Relationships column: The art of knowing yourself
One obstacle to a great relationship with ourselves is that we tend to not dig deeply into our own hearts, our minds and our emotions, so that we are often left not knowing our inner selves very well.
Periodically I attempt to offer a list of questions designed to help you gain awareness of your thoughts and feelings in a more systematic way.
Answer the following questions in writing (you’ll forget them if you don’t) — which are also called journal prompts. After you’ve answered a question, challenge yourself to come up with a second, third and fourth answer, so you wind up writing as many answers to each question as you can.
Hopefully these questions will assist you in knowing yourself in a deeper way.
How would you describe how to be genuinely happy? What is your secret of happiness?
What strengths have you developed over your lifetime?
What does the critic inside your head say to you?
What have you done that you thought you couldn’t do?
What are you looking forward to?
What places do you want to visit or explore?
What could you do in order to feel more peaceful, less worried and less anxious?
The things you are currently doing that do not further your goals or truly enhance your life.
What are your guilty pleasures—things you shouldn’t do, but enjoy doing anyway?
Imagine your future self offering you advice. What would he or she say to you?
What in your life is precious, sacred or very special to you, but that you tend to take for granted?
Where in life do you feel abundant? What would help you to feel even more abundant?
What season is most special to you? What do you look forward to in that season?
Complete this sentence: I love …
How could you add more playfulness to your life?
What excuses are you giving yourself that let you off the hook?
What is your body yearning for?
What could you do (or begin doing right now) that would help you thrive?
How would you describe your self-image and self-regard?
When do you look your best? Why don’t you look your best more often?
What does growing older symbolize to you?
What is going right in your life right now?
If money were no problem, then what would you be doing?
Complete this sentence. I live for…
I’m proud of me for…
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Westminster and Boulder. He is the author of the bestselling book “Love, Sex, and Staying Warm: Creating a Vital Relationship.” Contact him at 303-758-8777 or visit neilrosenthal.com.