A Coaching Power Tool created by Rebecca Macfarlane
(Professional Coaching, United States)
Human beings are naturally curious and playful. We are designed for learning. As children, we discover and explore ourselves and our world through play. But as we age many of us lose this love of discovery as we grow older. Our social structures of school, work, and pressures to achieve and be successful cause us to unlearn the habits of being in a mindset of curiosity and discovery. We stop playing, because there is work to be done and our social structures encourage us to get the right answers, perform in a certain way, follow the leader, and conform our thinking into more “adult” patterns.
Instead of continuing our learning and discovery journey throughout our young adulthood, we begin to deny ourselves the very things that keep us in a more natural, human state of discovery. We begin to question our existence, to feel the need to control more and more of our experiences and our environment. We begin over-thinking our choices, and our actions become dictated by things we “should” do, instead of what we “could” do.
When we move away from being in a self-discovery mindset, we move towards a mindset that denies our natural state. We begin to try and shape ourselves into an image, a purpose, a role or a personality that doesn’t fit us naturally. We do this because we want to be seen by others as being “mature”, professional, and successful. These are the achievements society tells us are important for a meaningful life. However, these things often require us to live in denial of our true selves.
When we are in our most natural state, living our lives authentically and in a mindset of self-discovery, we enjoy finding out about ourselves, we have fun and learn through play and curiosity, we get absorbed into creative activities.
The mindset of self-discovery is not unlike that of a child’s – that is, when we are in a self-discovery mode, everything is an adventure, an experiment, and fascinating to us. When we experience emotions or events, we simply observe them and accept them as they are, with a deep knowing that everything has meaning and purpose. Human life is, by its very nature, purposeful and meaningful even when we don’t immediately understand it. Our meaning and purpose come from within ourselves, simply by being. So we are able to go through our lives in the mode of being an observer, curious, and non-judgmental, secure in the knowing that all things are as they are meant to be.
Internally, when a person is in a self-discovery mindset, they accept themselves completely. Because they are in tune with themselves, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, they attend to their needs without judgment. Self-discovery means we are living in the now, knowing who we are. We have a “just be” mentality that is based on the viewpoint that life is full of possibilities. We are full of things we “could” do. We are in touch with our authentic selves and live our lives in ways that are true to our values.
When we are in self-discovery mode, our energy is spent being conscious of our feelings and needs, and exploring ourselves and our world. Our meaning and sense of purpose comes from within and without question or judgment. We love ourselves.
The result of living in self-discovery is a life is full of lightness and acceptance, both of ourselves and of others.
When we are living in a self-denial mindset, our energy is spent on trying to control everything, including ourselves. In our quest to control our environments, we stop listening to ourselves. We stop trusting ourselves. We ignore our intuition, even our physical symptoms, and try to create structures, rules and boundaries which limit our experiences so that we can keep the illusion that we are in control and that harm or hurt can be eliminated in our lives.