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The Freedom of Vulnerability & Self-Examination

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

Kristin Reiswig February 2, 2017 My story

I am a seeker of knowledge. I love to learn.  I’ve spent the better part of my adult life seeking truth—mostly about myself. I am consistently looking at myself. I know, all of this may sound conceited, but it really isn't. My intention is ALWAYS to be better, do better, love better, give better. 

But again, after some self-examination, I realize that I do NOT have a problem just being me. For the most part, I am a very open, honest, vulnerable person. I do love myself. I love myself enough to make improvements. That does not mean I am not accepting of myself. It means I see ALL of myself. I recognize areas that could use improvement, a little adjustment, some shining up.

I am currently reading a personal development book called ‘Better than Before’ by Gretchen Rubin. It is a book about making and breaking habits. I’ve shared before that I struggle with discipline and consistency (except when it comes to looking at myself, hahaha). It is something I desire to change about myself. It is something that I am tackling this year! I don’t expect to be perfectly disciplined or consistent on December 31st. However, I do expect to be better and to do better.

The first portion of this book is about self-knowledge. Of course, I loved that! But seriously, I believe self-knowledge is SO key to life. It brings with it so much power to change yourself, your circumstances, your mindset, and in this case, your habits.  It says, “To shape our habits successfully, we must know ourselves”  Yes! 

Last night, as I was reading, I came across a couple of things that gave me that “aha!” moment. Different things work for different people. Right, I know that. We are similar in many ways and different in many ways. Okay, I know that.  But it is our differences that are very important. In a social media and a media-influenced world, so many people compare themselves to others. They steal the joy from their own lives, their own purpose, trying to live someone else’s life.

I don’t know about you, but I want to live my life, pursue my purpose, with my strengths, weaknesses, and flaws!

Some of the questions the author was asking and explaining in detail were about discovering what “type” of person you are. For example, “Are you a morning or night person?” A few of these stood out to me and gave me some great clarity about myself and the way I have been doing things, and why I might be failing at discipline and consistency.

The first question that made me think was to choose between the following three types of people. A Marathoner (slow and steady, dislikes deadlines), a Sprinter (works in quick bursts of intense effort, enjoys deadlines), and a Procrastinator (resemble Sprinters, dislikes deadlines).

When I read off the three options to my husband, he said I am definitely a Sprinter. I had to explain that actually, I am a Procrastinator. I am a Procrastinator because “Sprinters choose to work at the last minute because the pressure of a deadline clarifies their thoughts; Procrastinators hate last-minute pressure and wish they could force themselves to work before the deadline looms”. And here is the real kicker for me. “Procrastinators agonize about the work they are not doing, which makes it hard for them to do anything fun or meaningful with their time.” Yes, yes and yes! That describes me to a “T!”! Sometimes, it feels like I am paralyzed by a lack of motivation because I have so much to do. Which makes, uh, NO sense!

However, now that I have this self-knowledge, I can decide what I want to do with that information. Do I want to recognize the fact that I am a procrastinator and accept it? Do I want to recognize that fact and strive to be a Sprinter or Marathoner?  Or, do I want to recognize that behavior and work to find my own happy medium, that works for my life and my procrastinating tendencies? 

See what I mean about self-knowledge giving you power? I have choices and options! I now have the knowledge and opportunity to accept myself and better myself, but with grace, because I have the proper knowledge of who I am and what my tendencies are.

The second question that brought on an “aha!” moment was, “Are you a simplicity lover or an abundance lover?” This one stumped me a little at first. The simplicity lover is attracted to the idea of “less,” of emptiness, bare surfaces and shelves, and few choices. They easily feel overwhelmed when there is too much noise, too much stuff, or too much happening at once. While I relate with all of those, especially feeling overwhelmed with too many choices, too much noise, and too much happening at once, I can relate to a few qualities of the abundance lover.

Side note: I tend to get most frustrated in my inward reflections and self work because a majority of the time I fall right in the middle of things. I don’t significantly lean one way or the other. For example, that new term Ambivert, that is floating around about being neither introvert or extrovert: Well, that would be me.  So, when I came to this question and I was relating to both, I thought “how typical.” But, one of the realizations I took away from that is…“Yes, Kristin, you are an enigma wrapped up in a mystery; however, it’s time to stop looking at these quirks like a bad thing.” I need to start using the best of both sides to my favor, since I can relate to both. 

Okay, back to the second question. The quality about the abundance lover I related with is when changing habits the abundance lover may be attracted to addition and variety. I like variety. When I paired this knowledge with another question further into the chapter about being a finisher or an opener, it answered a huge stumbling block in my life. I’m an online fitness coach who does not enjoy working out. Ha! I know. Like I said, an enigma wrapped up in a mystery. Specifically, in regards to coaching, this was a freeing moment for me. I see other coach friends completing program after program. I have never completed one specific program. I tend to jump around, because I have a little bit of that abundance lover in me that likes variety, and because I’m an opener/starter. Not a finisher. Yet, I've been judging myself for that, when I should just be embracing it. I realized that I need to stop trying to make myself something I'm not, just because that's what other coaches do. By judging myself and trying to "make" myself finish a program, I'm actually making it harder on myself to create a habit because that's not who I am. It's not how I function.

So there you have it. My self-knowledge. Now it’s time to take action on what I have learned about myself. Sometimes the knowledge you learn can be freeing, like the things above. I’ve learned that I have been trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I’ve learned that I’ve been judging for myself for things that I did not have full knowledge about. I realized I was going about my desire for consistency and discipline in the wrong way. I realized that I was comparing myself to what others do, what works for them, instead of searching for what works for me. 

Sometimes the self-knowledge you learn can be the opposite of freeing. From time to time, you will discover something about your personality, character, habits, temperament, or life that needs significant change. These journeys can feel oppressive instead of freeing. I encourage you to stay the course when you are working on yourself. It may be a hard road, the road less traveled, but it will be a rewarding journey. 

Tagged: personal development, health and fitness, mental health

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Thy Will Be Done

Kristin Reiswig December 14, 2016

Thy will be done I don't understand why God took our kids. Why God chose for their path to be leaving our home. It's hard to count it all joy. I'm trying to make sense of all Your promises. I'm so confused how we tried to do everything right. We took classes. We sought God. We tried to do everything out of a Christ like attitude. Sometimes we would say to one another "heaping coals, heaping coals". (if your unsure what that is in reference to, here ya go-“If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.” Proverbs‬ ‭25:21-22‬ ‭ESV‬. ) I vowed not to treat them any differently or love them any less than my own flesh and blood. We sacrificed. We went without. We humbled ourselves. We drew closer. We drifted apart. We felt on the verge of insanity. We hurt. We cried. We grieved. We mourned.  We wanted what was best! Not for just us, but all of us (ex included). We love/d you with the right motives! We love/d you inclusive of all the people in your lives! We love/d you with no conditions! We loved you more! Why did they leave us. Why did they leave when we had heard Your voice tell us to take the high road. Don't bad mouth just because she is. Don't combat evil with evil. Turn the other cheek. Heap coals. Why can't they see that?!?! How did we end up here. How is my broken heart a part of your plan? How are my kids', their brother and sisters, broken hearts a part of your plan? How is their fathers broken heart a part of your plan? I know you hear me. You hear the desires of my heart. You hear my cries. You see my hurt.

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