Benjamin Franklin said, "There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self." Self-knowledge is a tricky business indeed and easily misconstrued. Saying, "I know myself, I just don't like cauliflower," has little to do with self-knowledge.
It is simply a preference, and preferences can get in the way of potential. It is when people push themselves beyond their preferences and outside of their comfort zone that they experience parts of themselves they don't even know existed.
It's why I say to my patients, "consider doing the thing that is 'un-you." It is a reminder that their lives are not set in stone and to open themselves up to new experiences. It is about saying "yes" to a new opportunity even when saying "no" seems so much safer.
I experienced this first hand last summer when my children were invited to a trapeze party. The instructor asked me if I wanted to have a turn and my knee-jerk response was "no, thank you." What an absurd question, I thought to myself. Swinging from a trapeze was definitely not for me.
But my children insisted and literally shamed me into doing it. I had no choice. I climbed up to the narrow platform, put my toes over the edge, clung onto the bar for dear life, and let go.
It was terrifying, thrilling and completely humiliating (I had a rather undignified dismount) but worth every second. Doing the "un-me" thing felt surprisingly good. It enabled me to fly above my expectations.
Challenge yourself. Break your routine. Don't let the person you think you are stop you from being the person can be. Never be afraid to reimagine yourself.
Embrace being "un-you."
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