October/November 2010

 Dear White Rabbit,

I feel like I don’t really know who I am or what I want out of life. Is this normal? I am 39 years old. I saw a therapist who says I need to learn how to take care of myself. But I don’t even know how to begin to do this. What did she mean? I was too shy to ask.

Linus

Dear Linus,

I gather this is not your real name but represents that feeling of uncertainty we all experience when facing the that big question ‘who am I?’ Then there is the challenge of what to do with this information about ourselves in terms of beginning a self-care programme.

Self-Discovery is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. It is about undertaking a metaphorical journey that turns our gaze inwards onto ourselves. It begins with us being curious and asking ourselves pertinent questions about our beliefs, assumptions and values about ourselves that have developed overtime and that now get in the way of our ability to take care of ourselves. They are self-limiting because we now find that they are no longer working for us.

Here is a list of the kind of questions you might ask yourself:

    What self-limiting beliefs, assumptions and values do I have about myself that effect the way I perceive myself in terms of my thoughts, my feelings, my behaviour and my spirit?
    What self-limiting beliefs, assumptions and values do I have that effect the way I respond to others in term of my thoughts, my feelings, my behaviour and my spirit?
    How can I reconcile the differences between my perception of myself and my response to others in such a way the address my needs to take care of myself?
    What are these needs in terms of my cognitive, emotional, behavioural, spiritual and financial health and well-being? Please note that needs are different to wants – needs are non-negotiable.
    What can I do to get these needs met?

An example could be:

I have always believed that it is important to be helpful. This belief, assumption and value has cost me my time, energy, finances and is now making me feel like a ‘doormat’. In order to address my need to have more time, energy, finances and feel empowered I need to learn to say ‘No’ in an assertive manner that makes me and others feel good.

Once you have identified what no longer is working for you and what you need you can set a plan in motion as to how to get it.

Please feel free to write to us.