“The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
To me, she meant having the courage to know yourself well and to live life being exactly who you were meant to be.
Just how well do you know yourself?
It stuns me to meet people who hardly know themselves. But then again, who am I to be stunned when I did not know myself in my 20s?
How I wish I believed that we could be different from the rest of the world and still be fabulous — in fact, fabulous because of it, not despite it. How badly I wish someone had told me that different means good and conformity is not for everyone. That it’s perfectly fine to explore what the heart wants and to tune out the rest of the world long enough to build a relationship with your soul. That the most beautiful thing you will ever witness in your life is when you begin to unfold into the exact person you were meant to be.
What does it mean to know oneself?
Knowing yourself is beyond figuring out your favorite color, your ideal mate, your favorite pet or everything about your best friend. We are no longer in high school — thank heavens – where being “yourself” meant being just like everyone else, acting stupid and defying our parents and teachers!
Knowing yourself is a deeper, greater and slower process. It is a road that is long and winding and you must be ready to travel it. It brings you face-to-face with your self-doubts and you need your inner confidence to push through it. But it is a journey that pays in abundance, the magnificence of this rose blossoming before you.
Knowing yourself means respecting your values in life, your beliefs, your personality, your priorities, your moods, your habits, your magnificent body, and your relationships. For me, knowing myself means devoting time to my yoga because the body movements and br eathing take me to where I truly belong.
Knowing yourself means understanding your strengths and weaknesses, your passions and fears. It means being aware of your eccentricities and idiosyncrasies, your likes and dislikes, your tolerances and limits, your insecurities and your fears.
Knowing yourself means knowing your purpose in life.
You are not born knowing yourself. You do not get to know yourself simply by growing up and growing old. Knowing yourself is a conscious effort; you do it with intention and purpose.
Not knowing yourself becomes obvious sooner or later. A quiet frustration lives in your heart when you do not know yourself. You may choose to live with it and ignore it – or you may choose to start getting to know yourself.
A Get to Know Yourself Mini-Guide:
1. Get to Know Your Personality: Maybe are the type to take personality and assessment tests. Maybe you can just observe and listen and collect bits and pieces of the puzzle that will make the whole come clear for you. I prefer the latter but either way, get to know your personality inside out. Who are you behind your name? What are your characteristic traits? What image do you portray to the outside world? What is true nature as a person on a happy day, on a sad day, in face of a challenge or a great reward? How do you react to the world around you?
2. Get to Know Your Values: When I work with my clients, one of the first things I ask before the coaching sessions is a list of their values. I learned this from a great mentor once. The list of life’s core values all “sound good” but the question is which ones feed the flames of your fire? In your work, in your home, in all aspects of your life, which ones can you not compromise on? Is it honesty, integrity, security or flexibility? Is it dedication to others, wisdom and learning, financial comfort or fun? Do you value loyalty above excellence, responsibility above ambition, or innovation above improvement?
3. Get to Know Your Body: I used to think I know my body. How silly of me! The more I learn about my body now, the more it surprises and delights me, it amazes me. Yours can too. How well do you know your body, your breathing, your limits of balance and flexibility? Or have you wrongly decided that you “can’t do this” and that your body “type” won’t do that already and thus closed the door to wonderful possibilities? Have you taken enough time to become truly intimate with the loveliest temple on earth, your own body?
My greatest meditation discovery is a program I have used it, love it and trust it: ReAwakening (my affiliate link). As you may know, I have a hard time meditating and staying still. The soothing voice of Angela and the calming music are great but MOST OF ALL, ReAwakening goes through a powerful system with the story telling that guides you into a meditative zone where you go deep into a heavenly zen state. Grab your own copy of this incredible meditation program!
4. Get to Know your Moods: Your moods can be good and bad, harmful and delightful; don’t underestimate their subtle power. Get to know what frustrates you and what brings you peace. Understand what makes you react a certain way and how can you manage a poor mood at critical times in your life. Learn your best and worst moods and find ways to manage the poor ones and ways to enhance the good ones. Learn to release your bad moods through powerful guided meditation tracks.
5. Get to Know your Likes and Dislikes: Oh my favorite, what we like and equally important, what we do not like. Have you taken the time to define them just for you and not in a peer group with your friends and family? Defining your own likes and especially dislikes takes some guts. It is not “nice” to talk about our dislikes but it is far less nice to deny our true desires so choose wisely. If you do not like camping or traveling or visiting your friends in another state, don’t do it. If you love eating out or shopping online or learning Japanese or eating a raw food diet, stop making excuses to please others about your “guilty pleasures”. Stay true to your likes and dislikes.
Along the way of getting to know myself, which did not kick in until very late in my 20s, I have learned that…
… I can tolerate extreme physical pain for long periods but I cannot tolerate loud and obnoxious children even for five minutes.
… my body can become stronger as I become older.
… my body needs extremely hard workout routines to stay happy.
… my energy can increase as I age gracefully.
… I really do not care for the approval of everyone to pursue everything I want in life.
… friends come and go no matter how much I invest in the friendships.
… I am very sensitive as a woman and it pains me to see how much some friends forget the huge favors I have done for them over the years.
… the more I travel, the closer I get to my ideal lifestyle.
… the older I get, the closer I grow to my childhood friends.
… my corporate dreams were lousy and so I set them aside.
… I can be in love with my own body and the better friends I make with that body, the happier I become in all aspects.
… giving up anything is possible when I set my mind to it.
… I have let fear stop me in the past from far too many opportunities.
… I am weak at confrontation and strong at negotiation.
… I like cuisines that seemed strange to me and dislike familiarity and routine.
… I can become a writer and even a photographer someday despite years of engineering and technical training.
… certain people in this world frustrate – and even disgust – me so I no longer let them into my life, no matter what the grand reward of having the relationships.
… I value being true to myself above everything else.
… my moods are not a true reflection of me and I can learn to change them especially if they bring harm to my loved ones.
… what I believed at 16 still holds true: selfishness is a virtue and the root of all my happiness and path to my true compassion for others.
Getting to know yourself allows you to tap into the well of happiness beyond your imagination. Bliss even on cloudy days.
So go ahead. Stop waiting. Start getting to know well – and I mean really well.