Self Discovery Series Part 4:…This Is Who I Am…..

You have now entered the finale to this series! If you need to catch up here you go>>>

Part Uno
Part Dos
Part Tres

The main goal of this series has been to stimulate your thoughts. When you hear the words “self discovery”, people tend to think it means to find yourself.
Nope, the big deal is not to
find yourself, we are already found.
What does find yourself even mean?

Self discovery is about knowing yourself. So I wanted to stimulate your thoughts on getting to a place where you are in tune with YOU underneath all of the outside influences. Your thoughts of how you perceive others and how others perceive you, and how easy it is to get it all wrong. Thoughts of knowing your truth and owning it. Thoughts of finding assurance, security, and happiness in knowing who you are, defined by your own standards.

The easiest way to get to know yourself is the same way you would get to know anyone else right? Questions, listening, paying attention. Trust me it’s okay if you haven’t been. We barely make time for intentional self-discovery. We’re just bombarded with messages from other people: what they want for us, what they think of us, how they perceive us; and we forget to listen the voice that matters most, our own!

I am no expert but I know what works for me, and only hope that the things I share may work for you as well. Through this process, I have learned more about myself as well. Part 2: Perceptions meant a lot to me. It threw back into my face how I can also be part of the problem. Assuming things about people I don’t know, writing my own story about them before one word of conversation. Creating snap judgements of people based on their expression or clothing, or how I (and this one I do a lot) create a character and personality for someone after simply reading an email from them.

I asked a few of my friends: my “sister friend” of over 11 years Mone, and a few of my blogging sisters Sam, Pebbles, and Cherishe to really dig deep like we talked about in Part 1, and tell me who they are, and I created a video montage of their responses. These women inspire me everyday and I am humbled to know them.  Embarking on a journey of self discovery is one of the most rewarding paths in life you will ever take, and one of the most beautiful things to witness happen in someone else’s life.

Don’t believe me?  Just watch. Click the video below to hear their self written stories :).

*VIDEO*

Just want to say thank you to these ladies for being vulnerable and open and muses for me and others around them all the time, I love you guys.

woamn with tears on face

Photo Credit

Although the journey of self-discovery never ends, you’ll know you’ve reached a good place when you’ve developed a greater sense of self-pride. You will be proud of the person you are and embrace even the ugliest things about you, because without them, you wouldn’t be you.

Teach yourself how to accept and love yourself for you who you are, no matter what you’ve been through and what you’ve learned in the process.

Acceptance makes all the difference in your confidence, self-esteem, and overall sense of self love. Love is loud and infectious and it stands out. Love yourself and others will have no choice but to fall in line hunny.

Own yourself, own your thoughts and your mind, and know that there’s nothing anyone can do or say that can take you away who you are, who you define yourself to be, from YOU.

I hope you enjoyed this series and it inspired you to get to know the “man (or woman lol) in the mirror” more.

Love, Neffi.

 

Self Discovery Series Part 2: Perceptions

Woman allowing other woman to see her through her eyes

photo credit: Jezebel.com

Last week in Self Discovery Series Part 1: Who Are You?, we talked about uncovering your true self and defining who you are on your own terms.
I hope you did the homework!
This week I want to get into
perceptions and how to handle the discrepancy between external perception: how others see and would describe us,
and
self-awareness: how we see and describe ourselves.

How many times at one point or another has someone perceived you totally differently than you believe yourself to be. You may have heard something like:
“I thought you were mean when I first met you.”
“I thought you were quiet”
“You seemed like…”
And you just wonder where they get these ideas from? lol

How people see someone vs how they really are (facial expressions)

photo credit: buzzfeed.com

Or the other way around: you met someone and created an image of them that totally differed from the person you grew to know. The biggest factor in someone’s perception starts with a first impression. The discrepancy this causes is that our image only partially reflects our personality.

I’m sure you’ve already been told time and time again how important first impressions are and how hard they are to reverse, and that’s true. People’s perception of you is initially their reaction of the “surface”or “top layer” of you, based mostly on your external appearance.

a self discovery pyramid

artist: Revalatori; https://www.instagram.com/revelatori/

You end up being pre-judged solely on your facial expressions, demeanor, your clothing, those sorts of visual factors, and not the real you. A person can create an entire judgement and story for someone else without speaking a word to them. You look at someone who appears angry and think they had a bad day and that they are NOT the person in the room you’ll ever approach. Then you talk to them and they say they’re not angry at all, that’s “just their face” lol and they’re actually having a great day.

