“There is no definition of beauty, but when you can see someone’s spirit coming through, something unexplainable, that’s beautiful to me.” – Liv Tyler
In yesterday’s post I urged you to see yourself (and others) as having three parts: mind, body, and spirit. In our society we hear the word “spirit” thrown about in many different ways: “She has such a beautiful spirit!” “He was very low-spirited.” “The Holy Spirit…” and you may have heard the term used when talking about ghosts. Some of us throw it around comfortably, and others of us quiver at the “fluffy” idea of having a spirit or being spiritual.
What do you think of when you hear that word? Maybe you have a subtle idea about it, or a well-embedded belief, but have you really considered it and how it affects the way you live your life? I think that if we neglect that we are spiritual beings, we end up missing out on the deepest, most satisfying experiences life has to offer, and we might always feel a little bit empty. Although much of my work in this spiritual area has been subconscious, I would like to attempt to slap it onto a paper for you, and share my thoughts, as well as five strategies to discover your spirit, because one thing is for sure: when we see a person’s spirit shining through her or his words and actions, we see beauty.
Let’s take a quick look at where the word comes from: the English word spirit comes from the Latin “spiritus”, meaning “breath”, but also “spirit, soul, courage, vigor.”
Each of us has a part that breathes life into us in a very unique manner and this, to me, is your spirit! What were you like as a child? Were you loud and rambunctious? Were you creative and constantly calling mom or dad to listen to your new ideas? Did you spend hours playing with one toy or a single book examining all of its tiny details and finding new uses or meanings for it? I think our spirit breathes into each of us our personality; it makes you – (say your name), different from me – Brittney, and it has been there ever since you were little.
This sounds fun and wonderful so far, but it doesn’t always remain that way. What fears did you inherit early on? What did your peers make you feel ashamed of? How did you start hiding your true self? Maybe you were naturally very excited about life – showing off your latest haircut or new toy at show and tell, and when others did not respond with the same energy you had, you learned to close yourself off and hide. Perhaps you had a love for writing, but when you handed in a 24-page mini-novel for what was supposed to be a short story you were criticized. Our fears have the power to shape our destiny if we let them; we need to take a step back and remember how to be the self we know we are deep down.
Five Strategies to Discover Your Spirit:
1.Think About What You Liked When You Were a Kid
What did you love doing? What did you want to be when you grew up? Take five minutes now to jot down your answers. I can recall vividly a family video in which I was about three-years-old playing with a kitchen set in front of my mother, handing her a cup saying, “Look mom, it says right here: ‘poison water’ see, ‘poooooisoooon waaaaateeer.’” – I obviously had a creative and clever mind (and didn’t really want to poison my mom, lol)! I memorized Dr. Seuss’s books and had a fascination with words. Had I paid more attention to these cues and ignored society telling me I needed to be in the sciences to have value, I might have taken creative writing a little more seriously when I was younger. What were your things when you were young and what do they say about you?
Therefore, an important aspect of your spirit is your personality – those traits that make you unique. What words do people use to describe you that they don’t say about anyone else? For me, people most often comment on my energy: “You are so positive” and “You never stop”, or “You are so inspiring”, and in sports I have been given nicknames like “the Energizer Bunny” or “Wheelz.” What do the nicknames and descriptors given to you tell you about yourself?
2. Purchase Programs that Help You Discover Who You Really are
– As well as who you want to become. One of the common characteristics among the most successful people is profound self-awareness: they know where they are at right now; they understand their strengths and weaknesses inside out and how to leverage their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses; they have a vision of exactly where they want to go, and they have a plan of attack to get there. Two simple techniques I like to use with my clients of the Projekt Possible Program are these:
A) Three Heroes
- Write down three people who inspire you. What is it about them that you admire? This will tell you a lot about yourself and what you need to change in your life. Do it now.
B) Character Concept Map
- Write your name in the middle of a sheet of paper and draw a circle around it. From the circle, extend lines and write down all of the adjectives you want people to use to describe you and your life at your funeral (thinking of death might sound weird, but nothing else puts our life on earth into perspective the same way).
There are many programs out there designed to help cultivate your self awareness and streamline your productivity. My program, Projekt Possible, is just one of them. You can also purchase question/answer journals to take you through activities like these.
