3 Exercises to Breakthrough an Identity Crisis
Do you have suspicion that you are like an iceberg in the wide blue ocean, floating freely and harmlessly most of the time through your life but at the same time, just like that iceberg can turn into a lethal obstacle, a dangerous abyss for a bypassing ship, you can stand in your own way ruining your chances to be happy. Imagine the bypassing ship is your goal, your desire to achieve something. What you see as a captain of that ship is a still blue ocean, friendly enough. You know your course. You see the lighthouse from afar signaling you where to go.
All seems good and easy and under control. And then BANG! Titanic happens. This is all because of the hidden, unseen, unaccounted for object in the depth of the now, not-so- friendly, blue waters.
Doesn’t it make sense to study the waters and, most of all, the shape of the iceberg ahead? Would it be arrogant to presume one can start the journey without taking account of what can be standing or floating their way, what can potentially destroy all the good intentions? Titanic was a great big ship. I mean, really big, really equipped. Yet, the hidden side of what seems to be a small obstacle, sank it in no time. I hate to be so dramatic about you and what you don’t know about yourself, but honestly, I have no choice.
Most people, even the mature seasoned individuals who spent many years studying the human psyche have something they just cannot grasp about themselves. The more you look into yourself the more you discover and the more you realize you will never understand. And this is OK. You don’t need to understand everything. You only need to understand how you get or don’t get what you want.
A lot of it comes down to understanding how your mind and your emotions affect your behavior and how the core beliefs about yourself and the world around you can limit or inspire you to take actions that guarantee your success. Before you know what you are and how you work you won’t be able to correct your course, navigate those blue waters, and get your ship safely to the beautiful shore in record time enjoying every leg of your trip.
In order to know yourself better you need to do one important thing; you need to adopt a non-judgmental attitude towards yourself. Sounds easy, especially if you consider yourself emotionally stable, healthy and an objective person. Of course you can see things the way they are. Of course you can objectively take notice of your thoughts and feelings, recognize your behavioral patterns and articulate the vision of your world, the reality you live in. Or maybe not.
What I noticed, most of us have opinions about what is going on, is it good or bad? With those opinions comes the inner censor. Some people have tendencies to ignore anything they can’t accept and others have a need to justify every little thing about them, feeling like somebody out there is about to get them. They are trying to play down their successes and fit in, in what unfortunately is not a great place to be, the average. Most people do both, ignore what they can’t accept and avoid taking credit for all the good stuff. I am talking from experience. So I know there is a lot to do in revealing and acknowledging the truth about who you really are. That process alone brings an enormous satisfaction to most of my clients. It’s kind of therapeutic to validate your life, to see yourself from aside, to give yourself the most needed attention and recognition.
I want to give you three exercises to put you at ease and help you look forward to knowing yourself instead of dreading it or even fearing the process for some, most likely, irrational reasons. To do those exercises you would need a notebook and a pen, that’s all. Writing down your answers makes this whole work meaningful and much more effective.
Take It Easy Exercise
Wherever you are, stop what you’re doing and look around you, behind you, above you.
What do you see? What do you hear? How do you feel?
Write in your journal how you feel about what you see, hear and feel. Focus on yourself in connection with your environment and the people around you at the present moment.
Make sure to let go of judgement. Your job is simply to acknowledge what you live. It’s probably not that bad. And you have attracted it. If anything, you can congratulate yourself for making it so far. Most people reaching midlife have something to show for it. Don’t be shy, notice!
The Thought Accountant
Take account of the most frequent thoughts you are thinking when you go to bed. What do you dwell on? What keeps you awake at night? Journal about it in a form of a bullet point list or write freestyle. Don’t judge any of your thoughts or yourself for thinking them. It is about knowing what really worries you, not making you feel bad or worse. Later on in this book I will show you how to think the thoughts that are good for you deliberately. It is totally doable. But for now, just validate yourself and what you are going through.
When you talk to other people, your partner, your parents, your extended family, your real friends, your Facebook friends, your colleagues at work, your boss, your team, what do you say you want out of life? How do you express what you want daily? To make this easier, remember the last occasion when you asked for something. How did you feel? What was the response? Did you get what you want? Describe the occasion in your journal.
Don’t be shocked if you couldn’t remember the last time you asked for anything and got it unconditionally. You, most likely, sacrificed your own desires to something or somebody else. I get it. You might be a chronic people pleaser and it’s ok for now. You have been doing it for a reason.