Exercise: Personal Treasure Hunt
For this exercise you will need a piece of paper, a pen, and about twenty minutes of solitude in a comfortable, quiet space.
Draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper, and then invite an attitude of quiet reflection. On the left side, write the names of people you have admired, living or dead. Then on the right side, list your reasons for why you admire each person. What qualities are you drawn to? Think about special talents, values, strengths, acts of kindness, and ways in which these have become visible in his or her life choices.
Once you have completed this list, fold the paper along the centerline so only the qualities on the right can be seen. Now take a good, long look and read the traits or qualities out loud, pausing to reflect on the words. Do this carefully because the traits you have listed here about others are also a part of you. Some may be aspects or traits you have quietly tried to develop in your life; others may be aspects of you that are hiding in your shadow. Either way let this exercise be a profound moment of recognition. You have these traits, whether they are expressed right now or not.
Now that you have completed the first task, try this follow-up exercise. Think of a handful of people whom you know you can trust to be honest, those who know you now as well as people who knew you way back when, such as high school chums. Ask them what they would say are the traits or attributes they see in you that are similar to traits in themselves that they like. Acknowledge to them that this may seem like an odd exercise, but let them know you are doing an experiment.
The outcomes you will gain are some surprising revelations of gifts you have that you were not aware of or unique ways you have impacted friends or family. By the completion of this exercise, you will be filled up with treasures that may have you feeling humility and joy.
If you are really brave and willing to be naked, ask your spouse or long-time partner what made you attractive back when you first met. Then do the same for your spouse or partner. You may either do this as a reflective conversation, or write down your answers and share later. Either way, you are mining gold and gems that have been hidden under the dust in your life.
Take it all in, and fill your metaphorical shoulder bag with these treasures. Put them in a safe place. They will help you become ever more real to yourself. On days when you are feeling a little blue or disconnected, admire your gems. They are always a part of who you are, and they will guide you on whatever path you are walking.
Read more in my book:
Getting Naked: On Emotional Transparency at the Right Time, the Right Place, and with the Right Person: Ways to Uncover Your Authentic Self at Work, Home, in Relationships, and Life