This coming weekend we will set our clocks forward, and it will get dark an hour earlier in the evening. This seems to be the time of year when it begins to hit us that winter and shorter days are here. With increased darkness and longer nights, winter is a natural time of introspection- a time to look inside. So what is going on inside? Internally, we are changing all the time. Our mind, however, likes to see ourselves as static and stable. It creates an identity and personality so we can feel like ourselves. This can make it
hard to notice the constant, subtle changes that are transpiring underneath the surface. Accordingly, the exterior of our lives tends to stay aligned with who we were and who we think we are. But yet we feel conflict, because part of us can tell that our outside life is out of sync with what is currently going on inside.
So what to do? If we pay attention, there are subtle clues or bread crumbs we are leaving for ourselves to discover how we are inside. There may be a tendency to discount these signs, because they do not fit with the way we see ourselves. But if we pay attention and follow the bread crumbs, we can explore what is going on inside with such things as the emotional and spiritual dimensions of our being.
One approach to such inner exploration is to treat the way you see yourself as a process of discovery. Your identity becomes more fluid- and less rigid and fixed. This approach requires suspending the things that you think you are and opening yourself up to how you actually seem to be. It is shifting from defining yourself by saying, "This is how I am," to asking, "How am I?"
Another approach to seeing and feeling what is going on inside is noticing what you are drawn to. It is noticing what you really want to do and having the courage to follow it. The way you find yourself may surprise you. You might say something like, "I am extraverted, and yet lately, I really just want some time to myself."
So consider loosening up some of the notions you have of yourself. Do not assume that you are all the things you think you are. It is ok to not know who you are for a while. Perhaps who you are is just changing. You can start with what you feel like doing today and allow yourself to do it. You could say, "Right now I just really feel like working on my craft project." I would argue that right now, that is a part of who you are.
About the Author
I, Michael Hoffman, am a licensed psychotherapist, teacher, and author with 25 years experience in counseling and teaching experiential workshops. I have maintained this blog since 2009, and my second book Natural Way of Being will published in 2019.
I offer in-person and video-conferencing counseling, intensive workshops, and online courses to allow participants to directly experience their natural way of being and the life they would have for themselves.