Are you living your life, or rushing through it?
In our hectic world, it’s easy to put doing before being, to forget that living needs to involve a lot of being.
We are human beings, after all, not human doings—but between work, family, friends, hobbies and an ever-growing list of goals, dreams and aspirations, it can seem almost impossible to find balance.
You can achieve your long list of goals while still feeling like your truest self, a human being, rather than a never-ending assembly line of petty tasks and empty dreams.
Tapping into your greatest potential means focusing on who you are. It entails distinguishing yourself as a being, rather than describing your identity as what you do in life. How many times have you said, “I’m a massage therapist,” “I’m a parent” or “I’m a spouse”?
All of those are things that you do, not who you are. What if you instead described yourself as a being?
In order to create balance in your life, you first have to find out who you truly are, before moving on to taking action. Once you’ve allowed your true self to shine through and given that true self a name, right action will flow naturally, which will then lead to attaining your dreams.
Most people get this backward, and try to frantically do, do, do, only to find themselves further away from their dreams, caught up in a cycle of rushing headlong after things they don’t truly want.
The Path of Integrity
Living a life aimed at true north—the path of integrity one walks by using one’s internal compass—takes some honesty. You need to be willing to take a look at yourself and see what’s missing, and then fill in the gaps.
First, figure out what your strongest qualities are. There is a number of ways to do this:
1. Look in the mirror each morning, greet yourself, gaze into your own eyes and ask, “Who am I?” Wait for a response. Then write the response down, no matter how silly, strange or mundane you may judge it to be.
Repeat this exercise in the evenings before going to bed. After a while, you may notice you have begun dreaming responses too. Record those as well.
Continue this exercise twice a day for a week, and then read your list. Notice which responses strike a chord or stir an emotional response in you. Which responses feel true to you?
2. List 10 things you are proud of, every day, for at least a week. This can be anything, ranging from large life events such as “launched my massage practice” to smaller, in-the-moment experiences such as “ate a healthy lunch”—and anything in between.
The treasure in this exercise doesn’t lie in exactly what you did, but in how you feel about what you did.
At the end of the week, look over your list. What do these things have in common? Why are you proud of them? What is the thread connecting those things you feel really good about?
By studying your list, you will discover some of your best qualities, perhaps compassion, courage, honesty, perseverance or generosity. This will help you better understand yourself and where your strengths and passions lie.
3. Ask your trusted advisors to tell you what your greatest qualities and strengths are. These advisors are not just anyone you know, but people who are very close to you who have known you a long time, such as parents, siblings, friends, significant others, colleagues or mentors.
If you are afraid your questions will sound like fishing for a compliment, simply explain you’re looking for an objective viewpoint in order to start building on your best traits.
4. Take a personality test, such as the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (http://www.myersbriggs.org). Such tests are often available online, free of charge, and can give you a good starting point for figuring out who you are, what you care about and what you do best. (Other sites with personality tests include http://www.personalitylab.org, http://www.personalityresearch.org and http://www.humanmetrics.com.)
Remember, your results will differ from test to test and day to day, so don’t think of the results as written in stone. Instead, use them as a guide.
When you feel you are aware of your strongest qualities, allow that mix to combine in your mind until an answer emerges.
Then, declare who you are to the universe.
It’s both as simple and as momentous as it sounds, because you will be declaring who you are in regard to your greatest potential.
For example, you can describe yourself as unlimited contribution, or the potential for healing or deep compassion. Perhaps you’re tireless strength, intense truth or an open heart. Reach for a self-declaration that resonates deep in your soul.
It doesn’t have to sound polished or logical, nor is it meant for anyone’s ears but your own. It just has to get you excited and inspire you at your innermost being.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Decide who you’d like to be, even if you don’t feel like you’re there yet. Open your mind and heart to possibilities. Allow yourself to embody the potential for who you’d like to be.
You can decide who you’re going to be today, and then try something new tomorrow. We human beings are always evolving, growing and changing, so it makes sense our declarations of being will change.
Your Greatest Potential
Once you’ve made this statement of being, all you have to do is allow it to come forth—because what you have declared has always been inside you, all along.
It’s been there, ready and waiting, because it’s you, in the truest way possible. Your old identity, with its rushing and negativity, can fall away to reveal who you truly are at your core. Less-positive characteristics will no longer dominate who and what you are.
Being a human being is all about being tuned into the balance that’s all around you. It’s about tapping into your greatest potential and letting that inspire all you do. Things you don’t need to do will fall by the wayside, and things you do need to do will gently get your attention.
Declare who you are.
Allow that declaration to guide you to your life’s true north. Instead of obsessively doing the actions that are supposed to lead to what you want, be the qualities you are. In this way, you will discover, reveal and release your greatest potential.
About the Author
Massage therapist, teacher and innovator Patrick Ingrassia, L.M.T., graduated from the Florida School of Massage and founded the Nayada Institute of Massage. He has taught massage throughout North America for more than 15 years..
If you enjoyed reading this MASSAGE Magazine online article, subscribe to the monthly print magazine for more articles about massage news, techniques, self-care, research, business and more, delivered monthly. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for additional unique content, including product announcements and special offers.