Finding yourself

  • xKorix

    Posts: 607

    Oct 01, 2007 5:46 AM GMT
    I've been hearing a lot of stuff lately how its very important to know yourself, such as your personality, strengths, weaknesses, etc...I'd like to know myself better. I kinda wish I could see outside myself to see how other people see me. I'm reminded when I see a person that is totally confident in themselves and give off a very strong personality, they feel very genuine. I then think, "What is my uniqueness and how can I show that to the world?" How have some of you find yours? Or is it something you create? What is it about you that you think makes you distinct from others?
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    Oct 01, 2007 5:33 PM GMT
    Think about what you enjoy doing, what brings meaning to you, and then set out to do it well. That's a good place to start.

    Bailey White, the National Public Radio humorist, wrote an essay some years ago about "finding herself." At the time, the big thing to do to find oneself, apparently, was head out to California. So she boarded a bus out of her hometown in South Georgia and headed west. But the bus broke down outside of Nagadoches, and she never made it, which left her wondering: Was her "unfound" self wandering about aimlessly out there in California?

    So she sent her unfound self a message in her radio essay. She said, basically, "I'm not coming. I've got a good job, I just put a new roof on the house, and all on my own, I have found the inner peace and serenity that comes with middle age."

    You, too, could go to California, I guess (if you're not there already), but it'd be easier if you stick to my advice in Paragraph 1. I honestly believe it's as simple as all that. Good luck.



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    Oct 01, 2007 6:45 PM GMT
    I think you may be mistaking an outward show of confidence for 'knowing yourself'.

    Don't get me wrong, confidence, even a little cockiness is a huge aphrodesiac...

    But knowing yourself is a process of deep introspection and self honesty that - IMO - few people really have the stomach for. Further, once started, it is not really a finishable process; it is more like an experiential journey - like life itself.

    If you are really interested in finding out more about your inner self, building your confidence at the same time, and trying to test yourself, try setting your own personal Paideia.

    May I also suggest beginning with a look at Shotokan Karate? There are many SKA/JKA Dojo's in your area.

    For more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotokan

    R
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    Oct 01, 2007 9:47 PM GMT
    I probably know myself fairly well and one reason is I am willing to experience significant emotional pain without trying to dull it with alcohol or drugs. I have been through more than one untreated depression and although they are hell you can learn alot about yourself (the good and the bad). I also listen to other people's criticism of me and instead of trying to dismiss it, I try and think/feel through where they are coming from and whether the criticism is valid. Sometimes it is and I try and change my behaviour.

    I think that is why my partner and I still have a healthy relationship, we have been honest with each other about how the other person's behaviour is impacting us. If you are a male that cannot open up emotionally to another male (pride maybe?) then you will find it very difficult to stay in a relationship.

    Finally age helps, if you still do not know yourself very well by the time you are in your 40's, then well good luck with life!
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    Oct 01, 2007 11:46 PM GMT
    What a great question! It almost feels like an exam question.

    I don't know that anyone ever knows himself 100% and forever, because we are always evolving, learning, experiencing and changing. Every time we reflect on ourselves and perhaps find a new insight into our beliefs and behaviors, that process of reflection changes us. Every time we have a new life experience...and we have them every day...we change and incorporate the feelings, sensations and thoughts that those experiences entail.

    On the other hand, your question involves an evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses. I don't think there is any question we can each do that at any given time. I am not trying to give an all inclusive exemplar here, but, can't you sit down and evaluate:

    1. How intelligent you are; and if lacking in certain areas in which you desire to improve, seek educational opportunities to do so.

    2. How confident you are; and if lacking in that area seek assistance? Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People". ToastMasters.

    3. How friendly you are? Practice: "Hello, I'm xKorix. What's your name?", with strangers. You'll be embarrassed for the first few hundred times, but it gets easier with pratice.

    For you to ask the question, you have to have areas in which YOU believe you are deficient. (It doesn't matter what I...or anyone else...believe your deficiencies to be.) You have to do the self examination. You have to determine the weaknesses. And you have to find or get help to find the tools that will improve the weaknesses.

    What are your life goals? Happiness? Wealth? Travel? A long term relationship?. You have to determine what will make you feel fulfilled and then evaluate how to get there.

    A lot of times we are not able to set our goals but must be alert for the opportunities that come along or just be at the right place at the right time. Back in the beginning days of the burgeoning computer industry, a lot of mathmeticians/statisticians/businessmen were at the right places at the right times and made tons of money. Sometimes it's just luck!



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    Oct 02, 2007 3:22 AM GMT
    Every question has two parts that interest me. The answer is one part and the other part is another question. The other question involves why the question was asked.

