A few months ago I came to a bit of a realisation… that I didn’t know who I was.
Yes, I know. I’m Ceryn, I live in a little town in Northumberland, UK; I’m a writer, a counsellor and a coach… I know all of that stuff. But it didn’t seem to answer the deep question of who I really really really am underneath it all?
There’s an exercise we used to do a lot in my Aurora days where we would ask people to strip away their labels, their jobs and their relationships to other people and define who they were from that. What they came back with was pretty interesting… hell, what I came back with from that was pretty interesting. But more recently I’ve realised that completing that exercise I’d only ever gone halfway to where I needed to be.
I hadn’t delved into the outdated ideas I carried of who I was because of what I’d done and experienced in the past; and I hadn’t even started to think about who I was away from who I expected myself to be. Yeesh.
So I decided it was time to do a bit more of that…
I started with a pencil and a notebook, and began by drawing a picture (something I don’t often do – past experiences have told me I am not the arty one…) of myself and my life as saw it in that moment.
And then I started writing; simple lists at first of the things I like, the things I don’t, the the things I’m afraid of, the things I want, and the things that have brought me shame in the past. Then one by one I went through those lists and really sat with each point on the list pondering whether this was my truth or not.
What I found fascinated me – some of the things I’d been working my butt off for weren’t actually things that interested me but other people’s ideas and goals that I’d internalised as my own; some of the things I always listed among my “likes” actually made me feel a little flat when I really focused on them.
Once the lists were done I went deeper – looking at my Astrological chart, my numerology readings and the other “definitions” of me that were out there and thinking abut what really fit for me and what didn’t. It was quite the journey.
Hell, it’s still quite the journey.
For so many years the world has told us that focusing on ourselves is a negative thing – selfish and detrimental to anyone else out there. So much so that we don’t… we let other people’s opinions and words define us, we allow our past experiences to tell the story of who we are now and we get ourselves stuck in a place of “knowing” ourselves without really stopping to think if the person we’re talking about and making decisions for is actually the person we are.
In fact, all too often we only really get to know ourselves when something goes wrong and it feels like we’ve lost ourselves completely.
But what if we didn’t wait that long?
Because the truth is that knowing who we are helps us to be a better version of ourselves for ourselves; and for those around us too.
And in getting to know who we really are and what we do and don’t want, it’s also easier for us to keep ourselves healthy rather than find ourselves hit rock bottom because we’ve been living the life of someone else’s dreams or necessities for all too long.
Even if you’re in a place like mine, it’s not necessarily that you’re doing badly, just that you know that you could do even better and know even more.
Wherever you’re at right now, isn’t it time to start your own journey to delve through all of the noise and find out just how much of the external stuff you’ve internalised?
A little hands up disclaimer here – that might be really tough to do. Because delving into the expectations of you and the past impacts upon you might just bring up some really tough stuff… so if that’s the case you can definitely work with someone to unpack everything that comes up (check out my counselling sessions to find out more about working with me if that feels right for you). But equally, getting started is something you can start doing all for yourself.
How? Just grab a pen and a bit of paper, and start writing down what you already know about yourself, then take the time to question that.
And keep questioning…
Then remember to keep going; because this journey to know yourself isn’t some three year degree course that you can graduate from with honours and find yourself qualified forever, it’s a constant winding road that will change and develop as with every moment that you’re alive, because don’t we all change and grow every single day?
So with all of that said, who am I? Well that’s a long story – so long that I’m actually building it, and the journey that I’m taking to understand more of that, into a plan for another book. Watch this space for that one heading your way further down the line.
So instead let me start by giving you a list of the things I like… it’s not exclusive and in no particular order, but here’s as wide-ranging as it got:
Words, Kali, being outdoors, being snuggled inside, my family, my good friends, laughter, soul deep conversations, silly jokes, beautiful men, being swept away in a story - a real life one, a fictional one, on the page or on the screen - I don't care as long as it's a story.
Guitar music, exploring - especially new places, writing, day dreaming, wearing red lipstick, pottering around with no real agenda except to see where the day takes me!
Travelling, past life work, hearing people's stories and helping them piece those together, superheroes, watching sports, Disney movies and Disney World.
Markets, New York City, Boston MA, my city - Newcastle upon Tyne, air travel, driving, winged eyeliner, fangirling over the things I love, swimming, yoga, bungee jumping (or I did... I'd love to try again!), boxing - although I'm only just starting that one.
Learning in general - once a geek always a geek, reading, kisses, tulips, strawberries, chocolate, Anna Sui Secret Wish perfume, palo santo, heavy rain, thunderstorms, sunshine, digging my toes in sand, walking barefoot in the grass, the smell outdoors after it rains, the silence of snow, looking at nature.
Animals, the sea, freedom, wearing long skirts, helping people, the beach, old buildings, those moments of pure connection to something bigger than myself, looking at the stars.
Dancing, the smell of burning wood, going to the cinema, singing, putting on warm dry socks when my feet are cold, going to the cinema, and singing - yes, singing.
Now how about writing your list… and then looking at how many of those things you actually let yourself enjoy day to day.
Because the power of that? Well that’s a whole other blog post…