Do You Know Who You Really Are? Ask Your Six-Year-Old Self

Who you are a lot of the time is a reflection of what other people have told you.

It's always really important to be able to tap into your childhood even if it seems difficult.  The problem people have nowadays is we're so instant-oriented that the idea that it could take a few weeks or months of using a journal or a therapist or talking with someone just seems outrageous. 

As you move through life you constantly need to return to that sense of who you are so you can judge "Okay this crisis that I'm facing is it really important?"  Does it really impinge upon who I am?  Do I need to take this sort of possible crap job or this job that offers a lot of money but isn't necessarily who I am?

Knowing who you are is such an important skill in life.  Nobody really talks about it like a skill.  So I would not try to bypass that process of going into your childhood and figuring out who you are.  When I do consulting with people now and then, I'm doing a bit less of it these days, we spend several days, weeks, trying to go back and remember certain things.  There's traces there it's not completely buried.  But then there's also signs of stuff in the present.  So there's going to be subjects and activities that still elicit that kind of childlike excitement in you.  If you aren't experiencing that with any subject then that's kind of sad or a little bit troubling.

But there are people like that but there's still going to be things where you open the newspaper, you get online, people bring up a conversation and your eyes light up and you want to hear about it, you want to read about it.  I know for instance for me there's certain subjects that really get me going particularly about early humans.  When I look in the newspaper and I see an article like that there's going to be something the same for you.  Also you want to look at things that you hate, that repulse you about the world or jobs that you really disliked.  You want to think about what is it that I disliked about it.  You want to get in touch with who you are that's why I'm telling you to go into the childhood thing.  Because who you are a lot of the time is a reflection of what other people have told you.  Your parents, your friends, you don't really know who you are.  But when you were young, when you were six, seven, eight years old the fact that you were naturally drawn to music, to sound, to dancing, to physical activity it's before anybody infected you with their ideas about who you should be.  And that's why it's so important to go back into that process

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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