    I don't think who you are necessarily revolves around what makes you different. Much of who we are is what we have in common with other people. If you understand what you have in common with other people you can in part see what they might think about you. From one perspective though, it should not matter what other people think about you.

    Someone once said "Care about people's approval and you will be their prisoner." Being overly concerned about what other people think about you can prevent you from seeing things unbiased. If you want to learn about your own nature, you have to dismiss all judgment from others and yourself.

    Many revelations about yourself and others will come by not trying. If you can spot your own desires and expectations, and loosen your grip on those things, you will see things that you will probably not see otherwise.

    Here are a few more quotes to think about

    When you are content to be simply yourself
    and don't compare or compete,
    everybody will respect you.


    Can you deal with the most vital matters
    by letting events take their course?
    Can you step back from you own mind
    and thus understand all things?


    Hope and fear are both phantoms
    that arise from thinking of the self.
    When we don't see the self as self,
    what do we have to fear?


    Your life experience is maybe the most unique thing about you. It is like a fingerprint in which no two are perfectly alike. However, many times it is what we have in common with others that is the most comforting. It is the glue of humanity.
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    Oct 02, 2007 4:27 AM GMT
    When I was in my early 20's, a counselor told me that my personality type is/was better suited for eastern cultures. By American standards, I am far too aloof and introspective. In many eastern societies, however, those same traits would be considered both admirable and desirable.

    My point is that it's all relative.

    What's more, self-confidence isn't a constant. Everyone experiences the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

    ActiveAndFit's quote about becoming a prisoner of others' approval is a lesson that I continue to learn even at my ripe old age. I'll let you know when I cross that finish line. The key, I suspect, is to stay in the questions and continue on the journey.
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Oct 03, 2007 5:31 AM GMT
    I have never met anyone remotely like me! Man or woman. The ones I have dated have said the same. My Mother once told me she has no idea why I'm so different and unique from my 4 siblings. In my current relationship I was told that they know It will never get boring or mundane with me, also I'm not into drama AT ALL. Family is very important to me. I think it is equally important to like yourself as well as getting to know yourself. Change is possible at any age. As humans we have the potential to continually learn new information and process it. What you do with this information and how it impacts and shapes your ideals and developes the person you are after is totally up to you. I also have never met a happy ubeat person who is single for long.icon_smile.gif So glad I found one. I'm not a morning person and they are. So it helps lift my spirits earlier in the day then when I'm alone. I have been alone at times in my life by choice and I was ok, not in a panic to define myself by who I'm with. Some of those times are still some of the happiest I have known. A good relationship is just icing on the cake. Build and like your own cake. Happiness, success, and relationships will come!

    PEACE ALL--Mike3
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    Oct 04, 2007 2:47 PM GMT
    xKorixI kinda wish I could see outside myself to see how other people see me. I'm reminded when I see a person that is totally confident in themselves and give off a very strong personality, they feel very genuine. I then think, "What is my uniqueness and how can I show that to the world?"


    I go through the EXACT same thought process.

    I have undergone many personal changes, overcome several fears, and enhanced my personality over the past few years as I explored my personality, weaknesses, and strengths. Doing the following things have helped me out tremendously:

    1) Try new things. Experiment. You might surprise yourself with what you like or dislike and may even surprise others.

    2) Ask a good friend a question about your personality. For example, I've asked this question to a few friends: "Could you see me with a tattoo?" Those who knew me before I enhanced my personality would say "no." Those who came to know me recently said "yes."

    3) Work on overcoming any small fears you have.

    4) When you witness a personality trait / behavior that you admire, incorporate it into your own. It'll be small at first, but with repetitive tries you'll strengthen it and make it your own.
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    Oct 05, 2007 12:27 PM GMT
    ActiveandFit had summed this one up perfectly. I suffer from constantly needing other proples 'approval' or making sure I meet criteria not set my me. I must say something, today I celebrate the birthday of my mate who was tragically taken in a road accident almost 4 years ago. we had been friends for 30 years. when something like this happens, it makes you look very closely at why you're still left on the planet, what is your purpose, and who will care when you die? I have set out to make life as peaceful for myself and the people around me, and now value the close friendships I have here now, as none have ever spanned as long as that of my mate and me. you soon realise, your friends take you for all the good, and the bad, and are always there at the end of the day. knowing you have this support and feeling of 'belonging' truly makes you feel complete in so many ways. ask yourself, why are they drawn to you? why do they get on so well with you and what will they be saying at your funeral?
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    Nov 11, 2007 2:34 AM GMT
    "I'm reminded when I see a person that is totally confident in themselves and give off a very strong personality, they feel very genuine. I then think, "What is my uniqueness and how can I show that to the world?"