All of our interactions are opportunities for us to see more deeply into who we are, who we are showing to people, and how we can begin to refine ourselves and make sure we are narrating our own stories. We should view every encounter and interaction as a mirror through which we can discover something important or new about ourselves.
We can then use what we find as valuable information in the process of arriving at a deeper self-understanding and self awareness.

So the questions of focus are:

How do people see you?
and
Does it match who you feel you really are?

Now, does it really matter what others think of you?? Some would say nope, just do your thing doesn’t matter what people think. When you’re talking about perceptions and what “people think of you”, you tend to meet resistance because most people feel strongly about not living for the world where everyone is too judgy anyway, and they shouldn’t care what anyone thinks. I know I’ve ran the “you think I care what they think of me?” line too many times before LOL.

Which is right…but to an extent. There is nothing wrong with having the confidence and free spirit to ‘do your own thing’ and live without the pressure of caring what everyone thinks of you; but it’s dangerous to disregard other people’s perceptions of you.
Imagine believing that you come across as a confident person. You speak clearly, you “don’t beat around the bush”, and you have no problem sharing your thoughts right However, people actually see you, not as confident, but as cocky, arrogant, inconsiderate, conceited, insensitive, or “feeling yourself”.
What are the consequences likely to be? How many relationships can be broken..or never formed? How many opportunities could pass you by? How many people would you be rubbing the wrong way?

Getting to the bottom of how people perceive you is one of the essential elements of understanding how you come across to them. Does how you represent yourself daily match who you say you are/ who you want to be? Once you know this, you can start to think about adapting your behavior so that their perception of you is what you want it to be, not what they have assumed or decided for themselves.
Put yourself in a position to control their perception of you.
This is YOUR show, direct it.

Let’s say you had a candy company and the candy was A-Ma-Zing but the wrapper was so unappealing and un-engaging that no one ever really brought it. Customers looked at that wrapper and assumed the taste of the candy was just an unappealing as that wrapper. First thing you would think is “ change the wrapper” so customers wouldn’t have the incorrect assumption and end up knowing it for the amazing candy it is. Make sense?

I challenge you to think seriously about how others view you.
This week’s homework is: Ask a diverse group, a few friends and family members, to tell you what they think of you? What did they think of you when they first met you?
Also reflect on some of the misconceptions and pre judgements people may have had of you, and you of others. If you are not happy with some of the conclusions you come to, then you know what to work on. This is not for you to feel ‘judged’ or misunderstood, because that can happen. They have some nerve to see you differently from the way you see yourself, how dare them? Lol.
Seriously, appreciate the honesty as it comes your way.
A life with all YES men has NO growth.

The thing is, if you’re willing to be honest with yourself you will quickly realize that you may have some things to work on.  If all their perceptions seem so far fetched, what has led them to these conclusions? Self- reflect on THAT. What changes can you make to reverse the perception and set a new tone?
That is how you continue to make progress on your journey to self discovery.

Until we meet again next week for part 3!

“How you are isn’t always as important as how you are perceived. Perception is the gatekeeper between your essence and your image. And your image is the only thing others truly see. Changing yourself is at best half the battle. Changing how you are will give you peace, but changing how you are perceived will give you power.”
– John Bastien

 

 

Self Discovery Series Part 1: Who are you??

For the past past few weeks I’ve been meeting a lot of new people and I have been put into several situations where I’ve had to introduce myself and give this sort of “quick spiel” of who I am. Also, I have some upcoming assignments that have been forcing me to really dig deep and look into myself. One major assignment is a personal essay of why I have chosen the career of Human Services, helping people.
A few months ago I had to give a speech that asked just that question: Who am I?

I remember brainstorming about being the middle child of 7 siblings, my cultural background, being an aunt, my job, and blah blah blah, and I landed on basing the speech on my zodiac sign, Leo. I find that I use that to define me a lot. I’m comfortable in finding comparisons between myself and a female lion/ queen, and that starts the basics of how I would describe my personality, actions, determination, and confidence. The truth is, I think that question “who are you?” may just be the most complex question on earth. It’s so vague and so heavy. I asked my best friend what is the most complex question on earth, expecting agreement from him, and he said “if you’re talking to a female it’s what do you want to eat?” LOL. There is some truth there, I’m not gonna lie. After that I asked him “who are you?” and he answered “ I don’t know. Who am I meaning what?”, and that response only proved my point.

I decided to do a four part series, this being part 1, on self discovery and the concept of self defined identity because we’re always discovering ourselves right? We’re such fascinating, diverse, and ever changing creatures that a question like “who are you?” at any given time can have the possibility of so many different answers. The American English Dictionary defines self-discovery as “a becoming aware of one’s true potential, character, motives, etc.” It can also be defined as “the process of acquiring insight into one’s own character”.

