What Makes Me, Me?

This week on Exploring Mindfulness, we are privileged to share this guest post titled ” What Makes Me, Me?” by Max.

Max is a consultant for Point Above, a mindfulness and leadership consultant agency that aims at helping people and businesses with development into a more focused and productive entity. Through various courses and seminars, any person or company can be a more mindful leader. For more information, please check out www.pointabove.com!


 

What Makes Me, Me?

“It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.” – Dr. Seuss

Is it my nature, or is it my nurture?

Is it when I am the happiest, or is it when I am most sad? When and where does true learning take place? What makes me, me?

From my experience, being in close relationships with different people helps teach you about yourself. Spending a lot of time with someone can help you figure out for yourself what you are alright, great, and amazing at. They may even flat out tell you how and what they accept of you. I am talking about both sexual and platonic relationships. Friends, families, lovers, all of them can help you on your quest to be the best you.

Before I get into the meat of what makes you you, I must say this. I have no answers.

There is no quick fix to figuring out who you are. It is a lifelong journey; just try not to judge yourself along the way, because if you want, you can grow.

Who you are, is how you change, and more importantly, why you change. If you want to change for someone else, or to please other people, your “why” is not aligned properly with what you actually want in the end. You must want to change, for the sake of growing more knowledgeable about yourself. As Dr. Seuss said, it is not about what it is, it is about what it can become. What it can become is the part I am expanding on.

So how do we know what we can become?

Through knowing our strengths? Our weaknesses? Our fears? It is all of these, but the one that stands out most in my eyes is our vulnerabilities. How we change, is opening up our vulnerabilities to people, and hopefully, if they accept them, growing with them.

What makes you, you, is not only your vulnerabilities, but how you communicate them. Being open enough to say, “I am scared,” “I need help with something,” or even saying, “I’m sorry” is a way of saying that you have vulnerabilities and that you are open to share and change. This also means that you have trust in that person. How you deal with those vulnerabilities when they involve interacting with other people involves a lot of trust.

One’s level of vulnerability and transparency are key elements in who a person is.

If you are truthful with yourself about your vulnerabilities, and transparent to other people about them, people will find trust in you. This trust, will allow them to open up their vulnerabilities to you. When someone opens up their vulnerabilities to you, they are asking for help in return. Help to overcome what is holding them back from being fully open with themselves and with others.

My vulnerability, or at least my willingness to open up my vulnerability to people can backfire. Sometimes, I open it up to people who are actually unable to help me grow, unappreciative of the situation, or unreciprocated in being open. These times can be hurtful; for we lose trust in people we once thought were there for us. At the same time, it proves who is actually there for us, the ones that care and are willing to spend time helping you understand yourself more.

One cannot be too phased by rejection of acceptance. You must accept this and move forward with life. Although these are methods of dealing with others who don’t accept, there are no answers here that can be applied universally. Figuring oneself out is a natural process of humanity.

We must learn from our fears and vulnerabilities, and allow other people in, for the sake of growing.


 

 

Just a quick update

Hello readers of Exploring Mindfulness. I would like to quickly update you all. Life has been fairly hectic for myself lately, so I’ve been unable to find the time to write a quality post. I imagine things will slow down within the upcoming weeks, so you can expect content to be posted on it’s regular schedule!

There will be a new post coming up next week from a guest poster! Check back in on Tuesday!

Distractions

Anhinga

About a year ago now my illness first reared it’s ugly head. For a long time I was focused solely on my illness, and all it brought me for that long time was misery and strife. Eventually, I knew that I had to find an escape, a distraction. Without one, I would consume myself with worry and fear over my illness and what was to become of it…and me. Bird photography was my distraction.

Birds are beautiful creatures, able to escape this lonely world we live in and take to the sky. They are free and majestic, not tied to a place or person. But they are fragile too. In migratory birds, a few ounces of extra stored fat can mean the difference between life and death over the long journey. In other birds, a small mishap or crash can break fragile wing bones, and cripple the bird, taking away that beautiful form of transportation known as flight, a word which does not do the actual thing justice.

When I started taking pictures of birds, it was difficult, as many new hobbies are, to get a hold of exactly what I should be doing. My pictures were blurry, I was too impatient to approach the birds slowly, my hand shook (which was partly why my pictures were blurry). Slowly though, my photos improved, and the photo you see above, an anhinga, is one of my favorite shots.

Finding a hobby, or, more specifically, finding the right hobby, is difficult. But doing so offers much needed relief and fun, especially for those of us with a mental illness. Bird photography is my outlet, my way of releasing all the tension I have built up, of relaxing and enjoying myself. Everyone needs something that does that for them. Below, I have outlined a few tips for finding the right hobby for you.

  1. Think of where you are your calmest, or where  you have the most fun (e.g. the outdoors, in the garage, in the garden). Hobbies related to that place will probably appeal most to you.
  2. What job would you most like to have? Many of us have our dream jobs that just don’t live up to reality. Want to be an author? Write a book!
  3. What books or television programs do you enjoy? Like stuff about cooking or traveling? Then that’s what’s for you.
  4. If you could only bring one thing to amuse yourself on a deserted island (not a phone or video games) what would you bring? 
  5. Go to the store. Go to a sports, crafts, or music store and look around. See if anything pops out.
  6. Revisit old hobbies. Maybe have an old hobby you forgot about? Nows the time to pick it back up!
  7. Start out small. There’s no use investing tons of money into a hobby you don’t even know you’ll like. Start cheap and work up from there.
  8. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t great at it right away. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you won’t learn piano in a day either. Give yourself time and don’t let yourself get down, remember, it’s supposed to be fun!