Five Ways to Be More Yourself in 2015

 Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo,  deathtothestockphoto.com

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo, deathtothestockphoto.com

As 2015 rolls around, I'm tempted to fall back into the same old resolution pattern: set a bunch of goals in hopes of being skinnier, richer, smarter, savvier, more productive, less busy, and don't forget happier. Just slightly overwhelming, huh?

That's what I think too. And I began to wonder, "Why do we typically stack our goals with a defined deficit or shortcoming?" How many times have your goals sounded something like these:

  • "I'm going to workout more because I'm spending too much time on the couch binging on Netflix."
  • "I'm going to eat healthier foods because I'm getting fat eating all of this holiday food."

The underlying message in the way most of us think about goals or resolutions is this: "I'm not enough as I am. I'm not worthy, until I make this change." What you're internalizing as you make goals like these are messages that say "I'm lazy" and "I'm fat."

Unless you're into the Jillian Michaels' style of motivation, these messages are already the ones holding you back.

It's a simple shift in perspective, I guess - a re-framing, that's what coaches do, isn't it? But what if our goals could be sourced from a place of "just right" rather than too much or not enough?

That's the question that led me to my favorite resolution ever: "This year, I'm going to be more me." No, not a better version of me, just MORE me. All of me, the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the shine and the shadow.

It's bold to say this, I know, but I'm starting from "just right". I'm exactly who I'm supposed to be and where I'm supposed to be on my life journey right now. Given my experiences, my mistakes, my insights, my regrets, my sorrow, and my joy - I couldn't have been at any different point on the path. Where I am right now, there's not "too much" or "not enough," there's just right for me. 

It doesn't need to be just right for you, and it shouldn't be. Where you are is just right for you. And what I'd like to be is more me, because I haven't always known how. Yes, that's right. I said it. It's now published (which means DOCUMENTED) that I am the woman who forgot how to be herself. And honestly, I'm not sure even now if I forgot or just never really learned. I've decided at this point in my life the distinction is unimportant. What is important is to acknowledge that being yourself is really hard work and totally scary if you don't know who "yourself" is! 

Just be yourself.
— Everyone

I have many issues with this flippant statement: "just be yourself." First of all, (and I'd like a show of hands here), how many of us really know who we are? I'm talking about REALLY knowing who you are: outside of the roles you play like mom, daughter, brother and the work you do like banker, pastor, or teacher. I'm talking about knowing what you're passionate about, what you like and don't like, and how you'd spend a Saturday afternoon if you had absolutely no limits or obligations.

People throw this language around all the time: Got a big date tonight? "Just be yourself" your friends say, "he'll love you!" Big interview? "Just be yourself, and you're sure to get the job." Using the word "just" in front of the words "be yourself" serves no one. 

If someone has the courage to know who she is and actually be herself, by all means do not insult her by throwing the word "just" in front of it like it's easy breezy. Knowing yourself and being yourself is the hardest work of your life. Being yourself is an amazing feat of courage and fearlessness never to be minimized. And if you are lost within yourself or on the path to self-discovery, that pesky little word "just" brings an air of insignificance to the big, bold journey you've embarked upon which I've often times referred to as the "hardest, most beautiful" thing I've ever done.

And, I think those of you who say, "Oh, I know exactly who I am. I always have," you're either the luckiest person alive or you don't even have a clue who you are - because you never stopped to ask. If, by chance, you are one of the fortunate beings who knows who you are and brings all of your amazing self to the world, I hope it's never belittled with the word "just."

Are you at the crossroads of "who am I" and "what do I even like to do?" If so, here's a list of five ways to discover or get back to the true you.

1. Ask yourself the first date questions. 

If you've ever done any online dating, you know what I'm talking about. What are your interests? Who's had an influence on your life? What are you most likely to do on a Saturday morning? Answer these types of questions with no intention of sharing your answers. This discovery is for you, and only you. So, let go of the idea of perfection or the "should" mentality and let yourself be completely honest.

2. Make something with your hands.

I must admit, I have no idea how or why this works, but it does. Getting busy with your hands and focusing on a creative task allows your mind the freedom to explore. Need ideas? There's a million and one on Pinterest waiting for you right now.

3. Listen for these two words: "I can't." Then show them who's boss.

Listen and pay attention to the things you say you "can't do" or "aren't good at." For me it was running. I would say it all the time: "Oh, not me, I can't run. Never been a runner." And one day, it really pissed me off. Why had I decided I couldn't run? I thought to myself: "Look at all these people running all over the world, and for some reason, I can't?" That was all it took for me. In that moment, I decided to learn how to run. What are you telling yourself you "can't" do? Get pissed off about it. Then do it anyway.

4. Make Top 10 lists.

This was one of the hardest and most transformative assignments from my first coach. She told me to make a list of all the reasons someone would love to hang out with me. Then she told me to make a list of all the things I wanted to do - my interests. You get the picture. Start a book of Top 10 lists about you: your favorite movies, things to do on a Saturday morning, and biggest dreams you're hoping will come true.

5. Ask yourself the "if only" question.

We all have them, the things we'd do "if only." A big one for me right now is a trip that I'd like to take to the Hike Inn. I've been waiting, postponing, and putting my wanting on a shelf: "If only I were in a great relationship, my boyfriend and I could go on this trip together." Go ahead and write down all the things you're putting on a shelf because of "if only." Then, look back at the list and consider whether or not the "if only" is only in your head.