how to use gratitude meditations and affirmations to boost your spirit anytime.
What Are Meditations?
A meditation is really just a practice of taking some quiet time to be mindful and focus your attention on a particular thought or issue. It’s a moment of silent reflection that focuses you on the here and now. Gratitude meditations involve focusing your thoughts on being grateful for the particulars of your life or situation, even the ones that may not seem so positive. Your gratitude journaling can be considered a meditation, even. Any contemplative, purposeful time spent focused on being grateful can fall into this category.
What Are Affirmations?
Affirmations are short, concise and positive sentences that are meant to purposefully affect the ways in which we think and feel. These can be in both conscious and unconscious ways. What we think greatly influences how we feel and behave. Introducing these positive messages into your life on a regular basis can help you to internalize them and begin living accordingly. Gratitude affirmations focus specifically on being grateful and appreciative.
How to Use Them
Both meditation and affirmation are easy to put into practice. They can be used almost any time and anywhere. When you think of meditation, a long, intensive ritual may come to mind. In actuality, you don’t need to spend a lot of time meditating in order to reap the benefits. Simply sitting quietly for a few minutes and contemplating on what you’re grateful for can help to center you and to provide new perspective, which often will lead to feeling better. If you want something more structured or have more time, you can look up guided gratitude meditations online or grab a meditation app to try. When it comes to affirmations, a good practice might be to combine them with your gratitude journal. Write down positive messages that apply to your life and help to inspire or motivate you. Perhaps you want to keep them in a separate journal or store them online. Then you can pull out your collection of affirmations for a pick-me-up when you need one.
Gratitude meditations and affirmations are simple tools that offer a big return. They take only a few minutes to practice, and you really don’t need any special equipment. Give them a try when you feel you could use an injection of gratitude in your life.