So many things influence us in life. In our early years, when our core belief system is developing, we are by far the most impressionable. When asked about the values and principles that steer you in life, many women sometimes freeze and struggle to answer this or cannot put it into words. We operate on autopilot so often that many of us rarely reflect on this. One of my favorite quotes is “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Some of us go through life blindly, not really knowing why we do the things we do, not caring to explore, not realizing the effects that we have on others. I find it a truly amazing opportunity to know myself and to reflect and continue to reflect at different points in my life on just how I came to be me.
To help with this I will do a simple exercise where I ask the ladies to think about those early years and the messages they received from parents, teachers, books and movies to help them begin to explore this. One of my strongest values is that of fairness and equality. Another is to always stand up for what I believe is right. I can remember in my childhood a movie called “The Legend of Billie Jean.” I loved this movie and would watch it over and over again. Now on the surface it can look like a bunch of kids breaking the rules, running away, doing all the wrong things. But, the real message for me came through the main character, a young female, who was standing up for her brother and herself after being wronged by a man in their community. The mantra was, “fair is fair” and it sent a message about how when wronged we can stand up and fight for what is right no matter the cost. This was also paired with a Pat Benatar song, “Invincible” which spouts a similar message. When you stand up for what is right you always win because you are being true to yourself, even if the world isn’t always fair and equitable.
When you are feeling lost and like there is this confusion about who you are and what you value, this is a helpful exercise. Now it may be that this helps you to see not only those values and beliefs that have served you well in life but also those that might be a part of why you have felt so damaged and broken in life. It is best to take this journey with a trusted other who can help you to safely embrace, confront and/or create a new belief system, as you would like to have it now. This is how we tap into our gut and really create changes that can last a lifetime. Be brave and experience the joy of knowing your self.