The more you learn about yourself, the more there is to know.
It’s like reading a book that keeps adding pages as you go. Or like exploring a police box that gets bigger and more complex the longer you wander around inside.
You see, when you are blind to yourself, your needs, and your wants, who you are is lost under shallow layers of stunted simplicity. In this place, you can’t grow because you don’t know yourself enough to even know where to start. You are simply a reaction to or mirror of what happens around you.
That all changes when you begin to peel back these layers to let your true self shine through.
As you understand why you act and think the way you do, you can separate your identity from the expectations and perceptions of others. The more you free yourself from shoulds, from the views you’ve had of yourself that were spoken into you, from the trauma and shame you didn’t choose, the more you will grow.
This growth is a lifelong process. As you nurture yourself through self-discovery and self-mastery, you develop even deeper depths to explore. No matter how much you try and how many mountain top retreats you attend, you will never reach the end.
I find this to be a breathtakingly beautiful truth.
This idea came up during my counseling session this past week. As has happened so often, it was also a topic that came up on this week’s episode of the Hectic Podcast.
During Darryl’s discussion with Terri Lomax, this week’s guest, she shared how her traumatic childhood led her to develop a chameleon-like defense mechanism. She’d always had to become the person least likely to provoke abuse in every situation, so she never had the chance to meet and be her true self.
When she entered a two-year graduate program, she decided to intentionally pursue herself. She wanted to understand her identity, figure out what she liked and didn’t like, and learn what she needed to be happy.
So she decided to date herself.
Out of all of the ways to think about self-discovery, this one is my favorite. Getting to know someone, after all, is a fairly casual process. It means learning about that person when you get the chance. You don’t have to be intentional about it, you just have to be interested in the moment.
Dating someone, on the other hand, is a passionate pursuit.
You want to know everything about them, the good, bad, and ugly. You can’t wait to spend time with this person, often to the neglect of other people and interests. It means always looking for the good in them and being there to support them through any experience.
In the same way, when you date yourself, you make yourself a priority. You learn how to see your worth as independent of anyone or anything else. <tweet-link>Falling in love with yourself doesn’t mean narcissism, but treating and seeing yourself with the respect you should demand from others.<tweet-link>
Counseling has both introduced me to this process and helped me fall in love with that. It isn’t always fun, but it is exciting.
It’s also a journey that’s filled with hope. As I’m learning to feel more, to be more comfortable with who I am, life is a better place to be.
You will always have to live with yourself, so why not invest in making it a relationship that brings joy and comfort?
I’ve mentioned some ways to learn more about yourself in a previous blog, but there isn’t one perfect way to date yourself. Terri uses sticky notes with affirmations, gentle self-talk, and indulging her inner child. I’m learning to cultivate quiet to stop distracting myself from my thoughts, needs, and feelings. Darryl journals and meditates to work through and embrace emotions. All three of us go to counseling.
Find what works for you and make this pursuit a priority. That might mean blocking off time in your schedule to meditate or journal. It can also mean simply being more aware of how you’re talking to yourself or feeling in a moment.
Just make sure you’re prepared for the long run. Once you start learning more about the incredible person you are, it’s really hard to stop.
Get the full story here to learn how Terri and Darryl’s childhoods changed the ways they viewed themselves, how they are using these experiences to pave the way for others, and why feeling emotions is essential to the human experience.