Good morning my dearest wild ones!
Today’s post is the third post in the series on ‘How to Change YOUR Life’. There are 5 basic steps to changing your life that we will be discussing over the coming weeks, and learning yourself is the first one. This week’s post is about learning your gifts and struggles. In my last 30 days of boldness challenge update, I spoke about not being musically inclined but very science and writing-inclined. This does not mean that I do not have musical ability or I cannot make it far with my music, but it does mean that I will have to work harder to grasp musical concepts than my musically-inclined counterparts. Music never came naturally to me although I have always loved it, so it’s important for me to use my inherent strengths to offset my deficits in inclination. I am a very logical person and I like following rules, so when studying music I use logic and rules in order to advance. Knowing my strengths and struggles allows me to both cultivate my strengths and offset my struggles. There are 2 basic steps when learning your strengths and struggles that we will discuss: data collection and forming conclusions.
The first advice I would give when discovering your gifts and struggles is to learn your personality type and its description. If you have not yet read my post ‘Learn Your Personality Type’, you can click here. Learning your personality type is not important because it is like a magic 8 ball that will perfectly divulge all of your deepest eccentricities; instead it is a means for thought. There are some claims that a personality test will get wrong because you are unique and fabulous, but there are many things that either do fit you completely or very closely that you have never thought about in the slightest. Getting your personality type exacerbates thought; it gives you questions to ask yourself. This is very useful as you explore the wild extremities of your soul.
The concept of cognitive dissonance is revolutionary, and it is the reason why many of these questions are necessary. When our ideal self diverges from the reality of who we are, we either change our ideals to accept our realities or change the view of our realities to fit more with our ideals. Either way, our purpose for these changes is to reduce cognitive dissonance (the strain created by the disparity between your real and ideal self). Check out this video on cognitive dissonance for greater understanding.
Which of your struggles or even strengths have you buried to reduce cognitive dissonance? Which parts of your reality have you hidden in hopes to more closely resemble your ideal self?
We are digging all of those things up in this process. We are accepting ourselves for who we are and using this acceptance as the foundation for growth.
My uncle worked as clinical psychologist for many years, and he said something profound to me,
“There are 3 you’s. There is the YOU that only YOU know. There is the YOU that is shared between you and those around you. Lastly, there is the YOU that you don’t know- a you that only those around you are privy to.”
The shared you is the you that you are most familiar and comfortable with. This is the you that you have chosen to be. The other 2 you’s minimize your ability to choose, thus making these the ‘uncomfortable you’s’. These are the you’s that we are tapping into- the reason why you feel uncomfortable on this journey of self-growth and self-discovery. My first piece of advice forced us to encounter our first you- the you that only you know. This brings me to my second piece of advice which will bring us in contact the third you- the you that only others know.
Ask others about both your gifts and struggles; you’d be surprised what you learn. If you want to become your best self, you have to become acquainted with that third you. There is a wealth of knowledge that others have about you that you have never realized. Many times when you begin asking questions, people will see things about you so clearly that they assume you must know. They’ll say things like ‘but you knew that already’ and ‘of course’. It is from conversations with others that I realized my passion for health disparities, my inclination to give up on people, and so much more. It is so important to be willing to learn from others even when learning about yourself.
After you have collected the data on yourself, you have to determine what it all means. Remember, not everything people say about you will be true. Not everything you find in a personality test will be true. That is why this time for forming conclusions is so important.
Think about the information that you have learned about yourself. Determine what is true from what is false. Use your powers of reflection to develop a picture of your strengths and struggles that is inclusive of all 3 you’s.
Discuss what you learned about yourself. This can mean talking to a friend, family member, stranger, or even yourself. But most importantly, get your thoughts out there into the atmosphere. Use your words to reason through your thoughts and eventually make conclusions.
Couple these exploratory exercises with tangible progress by either listing or journaling.
List the traits that you have discovered about yourself and decided to be true. You can then use those traits to determine your strengths and weaknesses and list those too. Remember, lists do not have to be bullet points, they can be mind maps, or doodle lists, or whatever works best for you.
Journal about your discoveries. While journaling, take all of the information you have learned and boil it down to your strengths and struggles. Do this however you’d like. Maybe you like separate little notes around the page or traditional journal entries, but however you do it, tailor it to how you learn best.
I really hope you guys learned something from this post, and it is able to help you along this journey to becoming your best you!