For many whose work it is to fully claim our lives as our own, who have a tendency to lose ourselves when relating to others, it is valuable to give our attention to deeply knowing ourselves.
Nicole S. Urdang, a cognitive therapist, wrote about a wonderful metaphor which I will play with in my own way for you to more deeply know the truth about yourself.
As humans, we can place our attention on what we're not doing that we 'should' be doing, our weaknesses, our limitations, what needs to change or be 'fixed', how we can do something better or how we can 'be' a better person. In other words, we focus on what's wrong with us instead of who we truly are. The foundational belief is "I'm not good enough", a belief that is common and encouraged by our culture in many ways.
Simply notice what floats to the surface as you read the following metaphor: Imagine a beautiful container - intricate, lovingly-made, prized. Allow your imagination to create your own container whether it be a bowl or basket or whatever else that floats to the surface. Within this container are fruit at various stages of being ripe - perfectly-formed and ready-to-eat pears, a brownish banana, grapes that are starting to shrivel, a lovely orange, a moldy apricot. You get the picture, and it's important to notice what you primarily see. Where do you naturally place your focus? If you were this image, what are you - the container or the fruit?
We can miss who we truly are. We think we're the fruit/behaviours instead of the beautiful and intricate container. With the second identification, we get that we are much, much more than how we behave, our specific skill set, our roles, our strengths and our limitations.
When we see ourselves as the container, we know that we have choice of putting our behaviours out to compost (notice there's no judgment here as compost is useful and part of life). We're less attached to how we express ourselves and more deeply grounded in accepting ourselves. We see who we truly are.
I begin each day reminding myself who I truly am -separate from the actions, feelings, body sensations and thoughts that come and go in my life. Who am I...really? It's a question that I explore so that I can be grounded in self-acceptance and self-compassion, both key components of inner confidence.
© 2009 Jeannie Campanelli, Inner Confidence Coaching. All Rights Reserved.
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Jeannie Campanelli, Ed.D, CPCC, partners with naturally-giving men and women who often put other people's needs in front of their own. As a consequence, they are not connected to themselves. Jeannie offers a free e-newsletter titled Notes on Claiming Your Life as Your Own to support you in feeling the serenity, vitality and wholeness that comes from inner confidence. When you subscribe, you will receive a free guided visualization to support you in your journey. Visit www.innerconfidencecoaching.com.