Updated: Feb 2, 2019
Who are you?
You are multi-faceted, always moving, growing, learning and always wrong*
Your values are there, though. Always. Waiting to be discovered and followed as directions to your best life.
You are a million different people to a million different people because everyone experiences you subjectively, including yourself. You don't talk to your gran how you talk to your mates. You don't talk to your partner how you talk to your mum. You don't show up at an interview the same way as you do to your housemates.
Therefore there is no defined you. You can identify with certain symbols and things, interests and clothes and ways to express parts of your (changing)identity but the way people interpret you will always be out of your control. People will agree on certain things but disagree on other things, because your interpretation is completely unique to everyone, as everyone has a unique filter.
E.g. If I say to you, think of Theresa May.
Maybe you think of a woman desperate to save the country. Maybe you see a little girl. Maybe you see a corrupt b****. None of these are absolutely true. What's true to you is true to you but not to all.
One thing can mean a lot of different things depending on the person, the interpreter.
By realising the subjectivity of everything, we realise that there is no objective truth.
What do you meaaaaan, "Objective truth?"
If you were listed in a dictionary there would be a million different entries because no one would be able to agree on a single definition of who you are because it’s so subjective. Like Theresa. Some would agree on some but not all. The only truth that matters is your truth. And you're entitled to it.
This is different to your opinion of yourself.
You may have noticed that sometimes you like yourself and sometimes you don't. This is because your thoughts are ALWAYS moving. There is no one state that is the truth. Therefore you might as well get used to noticing that they are always changing and then if you have shit thoughts, just notice them without judgement and remember they are always moving. It’s about saying 'yeah, whatever' to yourself.
No opinions are certain or correct or true. Including your own. Therefore the voice in your head that says “you are a failure” or “Your hair is s***” is just your inner critic winning at that second - and we are our harshest critics. But you have no idea how many people would look at you and think 'wow, I wish I had that hair'
Plus, we are always learning, so by remaining open and saying 'I could be wrong' invites more possibilities for growth and new perspectives. This is useful across all dimensions of life.
There is a core you. These are your values. This is your truth.
These are consistent.
These are different from your strengths. Your values are always with you, regardless of place, haircut, city, social group, job.
There are hundreds of values and we have a core 5-10 that are of significance to us. For example you could value HEALTH. Under that umbrella could be fitness, energy, vitality, peace. They are all values but the header of the group is health. If you're not living in alignment with your values, you'll be in a place of cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is where you feel one way but act another (due to many different prompts, such as social conditioning or wanting to please someone else) and that leads to a state of anxiety. Fighting with yourself. Who is the worst person to fight with, as you may have noticed, you can't walk away from yourself.
If you're in a job that doesn't align with one of your core values, you're going to feel miserable. For example, if you value SECURITY or CERTAINTY but you work for yourself, you're going to feel uneasy. However if you're someone who values ADVENTURE, you'll probably enjoy the ups and downs. Likewise, if you value FREEDOM and you're working a 9-5 job with little autonomy, you'll feel like you're withering.
If you value INTEGRITY and HONESTY and you work closely with or have relationships with someone who doesn't disclose the whole truth or beats around the bush (assertiveness is linked) or is too superficial, you'll find it difficult.
If you value HEALTH but you end up getting wasted regularly. Your FUN/ADVENTURE value and HEALTH value are in conflict and that creates real dissonance! That's when you have to find healthy ways to live your adventure value - like travelling to new places with all the money you save on drinking less.
If you value GROWTH and LEARNING but you're in non-progressive role, make the commitment to read 2 books a month or attend a new course.
Everyone's values are different and can change but your core values are consistent. You can have newer values that you have adopted as you've matured. The ones that you can't live without are the ones you need to which you must really pay attention.
Try identifying yours and finding out what's missing. What do you value so much and you don't have enough of? If you really value health and all your mates want to get wasted all the time, it could be change mates.
If you strongly value calmness/peace but you work/live with angry people, that's going to deeply rattle you.
This sounds so basic and for those who have already realised what they need, that's great. But for the more covert values that you don't realise are affecting you so much until you really shine a light on them. It's much easier with help.
There's a really great process here, on a website packed with free psychology resources which I did recently and consequently recommended to a client today.
How does this relate to your purpose?
Understanding your values, your strengths and natural abilities and talents as well as what inspires you can help you discover your purpose in this life. And to wake up everyday with a solid sense of purpose is what gives life meaning...
Lots of love,
*People thought the world was flat for ages.
P.s. Thank you to fellow coach Cassandra Micheal at Redefining Happiness for bringing this to my awareness in a powerful coaching session last week!