Have I discovered my ideal-self? What do I want for my life? Simple questions right? Wrong. I cannot begin to tell you how many people have expressed their disillusionment to the answer to these questions. Most people live incongruent with their “ideal self.” Many listen to a voice who told them you would make a good, “fail-in-the-blank;” attorney, engineer, architect, doctor… There are just as many who heard a voice who said you aren’t very smart, you’re never going to get to college, you’re nothing but a cry baby. This is the voice of dissent; the inner voice or judge or inner critic are names given to this voice.
The Pygmalion Effect
The problem is made worse when when we decide they’re right. The principle here is called the Pygmalion Effect. This action becomes our “ought to.” Parker Palmer in, Let Your Life Speak, says it best:
The figure calling to me all those years was, I believe, what Thomas Merton calls “true self.” This is not the ego self that wants to inflate us (or deflate us, another form of self distortion), not the intellectual self that wants to hover above the mess of life and clear but ungrounded ideas, not the ethical self that wants to live by some abstract moral code. It is the self planted in us by the God who made us and God’s own image – the self that wants nothing more, or less, than for us to be who we were created to be. (1)
Discover Your Ideal-Self
This is the stuff that answers the question, “What do I want?” Before any of us can move to understand the answer to this question we must do the hard work of understanding our past and how it is messing with our current state. The real question should be, “Who am I?” And a subset of questions from a previous post:
- What 5-10 things from my family do I most admire? Make me angry?
- What 5-10 things do I most admire from the people I love the most?
- What are the top 5-10 good things occurred in my past? Bad things?
- What 5-10 things do you learn from your free personality assessment?
- What 5-10 things make you angry? Frustrate you?
You may be able to process all of this by yourself. You may even read some books that will lead you to understanding how to build a life plan. However, if you are like many who need someone with a fresh perspective, insight and accountability then you may be ready for a life coach.
There are even self help books, many of which I am a fan, that direct you to greater effectiveness. But until you identify your core essence you will only be living up to the expectation others have created for you.
How do I know this? Because I lived it, and no one knows me better than me except my Maker. For many of us we don’t discover our core essence until we are at mid-life. Some call this a mid-life crisis. This is the time when we realize there is the giant hole of dissatisfaction in our self. This is when we dread going into work on something that seems pointless. This when we realize there is a giant hole of unmet passion. This is when our stress levels are off the chart because our work is no longer fulfilling.
If you haven’t downloaded my free workbook that will help you address your past, click HERE.
Until next time, in the words of Garrison Keillor, “Be well, do good work and stay in touch.”
(1) Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak, 68, 69