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10 Things Everyone Should Know About Themselves – Part 1

August 6, 2011

In a world where we can connect with complete strangers on the other side of the world with nothing more than a keystroke, it seems impossible that we have become so disconnected from ourselves.  Maybe the two are related.  I wonder if the more access we have to extend outside of ourselves, the less comfortable we become turning inward.

I recently read an article on how crisis and tragedy are often the forerunners of self-examination and how, for many people, the only instigator of change is external catastrophe.  The article was thought provoking and I found myself wondering why external events are often the only thing that can provide the fuel to fire us up and set us on a course for significant self change.   And the only answer I could find was why wait!

Why wait until there is a crisis?  Why wait for the hand of catastrophe to snatch away all your security and leave you shivering before you look around to see who you are and what you believe in?  Wouldn’t it serve you better, not only when the crisis comes, but right now, in your everyday life, to know where you will stand your ground and who in your life is worth fighting for?  Yes.  Knowledge is power and what could be more powerful that knowing yourself.  To help you on your way, here is a start – the first half of my list of the 10 things everyone should know about themselves.

1. One Thing That Always Makes You Smile

There will forever be times when trouble and turmoil tackle you, toss you, and twirl you like a tornado traipsing through your world. It doesn’t matter if you are stuck in the midst of an ordinary bad day or just trying to surface after the tidal wave of tragedy has dragged you under.  You need a talisman of happy times, a handful of hope.  It may be a memory, a song, a specific voice on the other end of the phone, chocolate, a painting, or the feel of sun on your shoulders and sand between your toes.  The important thing is not what it is, but that you know what it is and can pull it out and wrap it around you like a warm blanket when you need it most.

2. Which Lines You Won’t Cross

The fastest path to losing your way and losing yourself is not having clearly marked lines that you are unwilling to cross.  Too often in life, we become so disconnected from our values and so accustomed to living without authenticity, that we consistently violate the values that make us who we are without acknowledging the consequences.  When we are disconnected from our inner selves, the lines we live between get blurred and smudged.  Without a clear path, it becomes very easy to stray off into the woods.  We make an exception here, move the line a little to the left there, tell ourselves the path wasn’t wide enough to start with, or that it will be okay just this once.  And then we realize we are so far outside our lines, we have strayed so far from our path, that we are lost in the deep dark woods, scared and alone. If you know where you draw your lines and which lines you won’t cross, you can redraw them anytime they start to get blurry and will never have to wake up lost, scared, and alone in the woods.

3. How to Differentiate Between One Bad Feeling and Another

New research indicates that one factor in the rapidly rising  obesity rate is that we have lost our ability to differentiate between being tired and being hungry.  People misinterpret tired as hungry and eat a snack instead of taking a nap.  I would guess it isn’t just tired and hungry we confuse.  In our search for happiness at any price, we seem to believe that unpleasant emotions are the result of a personality flaw.  Instead of seeing them for what they are and inviting them in to see what they have to tell us, we disregard and disconnect from anything uncomfortable and forget how to distinguish sad from angry.    The problem is, even if we disconnect, the sorrow is still there.  Being able to identify that what you are feeling is sadness gives you the information needed to move through the emotion.  But if you read sad as angry, you may lash out at the very support you need to prop you up while you sort out the source of your sadness.  Knowing how you are feeling and being able to connect to that particular emotion are both critical skills for managing stress, preserving relationships, and establishing a healthy emotional baseline.

4. What it Feels Like When You Reach the End of Your Rope

Everyone has a breaking point.  Even those people others turn to for strength and stability, the ones who boost us up when we are failing, who pick us up when we fall down, who are the rock upon which we can rest when we are weary, even these people only have so much rope. There is nothing heroic about sacrificing yourself in an effort to keep a hold of someone else’s rope .  If you are the rock, you aren’t helping those resting against you when you ignore the signs and instead stand strong no matter the consequences to yourself.  You won’t be able to help them if you run out of rope.  If you are the resting on your rock, running out of rope increases their burden and increases the chance that they will crack under the extra pressure.  Regardless of whether you are the rock or the one who rests against it, you need to know how it feels when you are running out of rope before you get to the end.  That way you will know when it’s time to tie a knot and hang on.

5. Who You Reach for When You Start to Fall

For many, the quick answer to this is the person you rely on for emotional support like a spouse, a sibling, a friend, a partner.  And that’s a start.  Everyone needs to know who will come when you say “I Need You!”.  The deeper answer is less about a person and more about where you seek your spirituality.  If you pray, who are you praying to.  If you don’t, where do you turn for meaning.  It could be nature, the universe, or something altogether different.  The who or what matters not.  What matters is that you know who will answer when you call.

Need help finding the answers to these questions?  Call me today (603) 731-9071 to see how I can help.

Rori Boyce is a life coach specializing in helping anyone managing AD/HD, a life transition, or seeking a path for positive change.  For a free consult or more information visit her website at www.turningleafcoaching.com.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Kathleen Hebert permalink
    August 7, 2011 9:02 am

    Hi Rori – This is a fantastic article; very well-written and thought provoking. Thank you for posting it.

  2. August 7, 2011 11:37 am

    Crisis forces people to act and/or re-evaluate. Everyday life, when all is well, doesn’t give people a reason to look at changing as everything seems to be working out. You’ve given me some things to reflect on. Looking forward to Part II.

    • August 7, 2011 9:15 pm

      That is a great point! I think it is important to check in on yourself every once in awhile though, so you stay connected enough to know when things start to stray off into unhealthy territory. I have found that it is so easy to get wrapped up in the everyday things, so tied to maintaining the status quo that they don’t see that they are no longer walking down the right path for their life and their happiness.

      • November 7, 2012 11:42 pm

        Life and everything in it is a gift from the infinite mind;
        and the only way that life can go wrong is by the limited finite mind.

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