Tuesday, September 17, 2013

To Know Yourself Is To Express Yourself

If you ask most people what matters most, physical appearance or one's inner character, the common answer will be "It's what's inside that counts". And, I couldn't agree more. However, in today's fast paced and competitive world, first impressions are more important than ever. So, if what's inside is what matters most, how to express that outwardly would be an important thing to understand. But, there's another important reason to present an authentic image. And, that's for yourself.

Your image not only represents to others your character and values, it is a form of personal empowerment, too. Truth is, we often ignore the steps necessary to create the experience of personal empowerment through our dress for the sake of fitting in with the role and expectations we've assumed others have of us. Not only will this sabotage your ability to represent to others what is unique and important about who you are. It weakens your own self confidence.

What are your strongest personal characteristics? Those you most appreciate in yourself? Those you most want to express and to contribute to others? If you've never made a list, literally, then how can you be absolutely certain when you are expressing your Truest Self.

It's interesting, I think, that the term, "taking inventory of ourselves", seems to be so much about identifying weaknesses and things we need to work on. And, though we may do so with little deliberateness, most of us have come to think of identifying our failings as a way of motivating change. But, setting our minds on changing without bringing just as much consciousness to our strengths and positive personal characteristics will just perpetuate the notion that we need to change without ever learning to accept those traits within us that only need to be expressed. Not changed.

Making this personal profile is one step of a process of learning to acknowledge the person you are committed to being. And, by association, effecting your circumstances to be a greater reflection of what you want in your life.  You might call the act of making such a list a catalyst for the movement and personal growth that lies ahead.

This list will be as unique from anyone else's as a finger print. And, just as no finger print is better or worse than an other's, nor would your set of personal characteristics. Wouldn't it be great if we could all be true to ourselves around each other? Rather than posing or pretending to be someone better or different? We could all experience our Selves and others being authentic, humble, and as accepting of each other as we've learned to be of ourselves.

So, here's the way to do this.

Sit down in a comfortable position with a journal or legal pad and begin making a list of 50 single words, or adjectives; Personal characteristics you consider true to who you are. Those you think of as positive. Go at whatever pace you want. This could take an hour or more. There's no rush. This is not about how fast you can do it. It's about giving yourself the time necessary to be thoughtful and honest. You could even make it a nighttime exercise. Writing a few words a night till you get to 50.

The next step, to be done with the same intentionality, is to reduce the list to 25. These would be the 25 adjectives, out of the 50, that you believe most represents personal characteristics that you want your relationships and circumstances to be reflective of.

Sit with these 25 characteristics for a week. Share them with others. Read them nightly. And think, as you do, how they might contribute or be contributing to your relations and circumstances.

After a week of this kind of reflection narrow those 25 down to 10. Highlight those you believe will most empower you to be authentic and positively impact your relationships and circumstances and, ultimately, contribute to creating those relationships and circumstances to be more fulfilling.

Again, sit with these 10 characteristics for a week. Share them. Read them nightly. And think, as you do, how they contribute to, or will contribute to, greater satisfaction within your relationships and circumstances. These ten words represent your personal qualities and characteristics that will empower your ability to be authentic. And, by committing yourself to bringing them forth, not just in the way you dress but in all ways of self expression, you will find greater self confidence, self acceptance, and acknowledgement.

Give me a call if you want to prioritize your list or want support in being more authentic in your self expression.