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The Art of Being Yourself - 3 Steps to Clarity

Last week, after pouring my heart out to a friend over lunch I said, “Thanks for making me feel like myself again.”

She responded, “You are yourself.”

My outpouring felt messy to me, so it was a relief to hear that my “real talk” was okay – that she saw the big picture and in fact, I knew at that moment I was embraced – all of me! She reminded me that I needed to do the same for myself.

We are complex, evolving beings and that is not always pretty.

No one is perfect.

Life is a journey.

We are growing and evolving.

We know all of these things and yet we expect end results, finished products, expected outcomes and perfection from ourselves.

Inspired by the theme of loving ourselves more this month, I ask that you embrace your complexity this year. Complexity is a gift comprised of our innate gifts/talents and life paths/lessons.

Here are 3 steps to increased clarity. The topic? It is a subject you know more about than anyone else. It is the most interesting story ever written. It is the story of you.

Step 1: Take inventory of who you are – all of it.

Pablo Casals said it best: “Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the world, there has never been another child like you…. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel.”

  • What are your shining gifts and qualities?

Spend some time here – we tend to overlook this. People give us clues about our gifts every day. In fact, they probably tell you about your gifts (in their words, in a smile of appreciation, etc.). Pay attention to the clues this month. Listen for them. Commit to writing them down - reserve one page in your journal just for that.

  • Make your rediscovery playful. Read Dance of the Chameleon to inspire your thinking about your own gifts and purpose.

  • What activities/tasks are fun for you?

  • What do you do better than anyone else? (Hint: it’s probably also fun for you.)

  • What do other people tell you that you are good at?

  • What are your strengths?

  • What do you see as your weaknesses (i.e., opportunities for growth)?

  • What are your dreams? (Draw a picture.)

Step 2: Embrace your path.

Each of us reflects a unique combination of personality traits and experiences. Our journeys make us who we are and every path is given to us for a reason. Your path is unique. Embrace it. Here are some questions to assist.

  • What life experiences have defined you thus far (i.e., relationships, defining moments, etc.)?

  • What lessons have you learned from each of those life experiences?

  • What are the gifts you have received from the challenges in your life?

  • How are you stronger as a result of your path?

  • What are your truths (i.e., things you know to be true)?

  • What's your life motto?

  • What growth paths are you on right now – what are you learning?

Step 3: Write your story using any of the questions above that interest you – begin today.

  • Clarity: The act of writing can bring clarity.

  • Relief: The act of writing can bring relief. When we write our thoughts down, we don't have to hold on to information. We can let it go. We can own it.

  • Expertise: The act of writing acknowledges your expertise. You are a renowned expert on the topic of you.

  • Simplicity: Writing doesn't take an hour or an expensive journal. Start with a spiral notebook or a scrap of paper. Write a few thoughts down. Take 5 minutes at a time.

  • Fun: Make writing fun for yourself. Use colored pens. Draw a picture if it occurs to you.

  • Write and Revisit: Remember that your "journal" doesn't have to be well written - consider it a draft. When you re-read it, you can highlight key learnings. Remember, you do not need an hour to do this. You need intention and 5 minutes.

Complexity is a gift to be appreciated. Look at yourself as if you are a beautiful quilt. Take a moment to explore the stitches, patterns and colors. Make note of what you see.

Your complexity offers an invitation to retrace and embrace.

As Soren Kierkegard once said: "It must be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards."

Our innate gifts/talents and life path/lessons provide the clues that give us strength and awareness. Embrace all of it. No one else knows exactly what you know. Own it. Be stronger because of it.

Know your light. Share your light.

And remember, there is no greater expert on you - than you. You are the most fascinating story ever written.

Treat yourself like a dear friend - forgive yourself. Appreciate yourself. Embrace yourself. Fall in love with yourself this year. You are so worth it.

© Kathy Sturgis, Ph.D. Kathy is founder of Refreshment Zone and is an organizational and personal development specialist with a doctorate in communication. Contact for more information on motivational programs.

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