You are not an expert on yourself.
There’s no reason to be ashamed about it. Most people aren’t. Actually, most people are terrified of themselves. They’re worried that if they really spent some time with their honest thoughts and feelings, they wouldn’t like what they see.
We worry that we’re too much, and so we tone down who we are so that others will accept us.
We worry that we’re not enough and we’ll be exposed as frauds if we let our guards down for one second.
Again, there’s no reason to be ashamed of this. But there’s no reason to accept it either. If you’re going to become a real expert on any one thing in your life, it might as well be yourself! Once you understand yourself, you’ll be empowered to start changing the world as only you can!
If you’re serious about wanting to become a real expert at who you are, here are ten tips to get you started.
1. Give Within Your Capacity.
When you give beyond your capacity, you start to resent the people you want to experience your love the most.
The famous author and speaker Inyanla VanZant says that when you give beyond your capacity, you make the one you are giving into a thief. It’s true! They’re taking something that’s meant for you! Sure, you may give your time, energy and resources to them with good intentions, but those good intentions will slowly, subconsciously turn into resentment, because all your giving leaves you drained and exhausted. Whether it’s a friend, a business, or even a spouse, you end up giving to them way beyond what you give to yourself. That leaves you empty.
So, what is your capacity? Simply put, your capacity is the amount of love and affection you feel in your heart. When you stay within those parameters, you’re not exhausting yourself. You’re being honest about your own limitations!
2. Understand that Self-Full Is Not Selfish.
In the past, when you’ve called someone “full of themselves,” what you’re really saying is they are not full. They’re actually empty, and they’re desperately trying to fill themselves with recognition from other people. And believe me, when you’re trying to get other people to fill you up, you never, ever get full.
The truth is, being full is a good thing. Being full of yourself is a good thing. When you are full of yourself then you have overflow, and that overflow can give to others. But you can’t depend on others to fill you up. You’ve got to handle that part on your own, by recognizing your own value!
Your primary focus is to fill your cup first. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have plenty to offer to others. What’s in the cup is for you. What overflows out of the cup is for everyone else. Someone who is full always has something to give!
3. Feel Good Instead of Just Looking Good.
Let’s be honest. You get your value by how others think about how you look. If others perceive you as good, you figure you must be doing good.
It’s not just you. I know I’ve tried to control how others view me, because for a long time, how others viewed me gave me value. But you know what happens when your value is determined by others? You lose all sense of your own value, because you never take yourself into consideration at all!
Think about that for a second. You let other people determine your own worth.
If everything depends on what other people think about you, you ultimately stop mattering to yourself altogether. In fact, other people stop mattering to you too. If you don’t place any value on yourself, you can’t give any value to others.
On the other hand, focusing on how you feel gives you the ability to care about how others feel. When you’re focused on feeling good, you’re filling yourself up. You’re able to connect to others, because you know who you are.
4. Realize That Vulnerability is Power.
Vulnerability is the ability to be wounded. It’s what happens when you give others access to your heart.
Is it scary? Sure. All powerful things are.
Vulnerability is the ultimate bridge of connection. When you let your guard down and allow others in, you become instantly and intimately known, and being known is the secret to unlocking real connection with other people. The walls you are using to keep pain out are the walls that have kept love out as well. The experience of love is far greater than the pain and risk we might experience in being vulnerable.
When you become vulnerable, others start to become vulnerable with you. When you have someone’s heart you have access to everything. Vulnerability gives you access to everything you have ever wanted.
5. Work Easier. It’s the New Work Harder.
I grew up in West Texas where hard work was king, so it took me years before I started asking a few simple questions: “What if life doesn’t have to be a struggle? What if me doing what comes easy is enough?”
“What if what comes easy is the thing I was put on the planet to do?”
I’m finding out that doing what I was made to do doesn’t have to be driven by painstaking work and struggle. It can also come from passion, fun and ease. Doing what not what you’re good at? That’s hard work. Doing what you do best? That comes naturally.
The real question to ask yourself here is “Are you doing what you were made to do?” If what you do on a day-to-day basis is hard, the answer is probably no.
6. Reproduce Who You Are, Not Just Who You Say You Are.
The heart is a thousand times greater in energy than the mind. We reproduce who we are at a heart level, not who we say we are mentally. Your heart was never meant to be the slave to the mind. Your emotions were never meant to be under the thumb of your brain.
If you have kids, you know that this is true. You can give your kids all the good advice in the world, but who they will become is who you actually are. If you’ve spent your life as an angry, emotionally distant parent, that’s going to define their relationship with you—no matter how many good maxims you’ve drilled into their heads.
7. Rely More On Your Vision Than Your Sight.
Sight is a function of the eyes. Vision is a function of the heart. Sight keeps you trapped to what is. Vision gives you the ability to see what can be.
There’s an old quote that goes, “Vision gives you the ability to see what has never been seen, so you can do what has never been done.” When the eyes of your heart are enlightened, it gives you the ability to see the invisible and do the impossible.
Following your heart is often scary because you may not know where your financial provision will come from. But this comes from relying on sight! You don’t see how anyone could value your heart, so you assume that’s the unchangeable reality. But provision always follows vision! Take the leap of faith and become a modern day visionary!
8. Subtract What Holds You Back.
Pruning the tree produces the greatest fruit. A few choice subtractions to your life can end up yielding huge results.
The first subtraction is to take away identification with your function. Ideas like “I am my job” or “I am my role” are only holding you back. This is an identity that may feel like it keeps you safe, but it really limits your amazing potential. You are so much more than what you do.
The second subtraction is to break through your emotional pain. Usually, this pain looks like either anger or sadness (which is usually just anger turned inwards.) But below this anger and sadness is something incredible and beautiful: Your most-loved you! This is where your pure potential lies!
Take away the idea that your function is your identity. Take away your emotional pain. On the other side of these things is the only place to find the real you.
9. Accept Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself.
Brene Brown says “Acceptance the most compassionate thing you can do for yourself and the world.”
I have found that we almost never accept what is happening in our hearts. The moment you start to feel something that could be perceived as too much or not enough is the moment you separate and judge how you feel. We dismiss ourselves.
Could anything be more destructive?
Grasp this: How you feel is not right or wrong, good or bad. It just is! Acceptance is being OK with what is.
10. Take Inspired Action.
Think about a cobra. They don’t strike often, but when they do, they make it count.
Doing a lot of busy work keeps you from having the energy to take action when you really need to. And if you do take action, it’s not with the same power as the cobra. It’s an exhausted, defeated action because it’s just one more thing to do in a seemingly endless list. And so your life just ends up being an endless parade of half-assed motions.
Cobras take real action. Cobras take inspired action.
Inspired action produces so much more than just being busy. Limit the actions you take during the day to the ones that really matter.Go for the kill. Make them matter. Make them count.
These ten things probably aren’t band-aids, and they aren’t one-time fixes. You’ll probably have to come back and refresh your memory a few times but, after a while, they’ll become a part of your day-to-day life. You’ll be an expert on yourself. And, even better, you’ll be an expert on how to change the world!