I remember clearly the day when a friend was telling me about her sudden realisation that her life today was so incredibly different to that of her youth. Her adventurous spirit, risk taking and freedom had been replaced with other responsibilities: mother, breadwinner, mortgage payer, supporter of her husband, housekeeper, etc. She was honestly amazed by how different she had become. She wondered what had happened to her old self. Although she had a beautiful family and fulfilling career, it was evident she was deeply affected by this disconnect between her younger self and her current self.
Have you found yourself in a similar position lately? I wonder if your dreams for the future have been put on the backburner as other life priorities have been allowed to surface. Have you really lost touch with the real you? Being able to reflect on who you were and who you have become is vital work.
I have asked myself, ‘Who am I?’ many times. I have asked myself lots of questions in the last 10+ years including these: What do I stand for? What do I feel passionate about? Why am I here? What purpose do I have in my life? What am I good at? How can I express myself creatively? Who is important to me? How can I best serve others and feel fulfilment in that service? Here are some answers that I wrote in 2008-2009; on reflection, they are all still true of my current view of me!
- I am someone who loves and needs love.
- I am someone who cares about others and wants to help.
- I am someone who laughs readily, sings and moves joyfully through life!
- I am someone who is real; I have strengths and weaknesses, and I like that.
- I am someone who has big dreams and envisions harmony and a purposeful for everyone.
- I am someone who is sometimes brave enough to take on physical challenges.
- I am someone who enjoys learning how to improve my outcomes.
- I am someone who nurtures growth.
Using a sentence starter like ‘I am someone who…’ is a simple way to start to define ‘who I am’. I’ve used this for years in workshops and most people struggle to find the answers, at first. Finding meaningful sentence ‘closers’ can be done, but it takes persistence and practice. Why not take five or ten minutes now and see if you can start to uncover the real you?
When you’ve done that, take some time to understand how many of your statements were positive and focused on your strengths rather than on your flaws? If you have more than one weakness on your list I challenge you to replace it with a strength. You are more than you first think you are. Really, you are!
If you are feeling stuck, however, and truly having difficulty in completing this activity get some feedback from a close friend or relative, someone who you know will be really honest with you. Ask them to describe you… what do they see? What do they know for sure? Listen carefully to what they have to say and write down anything that resonates with you. If you want to step ahead in confidence, you must first understand YOU. So don’t rush this, don’t ignore it, don’t give up on it either. YOU are worth the effort. You can do this. You will feel accomplished afterwards!
When you are done, do share some of your lines that start with ‘I am someone who…’ I’m ready to meet the real you or at least to get to know you at a deeper level. Are you?