3. Identify Your Cause
What makes you tick? What kinds of thoughts keep you up at night? It could be worrying about your children if you are a parent – your mission is to make the best life for your kids. Some of these passions may have shown themselves when you were very young. Maybe you were like me and when the teachers asked for “some strong boys” to carry desks, you flipped the one you were sitting in to get up to volunteer (you didn’t know when you were 10 you could be a feminist). Allow things to excite you, and when they do, pay attention to them. The next time something makes a fire rage inside you, fan those flames and allow it to consume you (as long as it is not harming someone else), and find your way to figure out how you can take action – talk it out, write it down, or shoot me an email and I will help. We all have a cause and we owe it to our spirit and to the world to fulfill it.
4. Try New Things
When you were a child, it didn’t matter if it was food or fun, you didn’t know what you liked until you tried it! How can you say you really know who you are, unless you have tried many things? I always thought I loved hockey even though it gave me slight anxiety, and then I tried CrossFit, powerlifting, and weightlifting, and found a way to harness my stress into the barbell. What I knew about myself before was that I had a predisposition for sport, but I didn’t really know which sport until I stepped out and tried new ones, as an adult. It was scary, but it was so worth it!
Travelling is another way to have novel experiences. Go new places; experience different cultures; taste the food; try out a new form of dance. You will learn more about yourself in a 1-week cultural trip than you will in a year in a university. Get out a pen right now and make a list of all of the things you know you need to try but have been too afraid to, or haven’t taken the time to (including all the places you need to go). Now, write down why you haven’t done it. Come up with a solution to that obstacle. Plan to do one of those things this week. Put a star next to the two next most important things, and schedule in a step towards each of those by the end of the month. Get out of your comfort zone – we all know this is where the growth happens.
Books offer alternate universes to investigate. They enclose mountains of knowledge to climb and challenging tasks to exercise your mind and propel you into a life you’ve only dreamed of. And most importantly, books give you a unique pair of glasses to wear to look at your life.
Reading for me helps me be more self aware. It helps me objectively examine my strength and it identifies weaknesses I didn’t know I had. It opens my mind to new worlds that I didn’t even know existed.
Open books. You’ve already delved into the blogspace and are clearly a reader and I commend you for that! In a society addicted to quick-fixes and social media, you have the power to focus and the desire to grow. Keep that, for it is a part of your spirit and it will make you great.
“Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”― Albert Einstein
Five ways to Discover your Spirit:
- Think about what you liked when you were a kid.
- Purchase programs to help you discover who you really are.
- Identify your cause.
- Try new things (and travel)!
- Read (you’re winning).
Your spirit is that part of you that makes you unique. It is that little voice inside you that knew how to speak up when you were a kid, but got stifled somewhere along the way. It is that sparkle in your eye when you are seen doing the thing you really love; the shine in your biggest smile when you achieve one of your daunting dreams. Your spirit is the spark inside you that becomes an all-consuming fire once it gets riled up. It is that fearless piece of you that gets out and tries new things only to uncover parts of yourself extending past what you previously knew, and it is the aspect of you that you read into when you open books or blogs and dive more into the minds of others. Yes, the spirit is hard to pinpoint, and if reading this article has left you with more questions about what yours really is than you had before you read it, I’ve done my job.
Check back TOMORROW afternoon: “What is My ‘Spirit’ Anyway with Six Ways to Feel more Whole”
Six Ways to Feel Whole:
- Curl up in a childhood comfort.
- Hone your hobbies (and don’t feel bad about it!)
- Have more sex (with someone who knows, understands, and loves your mind, body, and spirit)
- Practice yoga, meditation, and/or prayer.
- Go to a ceremony
- Create memories with loved ones; act like a fool to make children laugh.
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Wish there was a program that helped you grow in every area of your life? There is! Projekt Possible: An 8-Week Blueprint for Building your Biggest Life, Cultivating your Confidence, and Smashing your Goals: http://idealisticisabel.com
Business-owner (without a creative bone in your body) who creates content just to get something out there, but know you aren’t having the impact you want? Have a creative writing idea, but you’re afraid of putting your ideas out there in front of the public? Check out my Contract-Writing, Copywriting, and Editing page now: https://idealisticisabel.com/contract-writing-copywriting-and-editing/