Self-knowledge is tricky business and often misconstrued. For instance, saying, “I know myself, and I don’t like outdoor festivals” is less about self-knowledge and more about preference.
And preference can get in the way of potential. It limits us. When people push past their preferences — that is, beyond their comfort zone — they experience parts of themselves they didn’t know existed.
It’s why I say to my patients, “Consider doing something that is un-you.” Say yes instead of the safer no. You won’t regret it.
I have first-hand experience. A few summers ago, my children were invited to a trapeze party. When the instructor asked me to join, I thought, “How absurd — swinging from a trapeze is definitely not for me.” But my children insisted. I climbed up to the narrow platform, put my toes over the edge, clung on to the bar quite literally for dear life, and stepped off.
It was terrifying and completely humiliating thanks to an undignified dismount face-planting in the net. And it was worth every thrilling second. Doing the “un-me” thing felt good. Exhilarating. It enabled me to fly above my expectations.
Don’t let the person you think you are get in the way of being the person you can be. Reimagining yourself is healthy and necessary. This summer, embrace being “un-you.”