Who can know you better than you?
Self-Care is kind of an art. Yoga is an art. Living well is an art. And to get it right, you kind of have to study. I mean, not kind of…you HAVE to study.
Svadyaya is a sanskrit word meaning Self-Study. Understanding the Self – the YOU – is imperative to understanding how to take care of YOU. If you don’t know who you are, what you like, what you don’t like, what your tendencies are, what your potential is, what your emotional state is, then you can’t really formulate a map for becoming all you can become. And taking care of yourself begins with accepting yourself and loving yourself as you are, but also wanting the best for yourself.
Each of us is born with a certain set of genes; we have a certain personality – unique to ourselves – and we are “created” to be in co-creation. We start out fine, although completely dependent..crying to have our needs met, and then being molded into whatever our parents are capable of molding us into. Sooner or later, we are trying to become something we’re not to keep up with the expectations of anyone other than God and ourselves. We fumble our way through junior high and high school. We get really intellectual in college thinking we know everything. Then, we get hit with reality in the “real” world as we work and strive to “get ahead” so we can have what our culture tells us we should have, how we should look, and who we should be.
My point is, along the way in life, some of us lose ourselves. Practically none of us is really emotionally healthy by the time we leave our family of origin. There’s so much dysfunction and even if there isn’t, society is so crazy that we can hardly make heads or tales of what’s right and wrong anymore. It seems that anything goes these days, so we can get caught up in confusion over the littlest things.
Reality is the only way to go. And Self-Study is a course in understanding the reality of who YOU are. It requires asking many questions of yourself and taking the time to examine your beginnings, your mistakes, the wrongs against you, the wrongs you’ve done to others, your personality tendencies, your strengths and your weaknesses. It also asks you to consider your natural gifts and talents and how you
can best serve. At some point, you need to ask yourself, “Who Am I?” and go deep to discover all that is you.
Here are 3 ways you can get to know yourself better:
1) Take a Personality Profile
There are many personality profiles in the marketplace. There’s the DISC profile, the Meyers-Briggs, the Enneagram and more. These profile questionnaires are designed to highlight what your basic tendencies are in personality with regard to your emotional, intellectual and instinctual sides. Once you complete a profile and know your own tendencies, you can understand how you might react or respond to certain
other personalities. Companies often use these profiles to determine whether or not to hire someone based on their ability to fit into the corporate structure. Or, they might use them to strengthen the communication model in their work environment. If you can view your tendencies without judgment and just understand that you fall into certain descriptive personality types like everyone else does, you can seek to shift and adapt more easily to the various environments in which you find yourself. Research online the various personality profiles and choose one to pursue. You can find the Enneagram in book form on Amazon.
2) Spend some time alone.
This is hard for some people to do. Most people do not enjoy being alone. In fact, many are afraid to be alone because they wouldn’t know what to do with their time if they were alone. But it’s very important if you want to learn what you value and what you’d do with your time once you are “forced” to decide on your own what will make you happy.
Have you ever considered going to a nearby resort for a night or two just by yourself? I have worked at a resort for over 10 years and every now and then a woman comes in and tells me she is on her own for just a couple of nights. She brings a ton of magazines, the book she is reading and spends time doing what she enjoys. She might get a massage, order room service, lay by the pool or take in a yoga class. This time away is precious. It can make you think about your life, get some clarity and find some much needed peace and quiet. This can be a very restorative time which is good for your body, mind and soul.
3) Begin a meditation practice.
Meditation can be as little as 5 minutes or as long as an hour. The length of time is not important, except that the longer you allow yourself some quiet time, the more you can allow your mind to rest. The mind needs rest from the incessant chatter that is your natural mind.
You can find lots of information on meditation through the internet or by reading books on the subject. The goal is to sit quiet long enough to hear your own heart. To quiet the mind so you can feel and open your consciousness to get clarity and creative input. If you do this long enough, you can get closer in touch with who you are and the things that truly matter to you. But start small. 5 minutes, then 10, then 15, etc. Do not let the quiet intimidate you. Simply observe what is happening and without judging, notice and move on.
Feel free to journal – take notes on what you experience. Get to know yourself by writing about your personality traits, your experience of being alone or what thoughts might have popped into your head while meditating. You will be surprised what you learn about yourself when given these small opportunities for reflection.
There is a better way to exist. It’s in the knowing. It’s in the understanding that regardless of your background or experience, you are worthy of being here and being loved. You deserve dignity. We need to earn respect but we don’t have to earn our existence. We’re here! Life is short! For healthy living, we must come to terms with who we are. It’s the first question in the life-long journey of
self-discovery and is critical in feeling worthy of Self-Care. Internal peace comes from accepting yourself just as you are and engaging in things that bring you more joy.
Once you have deepened your relationship to yourself, you will feel super confident about doing the things that keep you content and even serving in capacities where you can make a difference in the lives of others. Taking care of yourself is important, so get to know yourself; get to love yourself and get to doing the things you love to do for you!