Self-discovery means many things. 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 on purpose. It means finding your purpose in life, it means digging deep into your childhood and revealing experiences that shaped you…good and bad. It means realizing what your beliefs are and living by them. The effects of self-discovery include happiness, clarity, fulfillment, and even enlightenment. It can end with you completely changing the course of your life, and starting to follow your true passion and purpose.

The journey however is not always an easy road. The journey includes fear, doubt, confusion, misunderstanding, and literally re-visiting all your choices and experiences in life, including choices that were made FOR you, but ‘whoo’ I’m not gonna go there yet.

The journey starts with basically interrogating yourself.
To begin with, do you know yourself well?
Are you clear about what you want in life?
Do you have a sense of purpose?
What defines you?
What makes you happy?
If you stop to think for a second, you may find that you have answered “no” or “don’t really know” to some of the questions above. Which is fine.

If I were to ask you who you are, what would you say?
Would your answer include your name, sex, or ethnicity?
Would it include your job, relationship status, age, or faith/religion?
Would you include your parental status: “I am a mom, dad, I have no children”?
Would you list character and personality traits? Take a minute to think about it.

Would it be easier to recollect someone’s else perspective or description of you? What about recollecting what your parent’s want you to do or be, which defines your current life? Example: “I’m going to school for nursing, my mom says I will always have a job once I’m in the medical field” Is it easier to recollect your shortcomings and how you’re not the person you want to be right now? In my experience it always seems to easier for people to list things they regret or wish happened, than to state confidence and firm belief in who they are now in this moment.

I’m asking a lot of questions but it’s only because I really want to get you thinking. My biggest goal for this series is to challenge you to dig below the surface. What if the condition of answering the question “who are you?” was that you could not include any of those outside factors I just mentioned. Yes they are a part of you, I’m not taking that away, but what those things are, as I like to call them, are “molders”. Those things have molded you into the person you are. We have many different people in us. There’s you at work, and there’s you in social environments. There’s you with family, and there’s you with friends. Sometimes there’s a different person for different friends!
Then there’s
YOU. Underneath it all. In private moments. What is that person like, what do they want out of this life, what do they believe? What is his/her core values?

artist: Revalatori; https://www.instagram.com/revelatori/

Up until now, it is very possible that you don’t have a clear idea of who you really are. Self discovery should be an important goal for everyone. It’s only through discovery of self that we can identify our purpose and fully actualize and maximize our potential. Maybe you haven’t spent enough time getting to know yourself. Maybe you’ve been defining yourself by the things mentioned earlier, or the things you do or don’t have.

What are the steps to self discovery? How do you burrow below these things in the picture above and find that true self?

I love sharing outside sources because they give me more insight into topics I find interesting and I know can provide you more insight and follow up on the topics touched in my posts. Today I want to share these posts with you A Journey to Self Discovery, Simple Steps to Self Discovery, and hope it can help you begin your journey or continue to navigate your journey to knowing you, and creating your own identity profile.

To get the most out of this series it’s going to be important to be open, honest, and committed with yourself. Until we meet again next week, I want you to find 15 minutes in your down time to do the following:

Find a quiet place/ time where you won’t be distracted for the time. Take the first 5 minutes to enter a space of relaxation. You can close your eyes and just breath, or meditate, whatever it is that will get your mind clear.
Next, reflect on these three questions:

Who am I? Why am I here? What makes me unique?

I would suggest you speak your answers out loud as they come to you as though you are outside yourself, talking to yourself. Or write it down, which I always prefer by the way, visualization is everything. It doesn’t have to make sense, just whatever consciously comes out, make note of it. Do so for 5 minutes. After a few minutes if you possibly draw a blank and feel like “that’s it”, no. Don’t get uncomfortable by the silence and keep thinking. Now take the final 5 minutes to reflect on how this made you feel, what did it give you insight into? What memories came up? How have these things contributed to who you are today? How much of it can you say is your identity?

Okay, that’s your homework and it’s the first step to clearing the blur and getting down to the real you. The posts I shared also give you other soul searching exercises and thought provoking questions to help you as well.
Until part 2 next week, Safe and fruitful travels down your journey 🙂 Love ya!

 

“That wonderful and terribly frightening journey of self-discovery. That process of growth, of being an independent person, of learning who you are and what you want from life, is the real secret of life, happiness and beauty.” – Diane Von FurstenBurg