In my preparations for different work engagements coming up I have been doing a lot of thinking about who I am. Perhaps you find that weird, I am thinking about who I am in preparation for workshops on stress and anxiety. It makes sense. Really. As I suggest in my promotional material my knowledge comes more from personal experiences than theory or book knowledge. So as my journey continues I constantly seek to understand who I am so as some small way I can help others.
The epiphany I have had lately is that I should be more accepting of who I am. In simple terms I need to quit wishing I was somebody else. Okay, maybe not somebody else but somebody different. Because if I am not who I am then who am I? That in itself just adds to the confusion. The point being that I am who I am and I have to accept that.
Continuously questioning who we are has significant negative effects on our mental health. It messes with relationships. It impacts our ability to work. It can become all consuming. And then what happens? It becomes our everything and we cannot experience anything. That reminds me of a quote that goes as follows. “Inside each successful person is a neurotic hoping to succeed before they are found out.” I can certainly relate to that.
Additionally we need to re-examine our expectations. I have discovered that unrealistic expectations often lead to future resentment and we know what resentment does. It throws us into that feedback loop from hell. Where we get down on ourselves for being a failure but then become upset because we didn’t want to get down on ourselves but then we did and now that just adds to our mental pain. Not helpful at all.
So we need to change our focus. We need to accept who we are and what we have. Reminds me of the serenity prayer; God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. . .”. As we do that we will experience an inner peace that will then help in building on the foundation of everything we are. If we find our minds wandering to what we think could be different think of the second line in the Serenity prayer. “courage to change the things I can. . . “. Know your limitations. Understand that some things are outside of our control or as the prayer goes, “wisdom to know the difference”. Trust me, when we are able to carry through with that we will truly be accepting of who we are. Life will be better.
In no way am I suggesting that there are not areas where we can grow and become better at who we are. I am merely saying that if we start from a base of acceptance we have a much better chance of attaining peace of mind and the ability to improve our mental health. As I have written about before we need to be intentional with ourselves. That simply means you are purposeful in word and action. It means you engage in life by making thoughtful and meaningful choices. It is worth the effort. Make it a good one.
“When you find no solution to a problem, it’s probably not a problem to be solved, but a truth to be accepted.” Unknown