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Finding Yourself: Finding Passion Series - 1 of 3
We have been told that the things we don't like in our children are the same things we don't like in ourselves. We are told that we project our own flaws and issues onto our perceived enemies in an attempt to work them out within ourselves. We stereotype people according to who they hang out with. Birds of a feather flock together. We're attracted to people like ourselves, with the same flaws.
To carry the concept further, those traits and attributes that we admire in our heroes are within us. Just as with our flaws, we are simply projecting our virtues onto others in an attempt to work them out within ourselves. We are attracted to certain people because they reflect our own aspects back at us. What's that mean?
Let's start with an exercise. Without regards to a persons looks or what they do for a living, think about the people that you've admired in your life. On a piece of paper, write down a list of people that have inspired you. Who has touched your heart? Who were your heroes? Make it as long or as short as you like. Which teachers, athletes, movie characters, and politicians have motivated you? Who makes your heart feel warm and enthusiastic?
When you've finished writing down your list of heroes, shift gears and think about the traits they have that you admire so much. Are they compassionate, steadfast, loyal, happy, determined, or laidback? Go through each person on your list one at a time and spend some time thinking about their virtues. What makes them so special that you put them on your list of heroes? As you reflect on these people and their attributes, list the various traits on a separate piece of paper. Place check marks beside those that get more than one 'vote.'
My lists looked like this:
No worries about money ////////
After you've written your two lists, sit with them for a while and reflect on the possibility that those traits on your list might actually be present inside you. The reason you love them so much in others is because it's a piece of yourself that you're connecting to. If you were living up to your full potential, wouldn't you be a lot more like the people you admire? Is it hard to believe that the things on your list could possibly be the greatness in yourself? Ask some caring relatives or friends to look over your list and see if it matches their image of you. I think you'll be surprised.
When I did this exercise back in 1998, I had my children do it too. We sat around the kitchen table and did it together as a family activity. My daughter was eight years old at the time and found that she is "giggly, nice, giving, kind, a great friend, smart, funny, and loving." She already knew that, but enjoyed the confirmation. My son suffered a lot of emotional insecurities at the time because he'd been misdiagnosed as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He was shocked to find that he is "nice follows dreams, strong, giving, active, fast, smart, playful, loving, funny, believes in 'the Force,' laughfull, fun, and brave." I had been telling him for years that he possessed those qualities but he thought I was prejudice because I'm his mom. He began making a huge turn around in his emotional well-being by acknowledging these wonderful traits within himself. I found the strength to start my own business and to finally pursue a career as a motivational speaker and writer.
At the time, it was pretty easy to tell myself that I am giving, kind, loyal, intelligent, and believe in 'the Force.' On the other hand, I really struggled with the concepts that I had no worries about money, a joyful attitude, self-confidence, and a sense of humor. I wanted desperately to be like that, but I didn't think I really followed dreams and I wasn't too sure that I wasn't a quitter after all. Over the years, I have learned many lessons and have experienced enough of the truth of this to know that yes I am exactly those things on that list. I have also learned that the things I most despised in others was indeed the things I wanted to work on in myself. The rule really does apply in both directions.
As I've been writing this article, I've been thinking about what it would be like to re-do the exercise now. Would my children's lists be different? Would mine? I think my children's lists would reflect a more adult perspective, but I think they'd still show most of the same traits. I might add some new names to my list, but I suspect that I would come up with a very similar list of traits. We might uncover more traits, but I doubt that we'd remove any. It's most likely that the traits follow us throughout our lives. It reminds me of that old saying, "wherever you go, there you are."
In finding our good traits, we uncover our true potential. We have something to live up to. We can measure our conduct and choices against the list. How much of our inner-struggle, like my son's, comes from not realizing our gifts? How much comes from realizing our potential and not living up to it? How much easier is life when we are behaving in accordance with our list of virtues? How much better do we feel about ourselves? How much better do others treat us when we live by these traits?
Copyright 2003, Skye Thomas, Tomorrow's Edge
About The Author
Skye Thomas began writing books and articles with an everyday practical approach to life in 1999 after twenty years of studying spirituality, metaphysics, astrology, personal growth, motivation, and parenting. After years of high heels and business clothes, she is currently enjoying working from home in her pajamas. Go to www.TomorrowsEdge.net to read more of her articles and to get a free preview of one of her books.
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