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Two Questions For Self-Discovery

Posted by Dr. Ellen Kreidman on

To be true to yourself is to be in a state of grace. To find out if you are being true to yourself, ask yourself these two important questions:

1) If I weren't getting paid for what I'm doing, would I continue to do it?

If the answer is yes, you are doing what you want to do. The truth is, I would teach this class for free, and sometimes have, because I believe in it and love what I'm doing.

2) If I only had one year to live, would I continue to do what I'm doing?

If the answer is no, then why don't you stop? You could die within the next year, and you would have wasted your last year doing something you didn't want to do.

One evening after class a new student came up and asked if she could talk to me for a few minutes. She confided that she was on the verge of divorcing her husband. She told me he was impossible to please.

"He's always made fun of me for being what he calls an 'artsy-craftsy' person, so recently I enrolled in a class to learn how to become a travel agent. Now, he complains about all the homework I have to do, and what a low-paying profession I've picked."

I asked Paula what she wanted to do. She said she wanted to please her husband.

"Nothing you do will please your husband," I told her. "Why not think about pleasing yourself?"

I asked her the two important questions. If she only had a year to live, would she want to be a travel agent? If she couldn't get paid to do it, would she want to be a travel agent?

Paula looked shocked and said of course not. If she had only a year to live, she would want to spend it painting and making handcrafts.

I invited Paula to accompany me to a highly successful arts and crafts center in our area, and asked if she might like to own something like this someday? She rolled her eyes and said if she could own a shop like that, she would think that she had died and gone to heaven. The last I heard, Paula was taking classes at the local community college on how to start and run your own business.

Since I started Light His Fire, I have heard so many women say, "I gave up everything for that man. I did everything I could to please him, and he left me." Of course the men left! When you give up everything , you give up yourself. Nobody wants to be with a sponge or a parasite, or even worse, a "nothing. "When you give up you, you cease to exist.

I remember two men in particular who ended up leaving women who contributed little or nothing to the relationship. One of them, John, told me that he eventually left his wife, Kelly, just so she could have the opportunity to discover who she was.

In John's words, "She had become a total bore. If I asked her to tell me about her day, she would just say that nothing interesting had happened."