S E N S E O F S E L F…
“The hardest battle you are ever going to have to fight is the battle to just be you.” –Leo Buscaglia
To know ourselves at the deepest levels & become self-accepting is one of the most challenging things to master.
And who knows if anyone really ever does – master it anyway…
To be calm, peaceful, and self-assured has to be cultivated over time – through experiences and ups & downs.
Limiting beliefs don’t dissolve because we get married, start a business, or get another degree.
Those accomplishments are fantastic, by the way. These are the ‘experiences’ that lend greatly to the self-assurance process.
No…..discovering a greater sense of who we are and what we offer the world is a process that begs time, dedication, and resources.
That time for me personally has come through many painful experiences in my life – ending an engagement (which I NEVER thought I would do), rejections in spades (from multiple family members and both of my fathers at different life points), nearly losing my life a couple of times from freakish accidents, and other things that probably need to go in a book very soon.
Yet, what I’ve come to know is a resilience to cultivate a greater sense of who I am, regardless of a lack of support or love from certain people I either never wanted to lose, always wanted, or never got. Accolades never given, work never recognized, or sacrifices never properly observed.
Canceling out all of who or what people think I am, I had to keep asking – who is Tamisha?
Ask yourself that right now…
Who is _______________? [Insert your name there…]
I have found the truest answer of who I am to be found in a belief in God and a devout spiritual life along with intense study on the difference in my ego and my truest self.
As an introvert, you can imagine this as being a joyous inner journey that continues even right now as I write this post.
The research I did for The Introvert Effect on identity theory and really, the entire process of building that whole framework, was also eye opening, showing me how introverted women can truly embrace their individuality in a way that can significantly change the way they view themselves.
The most important takeaway from today will be one word – true. Altruistic. Authentic.
In all the lessons, look for what’s true for you. As we look deeper into the dichotomies of self, look to fuse your experiences into the lessons for exactly what the balance between them means for you – there’s not just one way.
4 Lessons for Cultivating a Greater Sense of Self
Lesson 1 – Hostile vs. Friendly
I have had to come a long way when it comes to being friendly in situations that, in my earlier years, drove me nuts or I loathed, such as elevators, waiting rooms, or small talk at gatherings. I wouldn’t say I was ever ‘hostile’ per se, but I haven’t always been all that friendly in certain situations. I have learned a great deal in this department, and really have gotten better at knowing and understanding the intense value in the present moment. Now, for me, I can handle all of those situations in doses, and I’ve learned how to best maximize my time in those circumstances, based on what I know about myself – that I love people, I am very empathetic, and I know how precious life is.
You may have a separate set of life experiences or personality traits that help you accomplish this same result.
In the moments you feel the most resistant or hostile, I’d like you to ask yourself, “what am I resisting?” I think you’ll be surprised. Be true, and give your SELF time to answer – don’t answer out of a place of competition or power.
Lesson 2 – Resentment vs. Forgiveness
Okay, so I teach forgiveness in a way that, perhaps you’ve never heard before.
It’s empathy, period.
And without it – there can be no forgiveness. So, if a person tells me they’re ‘apathetic’ toward me or ‘indifferent’, that tells me they aren’t putting themselves in my shoes, nor are they willing to. This is the complete opposite of empathy, which asks us to step completely out of our lifestyle, paradigm, belief system and opinions, and completely into the shoes of another.
Give me a grudge, and I’ll show you immense apathy/indifference. Give me forgiveness or a forgiving spirit, and I’ll show you someone who’s taken one moment and stepped into the shoes of the other human being.
Forgiveness must have empathy to survive because it requires vulnerability. And the only way for apathy to stay alive, year after year, is through resentment. Period.
A lot of the time, when we can’t let something go someone did to us, we are deliberately choosing to hold onto the pain they caused us instead of choosing empathy. When empathy has its way – forgiveness blooms.
Resentment clings to the ego whereas forgiveness requires humility and clings to the self.
Lesson 3 – Power vs. Humility
You have two kids: One whose parents can afford the expensive jeans (in my day it was Girbaud) and who treat others as less than because of it. Then you have the kid who wants the expensive jeans so they can be liked & popular, but whose parents would have to work 80 hours that week, just to buy one pair. Those two kids are both getting a skewed sense of power and what power means. One of those kids believes power is in material things, and that the world automatically rewards and likes you as a result. The other one believes power is the only way to be recognized or to whom attention can be paid.
Then, those kids grow up to be adults who still have a skewed sense of power and what power (and responsibility) means. The one tramples on others to get to the top, while the other sits back, “waiting” because she thinks that the only way power and her gifts can be manifested or influential is if they are on a large scale.
Let me be clear about what I’m saying here…
Humility can be powerful. And being humble doesn’t mean I degrade myself or stand on the curb while everyone else plays. Actually, our sense of self rises greatest when we take some sort of action, albeit as imperfect as it may be, in humility and with good intention. Our sense of self is paralyzed when we sit back and wait for some powerful moment to catapult us forward. Humility is simply about being honest about our weaknesses.
So…..power isn’t always bad. It’s when we abuse it that we’re clinging to our ego in some way – whether it’s to competition, an outcome, getting the ‘one up’, or making ourselves feel accomplished.
Lesson 4 – Complaining vs. Gratefulness
Gosh, I used to be a chronic complainer. I still have to work on this sometimes, but I have come a long way.
This lesson is pretty simple – gratefulness is the antidote to a complaining spirit. The quickest way to use it to cultivate a greater sense of who you are is to stop and ask what you’re truly grateful for and let it seep in deep, beyond any discomfort you feel. It’s a practice that takes time & effort, but this is just about awareness and repetition – the more grateful you allow yourself to be, the less complaining you will find yourself doing.
Upcoming Lessons Include…
Lesson 5 – Self-Denial vs. Self-Acceptance
Lesson 6 – Social Intolerance vs. Social Acceptance
Lesson 7 – Separation vs. Unity
Lesson 8 – Cold vs. Empathetic
Lesson 9 – Madness vs. Wisdom
Lesson 10 – Intolerance vs. Patience
If you’re inclined to share, I’d love to know which one of today’s 4 lessons are the hardest for you. I’ll be back soon to continue this series.
Happy Fall & thank you for being here & being committed to who you are and who you want to become,