Of all the promises I made, I did not make one to not make you work hard. What I am going to ask you to do, if you are willing, is probably going to be one of the hardest things you will have to do in this lifetime. It comes with only four sections, but if you are anything like me, getting started is the hardest part. The four parts are:
Part I requires the most work of your memory. First of all write down in your workbook everything you can think of of what you actually believe about life. Somewhere close to each belief you can put a check mark if you believe you gained this belief from your own experiences, or an X if you believe you heard it first from someone else, such as a parent, a teacher, a Sunday School teacher, or any adult in a position of authority over you at that time of life when you were encouraged to accept a belief without question. Do this for approximately 50 questions. If you are like most other people in this world, you should score close to 50/50 for the X’s. Now ask yourself why you still believe them. Has anything happened in your life that absolutely confirms that belief? Has anything happened in your life that has made you ask, is that belief real? Or has anything happened in your life that has absolutely contradicted that belief? The more beliefs you can write down and answer completely honestly will lead you to who you really are, the kind of person you are. This exercise is not a one day exercise, or even a one month exercise, but truly a lifetime exercise. It doesn’t matter if the belief is a major one like: Is there really a God who rules the world? to small ones like did Rudolph really use his bright red nose to lead Santa Claus through the fog? If you believe it, or ever believed it, write it down, mark how you came to believe it, and then decide if you still believe it. Your answers to these questions will tell you who you really are inside.
Part II asks you if you like the person you are, if you would want to be this person’s friend? Not everyone likes themselves, but if you give yourself the chance, you can make changes in your personality to make you like yourself more. When I did this exercise myself, I realized that over half of what I said and did was a lie; I was literally scared to tell the truth. But that was a result of my abused childhood. Once I understood that part of me, I was able to set up a pre-speaking lie detector. That means I try to screen my words and sentences before I utter them. Once spoken, words cannot be taken back. That was just one of the ways this process helped me. Another way it helped me was opening myself up to all kinds of new ideas that I never would have thought of before. Life became a whole new experience for me, the world a new world. All it takes is to understand yourself, what motivates you, what crushes you into the ground. I apologize if I am making this part of the workbook sound easy. But I’ve been doing it so long now it has become second nature to me. By the way, the more you like yourself, it seems, the more others will like you. Understanding yourself makes you smile with genuine joy, which will rub off onto others around you, and make them smile too.
Part III asks you to be yourself. How hard can that be? First of all, ask yourself how many faces you show to the world. You are one way with friends, another way with family. You are one way around men, then a totally different way around women. At school or at work there is still another you; and yet you can still change into someone new in a roomful of strangers where no one knows you. How many yous are there? For most people, they are a different person in every different situation, and then some. And if you have kids… I think you get my point. And, when you look around you purposefully, you see almost everyone else has as many faces as you do. Tell me, how do you remember which face to put on in each place you go? It’s easy, isn’t it, since you’ve been doing that since you were 5 or 6 years old.But which one is the real you? Succeeding at Parts I and II of your Who Am I? workbook helps you to find the real you, the inner you, the one you that exists inside each and every one of your faces. And wouldn’t it be much easier if you only had one face to show the world? It isn’t easy, I can tell you that from experience. And just when you think you have yourself down pat, someone from your distant past shows up, and you feel yourself metamorphosing right in front of them. Hold it. You are not that person anymore. You are you! And there is no one better in this world for you to be.
Part IV is the crown jewel of this tetralogy of tasks. You have found what you believe in, understood how your real beliefs changed your life, and learned to be one person, the same person, in all situations of life, no matter who you are with. Simple? I wish I could say “Yes,” but I cannot. Like a recovered addict who visits the place where his life was almost worthless, the people around you will not want you to change. While change, progressive advancement of your mind, is one of the most desirable states of life, if the people around you are not also changing, they are doing their best to make you go back as you were. That was one of the most shocking roadblocks I ran into once I had made my change, and it still happens to me today, especially with family. Some have watched you grow up from a child, while to others you have always been there. The likelihood is that you are not at all like you used to be. You speak honestly from the heart, you care more than you did before, you are more self-assured. You are the person they always wanted you to be, but never were. And now that you live like every moment is important, nobody knows you. And worst of all, you don’t know them. You are seeing them through different eyes for the first time, and all their habits and idiosyncracies that you pretended not to see before are magnified before your eyes. But you say nothing, look at them as normal, and accept that they are who they are. You might tell a trusted few how you came to make yourself over, hoping they will want to follow your lead. But they have to be ready, as you were ready when you found this blog and it called out to you. “Read me Read me!” You heard them and you responded. But very few people hear the calling. Life is a long and arduous journey, and no matter how much you want someone to see and do as you do, it will likely not happen. I don’t yet know what the end of Life is. but I do know there is not just one way to get there. We can help each other, as I hope I am helping you, but you must take your own path, and we must be ready to say goodbye when the time comes.