    ------------------------------------------------------

    It's a great question. Though I think several posters already nailed this one pretty good, I'll add my thoughts:

    First, I think a false confidence is just bravado, a cockiness that's transparent to discerning people. Someone like this isn't genuine at all.

    I find when I'm most "genuine" is when I'm most passionate about something. And it really doesn't matter what that "something" happens to be.

    Passion for it leads to knowledge. . .
    which leads to mastery. . .
    which leads to authority. . .
    which morphs into the "genuine" quality you speak of.

    That's why you -- and all the rest of us -- enjoy being around people like this. They seem real. And honest. Because they're speaking from the heart. That's passion.

    Passion without knowledge is empty. That's just drama.

    How do you find that uniqueness and, as you said, "show it to the world"? An earlier poster said it pretty well. To paraphrase: Find the things that you have a passion for, learn about it, get really good at it, even figure out how to make a living from it. I think that's the place where people are happiest.

    Who was it who said, "The only happy men are those who live their boyhood dreams?" He might be right.


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    Nov 11, 2007 2:40 AM GMT
    I strongly recommend this book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Personality-Types-Using-Enneagram-Self-Discovery/dp/0395798671/ref=pd_bbs_sr_3/103-2696056-6633434?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1194748715&sr=8-3

    It's both predictive of behavior and helps you make a roadmap to even better balance....

    Joey
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    Nov 11, 2007 3:12 AM GMT
    Great question!

    When I finally decided to really "find myself", I turned to my Native heritage and traditions. For me, the first step was a vision quest... followed by a lot of meditation and thought, a lot of time alone (by choice), and challenging myself on every level.

    The process is different for everyone and the degree of depth that one decides to go to is an individual thing... and its not something that's going to happen overnight or without dedication and work. Speaking from my own experience, here is my take on it...

    Before you can see yourself as others see you, you first have to go inside yourself and see what's there. You have to find your strengths and weaknesses, find your fears and confront them, and you have to be brutally honest with yourself about yourself. For me, the end result was getting to a place where I was self-sufficient... meaning that I didn't feel that my happiness depended on having a lover, that I know my limitations and accept them, that I know my strengths and embrace them, and ultimately that I love myself (not in a narcissistic way) for who I am... And I have tremendous self-confidence now.

    It makes a difference in the men I attract, the friends I attract, and the way people see me now.

    Good luck!
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    Nov 12, 2007 2:55 PM GMT
    My mother always told me that the only way I would ever be happy and have a good life is by losing weight. Anytime I have ever had something happen that I felt good about (which is rare) she would say "now you just need to lose the weight." She always told me the only way people would ever accept me is if I am thin. Then she wonders why I am so paranoid and completely avoid most social situations.

    I corresponded online very briefly with Mauricio Padilha. At 360 lbs. he was running a PR firm http://www.maopr.com with his brother. That's the kind of job I would kill for! He just decided he didn't want to be 360 lbs. anymore. But I imagine nobody told him that at 360 lbs. he wasn't allowed to have what he wanted. That's what I was told. Such messages really stay with you.
  • Laurence

    Posts: 942

    Nov 12, 2007 5:16 PM GMT
    Hi Chaser

    You need therapy to get it into your head that you can't let things told to you by your mother rule your life.

    Parents screw you up. It's up to you to get past the negativity and see it for what it is - poison, and move on.

    I read your posts and can't understand how you haven't seen through your mother's lies and tried to prove her wrong.

    You obviously admire the other big guy's attempt to not let his size stop him achieving. If he can do it, why can't you?

    Lozx
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    Nov 12, 2007 6:06 PM GMT
    Why should how we care what others think about our looks, weight, dress, etc matter?

    Is just being yourself to hard to ask? If people don't like you then great for them, they arn't worth knowing anyhow icon_biggrin.gif

    If your going to change how you act based on what others think then your just being dishonest to yourself. I have much more respect for an honest asshole than anyone who plays nice just to make friends or get laid.

    We spend to much time and money trying to "fix" our lives.
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    Nov 12, 2007 6:58 PM GMT
    Chaser, it sounds to me like your more pressing problem is psychological. Sure, it'd be great to lose the weight, but I can almost guarantee that losing the weight isn't going to solve the psychological/emotional problems. It certainly didn't with me.
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    Nov 14, 2007 10:04 AM GMT
    xKorix

    If you subscribe to the epistemic theory of the tabula rasa (blank tablet) then you don't so much as find yourself, but you must create yourself.

