Hi retirees and other cherished friends.
It seems that each one of us, at one time or another, has asked the question, “Who am I?”. It seems like a simple enough question; but many of us don’t really know who we are, what our talents are, what we enjoy and what we want from ourselves, and from life in general.
When we retire we have more time to ponder this question. But how do we go about finding out who we really are? Sometimes we are so caught up in trying to be what others want us to be; it is hard to separate our own desires for our lives from the desires of those who would like to tell us who to be.
Just remember, it is your life. No one else can live it for you. We only get one chance here on earth to live the life we want. If we let others dictate to us who we are or should be; there won’t be time to be the person God meant us to be.
I am not an expert in the art of self discovery, and remaining true to ourselves; but I do have some ideas that might spark your inner desire to find out who you are and what you want. Use my ideas to craft your own plan of self knowledge and self endowments.
What are endowments?
Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change. Stephen Covey
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/stephencov138246.html
Endowment (in philosophy) refers to the innate capacities of an individual, group, or institution. An individual’s “natural endowment” can be abilities, such as intelligence or strength, given at birth. An individual’s “social endowment” can be abilities attributed to the individual’s position within a social hierarchy.
According to Stephen R. Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, there are seven human endowments.
I haven’t read the aforementioned book; but I’m putting it on my “must read” list. Please don’t confuse my humble writings with the book written by Stephen R Covey, The Seven Habits of Successful People. I recommend you read it to find out what he has to say.
I am borrowing Mr. Covey’s primary and secondary endowments as a place to start our investigation of self awareness and self actualization. Other than the borrowed headings; the following are my own ideas and writings and not to be confused with his book.
Self awareness or self knowledge
Many people seem to fear cultivating self awareness and self knowledge; because they think it is being self-centered or conceited. In reality, we must know ourselves and love ourselves before we can truly know and love others. Asking the question “Who am I” is a start in the right direction.
Imagination and conscience
Imagination is a wonderful God given gift. We can imagine our future in great detail if we put our minds to it. Imagination is neither good nor bad; but we can use it for either.
That is where conscience comes in. God also gives us a conscience and when it is in proper working order; it will tell us the difference between right or wrong. However, if it is ignored over and over; like an engine that hasn’t been greased, it is not reliable.
Learn to use your imagination for good. Imagine what you want and how you will go about getting obtaining it. Imagine a better YOU. Then believe that you can achieve what you imagined.
Volition or willpower
There is not much good in imagining if we do not have the volition or the willpower to carry it through to reality. Volition and willpower are also God given traits.
Babies learn as they grow. They find out if they can do something by trying it. As they grow, restraints are put on that spontaneity, mostly for safety sake. But sometimes so many restraints have been put on us in the past; that we begin to think we can’t do anything. Or we have been taught that failure is a bad thing; so the more we fail, the less desire we have to try new things.
Failure is neither good nor bad in itself. It is what we make of it. We can take it as a defeat, and a reason to stop trying; or we can use it as a stepping stone or a learning experience, and a catalyst to go on to something bigger and better.
An abundance mentality
I’m not sure how Mr. Covey meant this; but here is my take. Some think that having more is better. The newest car, the best house, many possessions will make the person. But possessions are empty of life and will not satisfy for long.
The quest for more and more material possessions is empty and meaningless in the larger scheme of things. Greed has been the downfall of many people; and can take any of us to places we never meant to go.
God wants to give us abundance of peace and joy and make our life fruitful and satisfying. It has nothing to do with possessions or earthy status.
However, the other side of the coin is; that some think that there is no way out of the poverty they have always known. They see nothing in their future that will take them beyond the valley to the mountaintop. God can give hope, comfort and new life in this kind of circumstance.
Courage and consideration
Some people have lots of courage, and little consideration. Others have an abundance of consideration and not much courage. I think God meant for us to have a measured amount of each.
If we have courage; and little consideration, we will go after what we want; while running rough shod over others to get there. We may find it is an empty victory in view of the loss of self respect, and the inability of the material to satisfy.
If we have consideration of others, and always put others needs above anything to do with self; we may find that we will begin to resent those to whom we offered our consideration. This is not to say that we should not put others first. The Bible says that we are to put others needs before our own.
What I am saying is; we are God’s people too. If we don’t respect and love ourselves enough to do what we need to do; then we are not living up to our full God given potential. We need a healthy balance of courage and consideration.
God created us in His image. He is the creator; but he meant for us to be creators too. He gave each of us creativity in different areas. He put within in us a desire to create. If we haven’t allowed life and circumstances to stifle the creativity within us, we will be creative and create as God intended. See my blog for more on this subject.
There are times that life throws us a curve ball. Circumstances can occur that present us with a need to re-invent ourselves. Some circumstances that are life changing are: graduating from high school or college, marriage, divorce, job loss, health conditions, emotional breakdowns, etc.
We tend to think of some of these as endings; but they can also be new beginnings. We have the God given capacity to rise above disagreeable circumstances and begin a renewal within ourselves. God has said that He would give those who believe in Him a renewed mind; and that all things would become new. Allow Him to begin that work in you, and He will make you into the person He created you to be.
Ten questions to ask yourself toward answering the question”Who am I?”
What are my strengths?
What are my weaknesses?
What are my abilities?
What are my hobbies?
What makes me happy?
What makes me sad?
What angers or upsets me and why?
Who do I admire and why?
What are my passions?
What are my convictions and spiritual connections?
I hope this post has sparked an interest within my readers to begin a search, within their own lives, for the answer to the question, Who am I?. Self discovery and self actualization can be the beginning of a new and more fulfilling life.
Experiment by making up your own questions to ask of yourself. Begin to know yourself on a deeper level. Try to understand why you do some things and don’t do others. What is behind some of the emotion you feel? Look at the people you admire and decide what it is that attracts you to them. Is this trait something you could cultivate within yourself?
Please feel free to leave a comment or question in the comment section below. The thoughts and questions of my readers are important to me. I will be sure to comment in return.
At your service,