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The Family Therapist is In
Inside Myself: Am I Real About me?
November, 2007 - Issue #37
Carpe Deim - Latin for seize the day! I wonder how we can seize the day if we don't know who we are. Just what are we seizing if we haven't spent anytime getting to know ourselves?

The identity of one's self and the time we take to reflect on our identity is crucial for all of us. How can we be expected to have relationships with other people and understand who they are without truly knowing ourselves? We can't; which is why it's such an important part of growth - understanding, recognizing and creating an identity that is all our own.

Throughout a person's life, outside factors like the media, society, peer pressure, as well as family expectations combine with one's own thoughts to create an identity each person sees as his or hers. This self-identity and those ever-present external factors lead to your beliefs about the concept of being a man or woman and how you feel your relationships should be defined.

Today it's really hard to develop a self-identity without considering what the media, society, and your family have to say about it. The media consistently conveys specific ideals, which are especially enticing to young people. What do we as a society tell our young girls? That they should only be interested in boys if they're hot, have trendy clothes, and of course have a nice car (or, in Santa Clarita, a nice truck). Oh, and don't forget the money factor. The media defines a successful, secure person as one with "lots" of money.

Another biggie for many people: their families cast a long shadow over who they are. Society says that at a certain age you're an adult. But whose truth determines that? Age is only a stepping-stone to the title of adulthood. A person's actions, not their age, dictate whether or not they're an adult.
"Society says that at a
certain age you're an
ADULT.
But whose truth determines that? Age is only a STEPPING-STONE
to the title of adulthood.
A person's actions,
not their age,
DICTATE
whether or not
they're an adult."

I think three of the most important qualities that define our ability to truly know ourselves are maturity, responsibility and integrity. A person who owns up to their faults and grows from their experiences is exhibiting maturity. The ability to choose to do the right thing for the right reason is a sign of personal maturity.

Someone willing to see themselves for who they are and how they affect others demonstrates the desire to be responsible. And friends are a very telling factor in everyone's life. They are the people we experience life with and they in a way define who we are. For clarification, I'm referring to those friends who truly know you; the ones who tell you not just what you want to hear but what you need to hear. Real friendship requires integrity. True friends are there for each other, providing support and consideration as well as helping us be accountable.

Everything in life is constantly fluctuating, shifting and changing, exactly the components that make people exciting and give us all the opportunity to participate in personal growth. The process helps us to become comfortable with the real "us."

Do you spend any time reflecting on your ability to be real with first yourself and then others? If you have children, are you standing beside them, supporting the opportunities that encourage time to get to know themselves and evaluate their affect on others?

Personal growth is not one size fits all. Share your stories of individual expansion (or shrinking!) with Kim by e-mailing her at kschafer@insidescv.com.
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