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5 Things to Do When You Don’t Recognize Yourself

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We occasionally run into moments in our lives where we don’t recognize ourselves. Some days, these times are courageous, daring, bold! You did something you never knew you could do. You realized you have something in you that you never knew before. You found your gumption, your strength, your assertiveness.

Some days, these moments are lonely, sad, and confusing and the same rules apply: you did something you never knew you could do. You realized you have something in you that you never knew before. You found your base level, your deep character flaws, your underbelly.

What do you do in those moments, good or bad, when you don’t recognize yourself?

1. Take note of the moment.
Time is fleeting. It spends itself without us even noticing. When you’re in a moment where you don’t recognize yourself, pause. Take note of everything around you: What or who led you here? What choices brought you here? Who did you have to become to be here now? Ask the tough questions and take note of your feelings, thoughts, worries, wins.

2. Let the lesson sink in.
After you’ve taken the notes, let the lesson process through your mind, body, and spirit. Perhaps it’s something you’re proud of and you’d like to conjure the strength to pull it off again! Perhaps it’s something you’re ashamed of, and you’d like to never return to it again. Perhaps it falls anywhere in-between that spectrum of pride and shame, and you feel yourself being pulled between both. Either way, let the lesson you’re learning sink in. Let your mind and body decode the mysteries of the lesson and plant them firmly within you.

You found your base level, your deep character flaws, your underbelly…what do you do?

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3. Remind yourself of who you are and what you stand for.
Ask yourself what values are the most important to you? I suggest perusing Brené Brown’s core value list and see which ones jump out to you. Ask yourself how those core values were planted inside of you? What stories do you remember? Then remind yourself: this is who I am. This is what’s important to me.

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4. Discover your beliefs and assumptions.
We all have beliefs and assumptions that shape our actions. For example, “I am bad at math.” Why do you believe that? Who allowed you to believe that? Do you stay away from doing math now because you have believed for years that you’re bad at math? This same rule applies for how we approach love, listening, caring, compassion, goals. Free yourself from any limiting beliefs or assumptions.

5. Breathe.
When we don’t recognize ourselves, our hearts race, our adrenaline rushes, our senses experience overload and we feel even more outside of ourselves. Let your body calm down; find home within yourself again. Breathe.

Go forward in your day knowing that who you are is transient and fleeting, so it’s OK to not always recognize yourself. But when you find yourself wondering, “Who is this version of me? Who have I become?” remember, you have the power within you to recognize yourself again, to come home again.

Remind yourself of who you are and what you stand for.

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Sheena is a classically-trained ballerina, millennial, idea creator, and community-focused collaborator who believes in taking cookies out of the oven 2 minutes early. She’s a sailboat-living yogi with attitude who enjoys poetry, popcorn, and randomly planting vegetables for strangers to discover later. 

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