How We Become Ourselves

Happy September. Feels like the start of something new, doesn’t it? At the same time, knowing that the end of the year is near, it feels like we are at the end of something, too.

This past week we celebrated Rosh Hashanah or the Jewish New Year.

These next 10 days, up until Yom Kippur, are considered the Days of Awe and spent in serious introspection.

(Don’t worry, you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy today’s post. If you want to know why you are who you are, keep reading.)

I spent the afternoon at synagogue on Monday and the Rabbi posed what I think is an important topic when it comes to introspection:

What is self?

A pretty straight forward question.

Now, to the answer.

In this day and age of self facing cameras, instagram stories where it’s all about ourselves and other forms of social media where people share all and every bit of themselves, it’s clear that SELF has become a central theme.

And while I have many-a-mixed feelings about the way we as a society are making ourselves central in almost every conversation we seem to be having in the world right now, I thought Rabbi Green’s explanation of self was an important one to consider.

We only become ourselves through the time spent and connection we have to others.

Yes, that’s right.

You are you because of who you are surrounded by.

Plain and simple.

But why, you ask?

It is through the time spent and connection with others over the course of our lives, that we either take on attributes and qualities of those other people OR we reject those attributes and qualities.

It is through others, that we become more clear on our likes, dislikes, preferences and dreams.

We do not exist in a vacuum unto ourselves.

We become who we are, by being in the the world and spending time with other people, whether we have chosen those people or not.

Got it?

Ok, so now that this piece is clear, here is the more important piece.

If we want to take care of ourselves in the most profound way, can you guess what we must do?

No, it’s not surround ourselves with more successful, better people.

Instead…

We must take care of others.

All others.

And because we are the collection of those who paths we cross, perhaps we need to stop seeing those that we do not approve or like, as ‘others’, but rather extensions of ourselves.

If there are things about people that you do not like, it is not enough to just discard them and hope they no longer have an impact on you.

Frankly, it’s too late.

The impact has already occured.

We can all do a better job of attempting to care for the people we know and meet because, while it may seem selfish, improving their lives, means that we improve our own.

This is not a far fetched idea. Or even a new one.

It’s a matter of whether or not you want to put it into action.

A few simple ways you can start to improve the lives of others around you:

(And when I say others, I mean everyone. Not just the easy ones. Everyone includes people of all races, genders, sexual preferences, abilities, disabilities, education levels or lack thereof and financial abundance or lack thereof.)

  1. Ask people about themselves. Ask them what they are struggling with. And when they tell you, really listen.
  2. When it comes to listening, here’s a simple tip.
    Listen to feel, not to solve. 
    People’s well being improves when they feel they are being heard and understood. That can be accomplished when we FEEL them and not just try to solve things for them.
  3. Greet each person as though they are a favorite family member.
  4. Smile. Not a forced smile. An easy turning up of the corners of the mouth. It makes people feel welcome.
  5. Remember there is enough to go around. Enough of what? Enough of everything. Money, time, attention, love. I know it doesn’t always feel like that, but when we act that way, all those things seem to miraculously expand. It’s a good practice and it makes us more abt to want to give.

Now, it’s your turn.

What are some ways you take care of others? And I don’t mean just the people close to you. More so, the people you don’t know very well. Maybe even the people you don’t know at all.

I would love for you to share in the comments.

Your actions for taking care of others could inspire another reader to do the same. So don’t be shy and tell us.

Remember, you become a better you, when ‘they’ become a better them.

‘Shana Tova (Happy New Year),
Xx Erin

P.S. Did you know I have a new book coming out in early January? I can’t wait to reveal the cover to you in the next few weeks along with some special goodies we are giving away! We will also be doing another Say it, Sweat it, Get it Challenge in early Nov. It’s right around the corner! Such an exciting time! Thanks for going on this very exciting journey with me. I’m so grateful for you support and love along the way!

 

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