Who Am I?
Seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? There is no “right” answer to this question, which in itself, is an important concept to understand, since we often identify ourselves based on who we think we should be, and then judge ourselves as being “right” or “wrong” based on this flawed perspective. This flawed perspective often derives from all the external influences that exist in our lives: our parents’ expectations and their sometimes vicarious desires for us to be their version of “successful”; our peers’ judgments, based on what they think is important; a significant other, who we are trying to please to the exclusion of our own needs and desires. The list could go on.This does not mean that it is “wrong” to do things or be a certain way for others based on what they wish and need. It DOES mean that when you do, you need to be aware of whether or not your actions are in line with your true self. And if they are not, you need to hold onto that awareness and understand why you have made that choice.
The Choices We Make
This may be too abstract for you, so here are a few simple scenarios that will hopefully illustrate the point:
Scenario 1: Your elderly mother has asked you to drive her to the store. You have other things planned for the day, but you decide that they are not as important today as being available for your mother and spending time with her. You have happily made a choice out of love for yourself and your mother.
Scenario 2: Your elderly mother has asked you to drive her to the store. You have other things planned for the day, but you grudgingly decide to drive your mother to the store because you feel that you she expects and needs you to always be available for her.
Scenario 3: Your elderly mother has asked you to drive her to the store. You have other things planned for the day, so you tell your mother that you would love to drive her to the store, but you have some other things that you have planned for the day, and you would be happy to take her to the store tomorrow.
In Scenarios 1 and 3, although each represents a different choice, you have made each choice coming from an awareness of who you are and what is important to you. You experience love and contentment. In Scenario 2, you have made a choice based on obligation and external expectations, and you feel irritable, and probably some resentment.
Let Your Feelings Be Your Guides
One of the best ways to get in touch with, or become aware of, whether or not you are acting from your true self is to use your emotions or feelings as your guides. If you have made a choice and are feeling irritable, angry, or stressed, ask yourself why. It is quite possible that you are making a choice that doesn’t take your true nature into consideration. Likewise, when you are feeling joy, happiness, or love, recognize that these feelings are indicators of being in line with your true self.
As I said, these are very simplistic scenarios, and there are always going to be times when you feel that your only option is to make a choice that is not in line with what you really want. Being aware of this and why you have made this type of choice is an important part of understanding who you are and what you need.
If you are feeling a little lost at this point, wondering how you can really corral this information into something that you can use to help you gain more awareness of yourself, then a next step for you might be to find some tools that can help you get to a “I know who I am and what I want and need” place in your life. In next week’s blog, I’ll share some ideas with you that can help you take those next steps. In the meantime, let your emotions be your guide to expanding your awareness of your true self.