“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” Aldous Huxley
Lately I’ve been dealing with a strong desire to get back in touch with who I am. I’ve told my closest friends on more than one occasion that due to a difficult season of life I’ve become a version of myself that I hardly recognize and quite honestly don’t like.
As a result, I’ve been working through these four steps to help get back to the person I used to be.
1 – Call yourself out.
When you catch yourself thinking or behaving in a way that doesn’t feel authentic. Say so. This isn’t me, I don’t like this, why am I doing this? You’re not alone in this. The apostle Paul said as much when we was talking about grace and law in Romans chapter seven.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. [Romans 7:15]
So you don’t like yourself, so what? What do you like? How do you want to be perceived? Do you want to be happy, energetic, full of integrity, trustworthy, outgoing, and helpful? That’s part of my list, yours will be different. By naming your best qualities, even if they are just aspirational, you start to shape your mind to create the person you want to become.
3 – Live it.
Actively show up and live those qualities for just one day. Hell, even just one hour. As you do it, go for longer and longer periods every time. Before long they will become your active way of living.
4 – Ask for help.
This last one isn’t for the faint of heart. If you are having trouble identifying your best (and worst) qualities, ask a trusted friend what they see. Be prepared for brutal honesty. Often-times those closest to us see things more clearly than we do. And their advice is sometimes hard to hear. But if you want to be your best self you really should listen. Maybe what you thought was a good quality is being perceived in a negative light. Sometimes we can go too far and come across as self-righteous, arrogant or aloof (that’s me again). Or maybe what you don’t like about yourself isn’t that bad and you can cut yourself a little slack. Regardless, asking for help builds trust, increases credibility and lets people know that you are committed to improvement.
Everything is a process. Some days you’ll be better at this than others. That’s okay. I’m still learning to be my best self everyday and there are still days when I don’t like the person I have become. That’s okay too. The goal isn’t perfection, it’s just to be a little better today than I was yesterday.
It’s a process of becoming, not a static recipe for who to be.