Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bee Yourself!

“Be what you would seem to be - or, if you'd like it put more simply - never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.” - Lewis Carroll

I really love Lewis Carroll.  While I developed a serious headache trying to decipher that quote, I believe I am correct in my interpretation:  No matter who you are, you cannot help but be yourself.   And quite frankly, you can be whatever you put your mind to!

Being yourself seems like it would be quite easy, but I think everyone has had an experience where we chose not to share who we really were, or we pretended to be someone we weren't, because in the moment we didn't think we could be ourselves.   

There are definately times in my own life where I had to stop and ask myself the question "Who am I?"   Usually these little self exploration sessions followed an episode when I wasn't feeling confident, or felt overconfident, when I hurt someone unintentionally or when someone unintentionally hurt me.   One thing I can attest to about myself:  I am not Perfect!  But I do try my best to do the right thing and to be honest.

The reality is that being your authentic self takes more than just knowing yourself, it also takes courage and heart to stand up for yourself and sometimes simply to be yourself.

I have found journaling very helpful when self soul searching.   I ask a probing question and then spend 15 minutes or so just making a list.  (This is where the joy list provided in a previous post comes from!).   Some of my more creative friends have put together collages this way too.

Here are some good self-exploration questions:
  1. Who are you?  Begin each answer-or your list- with "I am..."
  2. What makes you happy?  (Joy list question)
  3. Where are you going?  Begin each answer -or your list- with "In 1 year, I will..." (choose whatever increment of time you wish)
  4. What do you want to be known for
  5. What makes you mad?
  6. What makes you sad? 
  7. What would you change about yourself?  What can't you change about yourself?
  8. What about you is just right?
  9. What do you want to do before you die?
  10. Who are you NOT?
There are probably a million other questions.   You can apply this exercise to a specific situation:  "At work I am happiest when..."  or "Whenever I am around (Jane Doe) I am..."   or more broadly as demonstrated above.  

The most important part is to take what you learn from the exercises to heart and "be what you would seem to be"

To Thine Own Self Be True!

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