In the movie Anger Management Jack Nicholson is leading a support group and asks Adam Sandler a newcomer, to tell the group about himself. Adam tells the group what he does, then he tells them what he likes to do, but in the end he’s unable to tell them who he is. That’s a hard question to answer – who am I? Core values determine who you are. They directly or indirectly control your priorities and there also the measures that tell you if you’re happy about your life or not. When you don’t know what your values are, you will never find what you’re looking for in life. You have to discover who you are before you can determine where you’re going.
Self-help is not the answer. Self-help is about holding on and trying to control everything in your life. Self-sacrifice is the answer. Your purpose in life is not to control who you want to be or who you think you should be, it’s about becoming what God created you to be. And the only way to discover that is through sacrifice. Sacrifice is about letting go. You have to let go of all the preconceived notions of yourself. Of all the plans other people have for you and your life. Of all the things you think you “should” be but aren’t.
You have to let go of the baggage before you can get to the person you are. Identify what is driving your life. The most common drivers are;
- Guilt and shame. People who are driven by guilt and shame sabotage their own success by allowing their past to control their future. You can’t get on with life until you confront your past. You might be avoiding it because you think it’s too difficult to face, but writing it out helps you realize it’s not as bad as you thought. Guilt is a burden that keeps you from giving yourself fully and freely to the present. Make a list of the people you’ve harmed and rid your mind by quietly admitting where and when you have wronged people, including yourself.
- Resentment and anger. People who are driven by resentment and anger hold onto their hurts and never get over them. Resentment and anger poisons nearly every waking hour of their life but wallowing in negativity won’t alter the situation. When your thoughts are full of bitterness and revenge there is little room for love or for the quiet voice of guidance within you. In order to let go you have to forgive but don’t think of forgiveness as wiping another person’s slate clean, or pronouncing them “not guilty,” rather think of it as cutting the resentment string that has kept you bound to that person. Set yourself free!
- Fear and worry. People who are driven by fear and worry miss great opportunities because they’re too focused on the future and anticipating all the possible disastrous outcomes that may occur. Anticipating doom forces people to live in a self-imposed prison that prevents them from becoming all they were created to be. The more attention they pay to the worry, fear and mental static in their head, the more they lose their foothold to reality. The key is to learn to live in the present and focus on what is happening now. Most fears will never even come to pass so rather than being afraid of the storms, focus on learning how to sail your ship now.
- Materialism. People who are driven by material things confuse self-worth with net-worth. They aren’t the same. Values are internal and valuables are external. Valuables can be lost in an instant by a variety of uncontrollable circumstances but values are yours forever. The second half of this article will help you discover what your values are so you don’t have to substitute them for valuables anymore.
- Need for Approval. People who are driven by a need for approval are trying to earn the approval of an un-pleas-able parent, or are worried what other people will think of them. People get lost in the crowd when driven by peer pressure. If you don’t stop trying to please everyone else, you’ll miss out on living the life you were created to live. Discovering who you are will give you the freedom to live your life for you, and the second half of this article will help you with that.
You will never find what you’re looking for in life or truly be happy with what you get until you first discover who you are. Knowing who you are is a process of aligning your inside with your outside.