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A-Z of Midlife: S is for Self

December 10, 2009

S is for SELF‘To thine own self be true.’ 
You’ve got to hand it to Shakespeare- he certainly has a wonderful way with words.The simple, powerful eloquence of this quotation ‘gets’ to me every time!  I wish I could say it was the code by which I’ve lived my life, but in all honesty, the best I can say is, it’s a work in progress.   One thing I do know – before you can be true to thine own self, you’ve first got to know thine own self!  And there’s the rub.

As women, we spend a large part of our lives defined by who we are to others and our SELF becomes inextricably woven into the different roles we play…. mother, partner, daughter and carer, to name but a few.  Now, I’m not saying this make us selfless paragons of virtue because for the most part, these roles bring us enormous joy, happiness and fulfilment (…. I did say ‘for the most part’ – there’s also a fair amount of other stuff like frustration, resentment and aggravation too!) but it has to be said, putting the needs of others before our own is often an implicit part of our job description.

Who Am I?But here’s the thing – by the time we reach midlife, many of our roles have either changed or become redundant and so we have to let go of WHO we were. This can leave us feeling quite bereft but sooner or later, we have to face the BIG question, ‘So, who am I NOW?’

It’s at this time that our sense of SELF starts to demand attention, begging us to consider… can you believe it…..our OWN needs!  Venturing into this unfamiliar territory, exploring WHO we are and WHAT we want, can make us feel uncomfortable and self- indulgent at first. Yet finding a strong, coherent sense of self, is NOT about selfishness, or self-indulgence – it’s the very opposite.

It’s an opportunity to get to know who we are at our core and once we are really clear about who we are, we can then start to make authentic choices that fully reflects our true SELF and … this is the good bit… the impact of this goes far beyond us as an individual –  not only is our own life enhanced but we can make a much more meaningful contribution to those around us simply by having so much more to offer. That’s what I call a win-win situation.

 To thine own self be true – and start a chain reaction.

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I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did and would like to subscribe to my monthly newsletter and my FREE, weekly 10 part eProgramme, ‘Turning Midlife into the Time of Your Life’ click here. Thank you!

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