In Articles by Kerri K. Yates, CPCC

OK, it’s February (I know!). We have all had a month to forget, ignore, put off, or enjoy our New Year’s resolutions. Please know that no matter where you are, it’s fine. We are all human. And that, my wonderful friends, is always a great place to start.

So today, let’s talk about you, about who you are.

You were born with a unique core self. This part of you was not an accident. It was designed long before you existed, and it was specifically formed. It is eternal and never changes. Your deep, true self is the same at birth, across your life, and when you go home.

Part of our job on earth is to identify our core self and then be who we were made to be. After all, our core self holds the answers we crave to big questions like “What is my purpose?” “What are my passions?” and “What would make my life feel more meaningful?”

As a life coach, I hear these questions over and over, and my reply is always the same: “Well, actually, you already know. You just need the tools to see.”

So here is tool #1. Click here for a worksheet to help you with this exercise.

First, we are going to start using the word want more.

Say the following two sentences out loud:

  1. “I want to lose 10 lbs.”
  2. “I need to lose 10 lbs.”

Did you notice how version A feels determined and optimistic and version B feels anxiety provoking and even defeatist from the get go? Version A is better because it comes from within whereas version B comes from someone or something else.

Using the expression “I want” forces us to look inside ourselves for direction. And when the motivation for our actions comes from within (that is, what we are doing matches who we are), we end up experiencing natural self-esteem and contentment. It’s a lovely thing.

Please know, however, that practicing at first will most likely feel awkward. Allowing outside forces to shape our desires is a common habit, and changing habits feels uncomfortable. Just keep at it. When it feels odd, trust your logical thoughts that know this is good, and eventually your feelings will come along.

Below are the key phrases that indicate you are living outside your core self:

  • “I need to …”
  • “I should …”
  • “I have to …”
  • “If I _________, then I will be happy.”

We are going replace all of these phrases with “I want …” phrases, even in the simplest of situations (especially in those).

For example, change “I need to go grocery shopping because_________,” to, “I want to go grocery shopping because________.”

Or change, “I need to call ______ today because_______,” to, “I want to call ______ today because I _______.” You could also turn this one into, “I want to call _______ tomorrow because I want to take thirty minutes to myself today instead of talking on the phone.”

Instead of saying, “When I lose 10 lbs. I will be happy because then people will think I’m more attractive and then I will be happy,” try saying, “I want to lose 10 lbs. because I will feel more attractive and I like that.”

Here is a place where being all about me is not only acceptable; it is necessary in order to be who you were made to be and enjoy who you are. Further, this practice enables you to have greater respect for others.  Consider that when we do something for others because we think they want us to and it goes awry, we end up looking at them unfavorably. In fact, it makes us sling blame as a self-defense tactic faster than you can say chocolate cake. For example, “I called her because I thought it would make her happy, but it didn’t. It’s her fault because she is impossible to please, and now I lost thirty minutes that I could have used to relax. She is so awful.” See what I mean? And who benefits? When your motivations are true and come from within, there is no need (or basis) to involve others in your analysis of whether something worked out well or not. You can simply reflect on what you chose to do and decide how you want to proceed the next time.

Here again is that worksheet to help you get started: click here.

I will ask about this exercise in my next post. In the meantime, be patient with yourself. Have fun, let me know how it goes, and enjoy being you.

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