    Suffering helps. People aren't born with insight. It is something you acquire. The 12th century Sufi poet Rumi has been my most significant inspiration, (and Nietzsche of course) True confidence can easily be mistaken for egotism. Egotism is a sign of weakness. Egotistical people are usually more neurotic than confident. Don't be fooled. Let yourself become humbled by life. Don't proudly prance about like a little narcissist or histrionic- the most prevalent axis 2 personality disorders amongst gay men.

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    Nov 14, 2007 11:59 AM GMT
    Hmmm, you're putting Rumi and Nietzsche together? I can see a shared affinity for the aesthetic, the Dionysian, but I can't grasp their connection to Locke's tabula rasa. Say more?

    Incidentally, I went to Konya in Dec. for the Mevlevi sema some years back. A 12-hour overnight bus ride -- the apotheosis of luxury to Turks, it seems -- made the experience kinda grueling but it was pretty magical nonetheless. Of course, it's more theatrical than the actual practice of the dervishes -- sort of the way commercial flamenco differs from the the private version -- but I'm glad I went.
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    Nov 14, 2007 2:48 PM GMT
    Hmmm, interesting topic. Thanks for bringing it up.

    I can only speak for myself, but for me, "finding myself" began when I stopped trying to give (or force upon) people what I thought they wanted to see and hear from me -- be it my parents, peers, or teachers, or even my 'enemies.' And what's funny to me now is less the fact that this kind of B.S. progressed into my adult years, but more the fact that I never could understand why I was always so frustrated and angry with everyone around me... including myself! It never occurred to me that I couldn't be all things to all people (even the people I didn't like), and it wasn't until someone explained to me that as long as I was living to make someone else proud of (or even fearful of) me that I was never going to be satisfied with my own life, and additionally showed me that I was (at that time, anyway) the type of dope who believed he had to work ten times harder and be ten times better than everyone around me just to feel average! Once that was explained to me, that's when I began the process of trying to live for myself, and ultimately found out who and what I was and what I wanted to do with myself. The satisfaction and confidence you speak of, xKorix, came for me when I started living based on that concept.

    So, what is it about me that I think makes me distinct from others? Put simply, I have a much better understanding of where they let off and I begin.

    I don't know if that makes a damn bit of sense... but I hope you know what I mean.

    --SAHEM62896
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    Nov 14, 2007 4:17 PM GMT
    sahem62896I don't know if that makes a damn bit of sense... but I hope you know what I mean.


    I know exactly what you mean.
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    Nov 14, 2007 4:35 PM GMT
    ChaserBut I imagine nobody told him that at 360 lbs. he wasn't allowed to have what he wanted. That's what I was told. Such messages really stay with you.


    That's the problem - this is strictly your imagination. You have no idea what this guy went through, what he was told, what trauma he endured. You seem to be locked into this idea that because you went through early childhood trauma, you're unable to have the life you want - and you have not yet understood that just about everyone has a sob story. If I lived by how my mother raised me, and the messages she told me (both explicitly and implicitly) about my worth, my life would look very different right now. When I tell close friends about some of what I have gone through with my mother - the kinds of things she has done and said - they are shocked, angry on my behalf and usually describe her as "crazy." This has not stopped me from creating the life I want for myself. It has been incredibly hard work undoing the messages she imprinted in me - to this day, it can be a daily struggle - but it is worth it.

    Chaser, at some point you need to stop going out of your way to isolate yourself. From your posts, I imagine you look at people that seem to have it all or seem to be happy and think, "Well, they didn't have a mother who..." One step you can take is to stop thinking that! You would be amazed by the things people have survived, the lives they have created in spite of it all. Your story is not much worse than a vast majority of the world. You are not alone in your suffering. And as long as you continue to view yourself as alone, you will remain stuck. I think a great step for you would be group therapy since it will connect with you others and also make you more accountable for the ways you isolate yourself.

    Now imagine this: there are people who have not only gone through worse than you and not only moved past their pain to become happier people - but have also forgiven their parents! And, even more, have come to accept those early traumas as defining life experiences that made them who they are today! And acknowledge the gifts of their pain! Quite a different story than the constant suffering, eh?
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    Nov 14, 2007 5:33 PM GMT
    Maybe you're right. I don't know. She was doing it to me again last night and I was practically in tears.
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    Nov 14, 2007 5:37 PM GMT
    Next time, reach down into your loins and pull out your deepest "shutdafuckupbitch!" you can in your strongest LI accent.
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    Nov 14, 2007 5:44 PM GMT
    Or, failing that, hang up the phone.