Seven Questions to Access your Inner Self
These questions are used to clarify when approaching any kind of project, relationship or if you need to access your own knowledge, or yourself on a deeper level.
First thing is to set an objective, intention or purpose for what you desire to attain or accomplish within yourself, with a project, relationship or business. You don’t need to get fancy, you can keep it simple as “I want to know myself better.” Or, “What kind of relationship do I really want?” Or, “Show me what this project is about.” The key to this whole process is to not over think it and just go. Allow yourself permission for this writing to be free form…let it flow like turning on the tap water. *Please note that when I give examples, they may be a bit general and relating to my own life. Please know to make them absolutely your own. You can be flowery with your writing or very matter of the fact and concrete. There is no wrong way to do this practice!
1.) Who am I?
This question can be overwhelming. To begin, take a breath and begin simply. To start the flow of writing, write down some simple self-identifying characteristics such as mom, artist, therapist, herbalist, woman, writer, entrepreneur, or non-binary. Writing down any words gets the flow going. The more you write, the more you will be able to zone in on what feels good to you. Write as much as you like, and spend at least five minutes with each question. Remember, there is no rush.
2.) What is my essential nature?
You begin to dive deeper. These are the intrinsic characteristics you possess. Yes, you possess them already even if you don’t feel like you do. If you are aspiring to uncover some latent qualities, or more ethereal qualities, write them down. For example mystical, humble, reverence for the earth, listener, cultivator, healer, warrior, change maker, compassionate, fiery, bold, loud, quiet, soft, sharp edges.
3.) What do I stand for? (Beliefs & Values)
Simply put, these are your beliefs and values. Beliefs defined as opinions, or an acceptance of something to be true, or religious belief or the absence thereof. Values define as: Beliefs one posses that are acted upon in reality or the way you live your life or lifestyle. Or the dictionary definition of values, “A person’s principles or standards of behavior.” This question may be a bit easier to answer. Most of us have a strong sense of our beliefs and values.
Examples: Staying true to our word, having a routine, Permaculture, women’s rights, feminist, equal rights for all including the earth, gentle parenting, communities coming together to meet their own needs and build their own stability.
4.) What does my career/business stand for?
This one can also be tricky and easy to get hung up on. Yet the key is to not over think it and just write down what is coming to you. If you don’t know what your career of business stands for, that’s great, that is why we are doing this exercise, to find out. Write down any and everything that comes to you. At the end of this exercise, you will look for repeating themes, words, and phrases. These are the things that your business and career stand for. Or what you personally stand for.
Example: Creating a space that women can see their own power through adornments on the body through intentional tattooing in a spa-like, ambient atmosphere.
5.) Who do I serve? Who is my audience? Who are my people?
Some of you already have people you serve. You know your audience, and your people well. That’s good! Write them down. It may not take much time for you on this one. If you are having a hard time answering this one, that’s ok. Look to question number three. You will match the people who hold your same beliefs and values, these people are your audience and people. Who you serve can be answered concretely, or a wish for the future. Examples: “I serve moms, I serve the earth.” If you need further clarification, revisit your answers to questions one and two and begin to match the qualities of yourself to the people you serve. This question can sometimes be tricky when starting out. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like you’ve hit the nail on the head on the first go with this one. Remember, this is a process practice, and the only real way to know is by doing it.
Examples: Moms, women, herbalists, permaculturists, women of color, people who get tattooed, psychologists. Keep in mind these are my examples relating to my life but if you are a therapist, your list may be something like this, “sexual abuse warriors/survivors, people living with PTSD, moms, transgender folks.”
6.) What am I offering? Why do people want what I am offering?
Keep this one very straightforward. I will give a handful of examples to spark the fire.
“I am offering therapy services to women who are warriors/survivors of sexual abuse.”
“I am offering intentional tattooing to women in an ambient, spa-like space.”
“I am offering support and care to my patients who come through the door of the emergency room.”
To answer the second part of this question, we use empathy and try to put ourselves in our clients, customers, or patients shoes. Your answer from the perspective of whoever will be on the receiving end of your services. If this is pertaining to a relationship, you answer from the perspective of your partner or potential partner.
7.) What does the journey/ project/ relationship/ business want to be?
This is a question you don’t get to answer. Sounds crazy, I know. What needs to happen here is silence. Begin to listen for a voice that is not yours, this is the voice of your project or objective. This question is important because you remove yourself from the equation to allow some magic to happen. Make yourself a hollow reed, and begin writing what you hear.
Lastly, ask that your journey or project fulfills a need for the people.
“I ask that this project fulfills a need or the needs of people who will be receiving this”
That’s it, that is all you need to do is ask. You don’t write anything down. You ask, and sit in silence, again, letting magic happen. This is likened to a wish, a prayer, a request of the universe. There seems to be an opportunity for this endeavor to become a practice of selflessness and service to the world. It allows the appropriate need(s) to be fulfilled for our clients, customers, and patients.
There can be a large sense of trepidation about this whole process. I personally think that it is because our whole lives we receive direct and indirect instructions on how to behave, think, feel. We grow nervous that this thing needs to be perfect. It does, but not in the sense of perfectionism, it needs to be perfectly YOURS! Bumps, broils, brambles, beauty and all! Authentically yours. Celebrate that there are no wrong answers and the only way to overcome these anxieties about this process is to do it. You can refine this exercise and repeat it and make it your own. Make it something that feels good to you. A place to come home to within yourself. Listening, seeing, hearing, feeling and smelling your inner landscape, knowing it and then sharing it with the world in whatever capacity you see fit. Or you may never share what you come up with the world because it’s not important to anyone but you. It cannot be stressed enough that this practice is largely what you make it and what you personally need.
After I ask all the questions and answer them. I start to boil it all down and look for themes, reoccurring words, phrases, feelings, people. Highlight or underline the words that pop for you, that reoccur. Then I repeat the process again, answering questions 1-7. This time only focusing on the key phrases, words, themes, and patterns with a whole lot of brevity. You may need to repeat this practice two to three times to get it to the end goal. The goal is to extract the essence of who you are, having answered these questions in a single, powerful sentence. Much like an elevator pitch with heart and soul. This process of repetition and refining your words can be a process that you do not want to rush. It could take a day, a week or a month. It is up to you to discern your inner voice when the vision is complete. What is helpful is to find physical spaces that make you feel so good. Gorgeous nature spaces, with mountains, trees, and water, or your favorite coffee shop. These spaces that make you feel so good puts you in the perfect space for your real needs, values, and facets to bubble to the surface. Check with your partner or family to make time for this exercise in solitude. We live in the modern world, and many of us have children and sometimes these spaces are not as accessible. If anything, try to give yourself some writing time when the kids are at swimming lessons, or at the park, or at home. Make it happen. One does not have to sit down for a full hour at one time to make progress with this practice, but it does really support whatever your objective is to give it the proper time and space to come into fruition. Once you are complete, you are ready to move forward with your project, or goal with a clear sense of vision of where you are going, what people you need to meet, what places to be looking for, what attitudes to surround yourself with. These questions are for people who thrive with living on the edge. These people are trailblazers, forging into the unknown. These questions become a flashlight in the darkness.
I hope that you have enjoyed this exercise and have gained what you need from it. Take what works for you and discard the rest. For your convenience that is a free downloadable pdf of the questions so that you can take them everywhere with you on your phone, tablet, laptop or print it out and give it to a friend! If you have enjoyed this piece, please, like, comment and share with a friend!
Kristina Cyr is a traveling artist, tattooer, wife, mom and expat based in Barcelona, Spain.