In a world filled with massive amounts of data it can be difficult to decipher which information is important to cling to and which facts and figures can be tossed aside. Since graduating high school I’ve never found myself turning to the Quadratic formula to solve my problems, though to be fair as a history major I really didn’t have many math classes. I haven’t utilized my thesis paper written on Galileo and his relationship with the Medici family in Florence, Italy and I can’t imagine the hours and hours of research I put into writing it will come in handy again. Collecting knowledge is a good thing! However I believe we have a tendency to get so wrapped up in gaining the insight and knowledge necessary to “get a good grade” or “finish the project for your boss” that we neglect internal reflection.
Knowing yourself and what you need to be happy and well is critical to all other success. To be the balanced, gorgeous, brilliant girl I know you can be there are a few key points you need to recognize about yourself. Take a few moments to “read your mind” and figure out who you are, don’t be afraid to highlight when necessary (;
1. Her Values
It’s difficult to bring up the topic of “values” without sounding like a Sunday school teacher or your conservative grandmother, bear with me for a few moments as I continue to venture there. No matter how open minded we are, we all have values. Though I don’t align with most traditional values regarding family life, gender roles, or relationships I know what guides me morally and I stick to my beliefs (not to imply I have never made mistakes). I feel very strongly about women’s rights and have been known to storm off from dinner with my family in heated debate with my brother because it makes me so emotional. I know I value education and personal expression very highly but don’t really care about premarital sex or gun rights or whether or not artists are fairly compensated on Spotify (sorry, Taylor! Love you, mean it). You don’t need to have opinions on everything, especially if you’re formulating an opinion just to formulate and opinion but you do need to know where your values lie.
Defining your values and consistently questioning them makes you a dynamic person of substance. If you don’t define your own values and beliefs it becomes easier for the world to manipulate you. I promote being open-minded and allowing new experiences to evolve you but there is a definite difference between being open-minded and falling for anything. Know where you draw the line, know the issues that matter to you!
2. Her Limits
I know we’re all supposed to reach for the stars, defy all limits and come out ahead against all odds to surprise all the haters who thought we would fail…and we will but…we all have real limits. Even Taylor Swift has limits and even her long super model legs can’t defy them, I know, weird right?! For me recognizing my limits means taking note of the arenas in life that cause me to be a person I don’t want to be. For me that means not allowing myself to EVER (yes, EVER) look at a boyfriend’s ex on social media because I don’t want to fall down that crazy rabbit hole. I know I’m a total stalker. I’m a pro stalker and I don’t want to fall into that trap so it’s become a limit. I can’t ex stalk at all (mine or his) because I don’t want to be that girl.
Limits go beyond insta-stalking though. Maybe your limits mean identifying the point when “enough is enough” in a friendship or relationship or how many tasks you can take on before you become a raging ball of stress or how many doughnuts you can realistically say “yes” to while still maintaining those Tay Tay supermodel legs. Knowing your limits allows you to harness power, by knowing what you can’t handle you are creating an environment that allows you to be the best you can be.
3. Her Mind
We all spend time introspectively in our own minds but I don’t believe the average human spends nearly enough time there. Life gets hectic; when you’re rushing from spin class to the office to your photography class to a dinner date and then home to finally crash at 11:30pm it can be difficult to set aside time to really reflect on you. As silly as it sounds I highly suggest setting aside time to meditate and reflect on who you are. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What is your learning style? What type of intelligence do you possess?
Recognizing where and how you excel will allow you to channel that strength and energy intentionally with a purpose. Realizing all of the qualities that make you incredible will help you to really utilize them in your daily life. It doesn’t matter if you’re incredibly articulate if you don’t realize your verbal intelligence and strength in written communication you won’t volunteer to write that proposal for your boss. Who knows what sort of opportunities for growth and accolades (and promotions) you’re missing out on by remaining naive to your own pretty little mind.
4. Her “Love Language”
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made when it comes to relationships (romantic or otherwise) is assuming that other people give love the same way I give love. I am very much a “words person” (shocker right?). To show love I write love letters, leave cute little notes and ramble on about my love. For a long time I assumed if someone wasn’t giving me love with “words” that they didn’t feel strongly. Many times I failed to take into account the other ways these people demonstrated love (quality time, touch, handling little chores and responsibilities for me, gifts, financial support, etc). It wasn’t necessarily that I didn’t appreciate hugs or presents or someone cleaning out my car for me-I just often failed to recognize that it meant “I love and care about you” because I am so word oriented. Likewise I’ve been guilty of giving one-sided love! I said the right words but haven’t always “walked the walk” so to speak. If someone needed a different love language I wouldn’t have satisfied that need.
I’m not advocating that every girl run out and read a bunch of self help books on love and relationships (though I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt) but rather that you take few minutes to evaluate what you need from a friend, partner or parent to feel loved. You’ll save yourself a lot of hurt feelings and frustrations later if you are able to articulate your desires. Now I can vocalize to my boyfriend that I need to be told I am loved and cherished and it naturally opens a dialogue regarding his needs. Everyone feels happier when their needs are met, no?
5. Her Vision
I put a great deal on living intentionally and the reason is entirely based on my vision for life. As I mentioned previously , I don’t necessarily care if I live in a house on a hill and work at a law firm or tech start up or fashion house but I do have a vision. Knowing who you want to be and the direction you want work towards is not only liberating it’s vital! If you don’t know the direction you want to head in for your career find something else to work towards passionately and tirelessly while you’re figuring it out. For you that might mean volunteering at a hospital, spending 3 months backpacking through Asia or simply giving yourself time every day to work on a creative project. I can’t tell you what your vision should be but I can tell you you should have one.
When I need a little clarity identifying my vision I like to create an “inspiration board” filled with quotes, photos and other pieces I find inspirational. I’ve found that by dissecting the people and words I find motivational I can thus pin point the qualities, lifestyles and achievements I admire. I admire Taylor Swift (who would have guessed?) and though I don’t have any interest in a career as a singer (and thank god because I’m tone deaf) my affinity for her has caused me to ponder what it is about her that makes me like her so much. I realized that I admire her dedication to her friendships, her generous heart and the fact that she is authentic to herself and her brand despite constant criticism. Though I won’t ever be Taylor Swift I can emulate the qualities I admire in my own life and career.
What do you believe is important “self knowledge”? Do you continuously check in with yourself as you grow and change over time?