"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Know Thyself

A few days ago I posted a small speech by a young woman named Sera Beak. Having peaked my interest, I decided to go check out her website and see what she was all about. On her site, I found she had a well crafted and thought out mission statement for her life. I found it fascinating that she put so much thought and intention into defining herself and the world around her. This adorable woman lives with great intentionality. To see her "Redvolutionary" mission statement click here.

While not everything in her statement aligned completely with my beliefs, I could agree with many of her ideas. I decided to write them down, pick them apart and make my own creed.

So what I am going to do in the next few days is focus on some of these key concepts that Sera brought up that I think pertain to living a full, soul filled life. The first one being, Know Thyself.

How many of us truly know ourselves? At first glance we would think, of course we do! But I think if we are really honest sometimes we are not completely in touch with why we do what we do or why we think a certain way. We are programmed early in life to believe certain things and respond to situations in a particular way. Depending on how "moldable" we are, sometimes we can lose ourselves in the process.

Quite a few years ago my parents were on a Myers/Briggs kick. Mom had a book called "Please Understand Me" and in it we had a test available to us to take and then explanations on the results. It was uncanny how much the results said about us. They were right on almost to the point of being scary! If you'd like to take the online test, click here.

Probably the most telling and healing aspect of the test was when my mother and I compared our test results. She was an ISTJ and I was an ENFP! Now, if you don't know anything about the tests let me explain that there are two possible results to each of the four letters. All people fall somewhere on the continuum. My mother was an EXTREME ISTJ and I was a FIRM ENFP! We were total opposites on the personality spectrum.

Picture my mom trying to raise this foreign child!  My "feeling" self was way too much for her rational side. I wanted to talk things out to process and she was very private. We had some major struggles growing up. Add to it my artistic, flamboyant, adventurous self with her tailored, stoic, stable persona and we were just like oil and water! My mom didn't understand how I ticked and was trying to get me in line and I was rebelling frantically.

After we took the tests we were amazed at the results. When she read my description she said "Wow, that explains everything!" She now understood why I was driven to adventure and changing the world. It was nothing that she could "talk good sense into me" about... it was my wiring! I might point out here that she needed a test to scientifically prove that to her, it wouldn't have been enough for me to explain it because that doesn't work with her personality :). The self test was the turning point for my relationship with my precious mom. We now "got" each other and learned to enjoy our differences and tap into each other's strengths where we were weakest. It's been a lot of fun in recent years and our lives have been made that much richer.

Getting to know your personality is only one aspect of knowing yourself however! Think about your mind. How does it work? What is your learning style? What do you prefer studying and how often? Even your intelligence is multi-faceted. You can be spatially intelligent, musically intelligent, mathematically, Intra-personally, Inter-personally, Bodily, etc.

How well do you know your feelings? Are there things buried in your past that cause you to behave in a certain way now in your subconscious mind? Do you pay attention to your subconscious through your dreams or by evaluating some of your responses to situations?

Are you aware of your body? Your energy levels? What foods make you feel good and what things don't sit right with you?

Are you in touch with your dark side? Do you know what pushes your buttons in the wrong way? Do you know how to cage the monster when it's rearing it's ugly head?

Do you know your preferences in food, colors, decorating, art, movies....? Could it be that those who are indecisive don't know themselves too well yet, or is it about trying to please others? Something to think about....

Do you know your gift mix? Do you know what you are BEST at? Do you know where you are most effective in other people's lives? Do you do what you do best, or do you stumble through what you are mediocre at because you feel you should? Time is such a precious commodity and I really want to make the most use of my time by being true to my unique abilities both in service and in career.

One of my lifetime goals has been to understand myself! I know, it sounds funny and maybe a tad conceited but it's part of celebrating who I am AND becoming the most effective person that I can be. I place a high value on being "real" and that means knowing who you are and responding to your world authentically. I wouldn't want to do it any other way. Pretending to be someone else or even thinking you are different than you are breeds incongruent behavior and confusion. I always mean what I say to the best of my ability.

So how about you? Are you "real"? Have you made it a priority to really get to know yourself? To know yourself is to own yourself and all that comes with it. It's acceptance and growth. It's healthy and it's great to get in touch with your soul!


  1. Now I know why I always feel a real kinship with your mom and my daughter to you (interesting that this is posting as my daughter, too...)
    I remain,
    your STRONG ESTJ friend!
    Diverse friendships makes the world a more interesting place.