The Greek said: Know thyself.
The most important relationship you will ever have is the one with yourself. It’s the longest one, too. So we’d better invest some time and effort on knowing ourselves.
Often, when I start to work with new clients, I notice that the biggest road block is that they’re working against their own best. They know what to do, but end up doing the opposite instead.
Some do it out of overwhelm, not having proper recovery systems available. Some do it out of rebellion, ending up going against tide in all wrong places (of which they usually are clueless). Some do it cause they’re denying who they are and how they operate best and keep ‘shoulding’ themselves forward.
I’m sure you’ve met the latter kind of people. They’re the ones always concentrating on what they should be doing or saying or thinking, but rarely doing it or saying it or thinking it.
In any case, it’s easy to start developing all kinds of strategies and tactics to get around those road blocks. However, none of the them will really work unless you’ve done the basics. Unless you know yourself.
For example, few months ago a client of mine told that he’d like to start saving. He had been doing it in different formats for years, still was, yet he thought he ‘should’ now start ‘properly’ saving.
He had all the reasons one would need to do it. And all the resources one would need to do it. We even created a plan how to go about it. But as we met later, he told me he hadn’t done it yet.
This time he had all the reasons one would need not to do it. All the resources (or lack of) one would need not to do it. And, above all, all the shoulds one would need not to do it.
Here are some of the shoulds, so you get an idea of what I mean:
- there should be at least thousands, preferable tens of thousands to put as the starter pot
- it should be possible to save at least hundreds, if not thousands each week
- and as that might not be possible to do weekly, the start should be moved until it should surely be possible.
Absolute nonsense, as you can see.
And as we know, it’s so easy to see these nonsenses for someone else, but we all have blind spots when it comes to our own actions.
The dark side of living only the ‘should’ life is that nothing rarely happens. At least nothing that we can be thankful for in the future. And when things seem to be stuck, it fuels only the self blame and more shoulding.
Whenever I notice that I’ve fallen into the shoulding trap, and things are not really going forward, I ask myself this question:
- What would I prefer to do instead?
Even the smallest of steps into the preferred direction count.
There’s so much less resistance in taking preferred action than in taking action one ‘should’ be taking (hint: it usually has to do with whether the guidance comes from inside or outside).
Therefore, the challenge this week, if you choose to accept it, is to do something that your future self would thank you for. Let’s say, for example, in three, five or ten years time.
What is there that you can now do that you will be thankful for later?
I have been decluttering. My friend bought some shares. One of my clients opened a savings account and automated regular transfer of funds to it. Another one reserved time for upcoming vacations by marking them in his calendar.
And if you want to dive a little deeper, when was the last time you spent time getting to know yourself? Really digging into who it is that you are (based on how you think, speak and behave, not on the ideal image you’d like to be)?
How about if we’d spend the next hour observing ourselves – just to notice how we respond to whatever happens within the next hour.
No judgement, just observations.
And if you notice something you’d rather change, ask yourself how is it that you actually would prefer that thing to be or your response to it to be.
Note! To observe does not mean inaction or staying still. Let life happen and observe while living it!