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Nov 24 2022

When Our Inner and Outer Selves Are Out of Synch

Author: Sue Horwitz, AFL Client Coach

As you look back at the year, do you ever wonder whether you are doing the right thing? Whether what you are doing is worth it?

You are not alone, and because so many aspects of our lives tug at us, we feel out of balance. And that lack of balance creates pressure.

We have more control over these tensions when we examine their genesis.

Our outer self is who we appear to be in public. Therefore, we curate our behaviors to present ourselves at our best. Our external self worries about how we look, how much money we have, and managing the demands of work, kids, spouses, etc.

Our inner selves are our spirituality, emotions, feelings, and a sense of purpose. When you are connected to your inner self, you can connect with your feelings, are self-aware, have a good understanding of your values, and are resilient. But unfortunately, our inner self can get lost in day-to-day life. Meaning our daily routines cause us to be on autopilot. As a result, many of us do not know we are in conflict until our life falls apart.

When you feel a conflict between your inner and outer self, it is time to review your values and your external actions. For example:

If friendship is an essential value to you, but your work requires you to travel all the time, consider what you will change to fulfill that value.

And you can go deeper by journaling answers to these questions:

  • In what ways are your inner life values, emotions, and desires supported by your outer life?
  • How is what you are doing and living in alignment with what you want to pursue in life?
  • When you look back at this time of your life, will you be comfortable with your choices?

When you notice gaps between the inner and outer self, prioritize which voids you want to solve first. In the above example about friends, one person may decide when to work fewer hours; another may elect to switch jobs.

The changes we choose to make may be big or small (which does not matter) if the tension between inner and outer is relieved. The goal is to live our best lives.

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