Identifying the real you is a lot like (just like, actually) your interpretation of a Rorschach blot. What do YOU see?

This is an interesting concept that I’ve been pondering more and more in recent months.

Nearly a year ago, I hired a life coach. I had a variety of reasons for making this decision.

Now, looking back over the past several months, I have to say I really appreciate me for giving myself the opportunity to work with her, as it has been quite a fruitful and enlightening connection in a variety of ways.

Probably the most unexpected benefit (or side effect, depending on how you look at it) is an unfolding realization of how little I have really understood to date about who I actually am.

Not who I was – I understand that fairly well. Thank goodness – I’ve certainly spent enough time dissecting “past me” that I really have no good excuse not to.

I’m talking who I am today – right now – in each moment even as I type, type, type.

Not the me I was expected to be. The me I was told to be. The me I wanted to be. Or even the me I am.

But who AM I, actually?

For instance, I grew up with a very social mom who was always into everything. She always had lots of volunteer work going on, was president of this or that neighborhood club, had loads of friends in the neighborhood and was basically just everywhere at all times. She never seemed to require much if any alone time unless she was trying to sleep.

For years I thought that her way of doing things the recipe for my personal happiness. So I spent years pressuring myself – like an inner record-keeping me that is always assessing whether I go out enough nights each week with my friends, whether I am involved with enough organizations, whether I have enough projects going on, whether my five, 10, or 30 year plans are up to date.

But the truth is, nothing about this way of living does much of anything good for who I really am.

Who I really am – the real me – needs a fair amount of alone time each day. I might spend this time jogging, pondering, journaling, meditating, or just wandering around (in my mind or in the city), taking it all in.

The real me prefers a few very close, deep friendships to lots of activity buddies, and whether I have accepted it or not, my life to date has always very much followed this preference.

The real me focuses best when I take on just one or two projects at a time – the side projects are just distracting, and often a significant drain to my energy and focus.

The real me also doesn’t do well with years-in-advance plans. I suppose this last bit is because for a good three-quarters of my years to date I’ve been in one stage or another of battling a life-threatening disease, and against Past Me’s better judgment, I’ve just developed a strong preference for living moment to moment in my mind rather than racing well on ahead to scope out my retirement years.

I am definitely not anywhere close to decoding the full mystery of “real me.” But I can say that all of this has been and continues to be very, very interesting.

Today’s Takeaway: Are there any discrepancies between the you that you think you need to be in order to be happy and who you really are as a happy person? What can you do to begin to more closely align yourself with your true nature, to learn what makes the authentic you tick, and to allow more of him or her to express through you?