Be True To Yourself

    Professional coach, Betty Mahalik sends out in her communications, a brief note about the importance of “Know Thyself” in our own lives.  She makes the case that unless we know ourselves our professional and personal effectiveness can be severely damaged.  Betty suggests that we could ask ourselves simple questions, and answer them honestly, as we move to know ourselves better.  Three of the questions she poses for her clients are:  “1) What are your values?, 2) What do you fear?, and 3) How do you think you’re coming across to others?” She does go on to add the phrase spoken by Polonius in Hamlet – ‘To thine own self be true.’  Could it be that this second phrase dictates that we do not deceive ourselves – that we do not mis-represent ourselves?  
    I have met people (all of us have) who mis-represent themselves over and over again. Rather than putting forth an accurate and true picture of themselves, these people choose to state the most negative things about themselves and we are left to wonder if they really mean those things or if instead they might be trying to manipulate our response to them.  We hear someone say, “I’m just too fat!”  How are we to interpret that and how shall we respond?  Is it possible that this person would have us say, “Oh, you’re not too fat!”  Or, “I just can never get things right!”  Really?  Never?  Or, “I’ve always had trouble meeting people!”  Hmmm!  Am I to agree with you?  I’m sure you get the picture – what do we gain by frequently (or all the time) putting ourselves down in these ways?  This pattern of self-depreciating can result in our being judged dishonest, unaware, manipulative, and/or unsure of ourselves.  This pattern might also affect people near us to wonder what we are to make of this self-destructive talk.  And, it may be that those around us know that what we’re proclaiming about ourselves simply is not the truth – that in fact, the other is not ‘. . too fat.’, or does not continually get things wrong, or actually functions very well in situations where meeting others is necessary.  By serving as your own judge, jury, and executioner, you might be inviting failure, or worse – isolation from people you want to be near.  And, your predictions may become self-fulfilling prophecies – you may become what you believe.  Is it possible that we are often harder on ourselves than others would be on us?
    Now, if any of that sounds like you, some change could help you become more effective in all of your life’s elements.  What if, for example, we could start by being more kind to ourselves?  This does not assert that you must over-state your strengths and positive aspects – just ‘Know Yourself’ and ‘To Yourself be True’.  Leslie Michele who posted a blog on changing from being overly negative to realistically positive suggests this as a starting place and I agree with her invitation:  “Could you start now?  Right now.  It is never too late! I challenge you to make a list of all of the super awesome things about yourself! Have fun with it, and remember “Know Thyself”  and “To thine own self be true”.
    Once again, I leave you  with the Nike slogan:  JUST DO IT!

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