Do you underestimate yourself?  It's kinda sneaky how that happens.

We underestimate ourselves when we accept limitations and don't notice. Our assumptions go invisible on us. They stop looking like assumptions and simply look like the truth. We then act accordingly.

Personally I know that I have at times hugely underestimated myself. I only saw how invisible this was when kind friends pointed it out to me. But it's not easy to hear. Ever witnessed someone defending their limitations? Maybe you even tried to talk them out of it when they asserted they aren't "the kind of person who..." or "tried but can't..."  

I don't have any trouble calling to mind someone I know who can't quite see for themselves just how attractive, strong, capable, loving or giving they are.  

A quote attributed to Henry Ford is

Whether you think you can
or whether you think you can't
either way
you are right
A nice way of saying we LIVE what we think and we do not realize that we are the thinker. This is why we become blind to our constructs, assume whatever we think is true and why we hate being challenged about it.  

The whole package that makes up what I call "myself" is only a mystery to one person: Me. And it's amazing how wrong we can be about our own base assumptions of who we are. 

Underestimating yourself always arises from who you assume you are.

The question "who am I?" deserves more airplay than we give it. Not only are we not entertaining the question, we seem to be moving away from contemplative traditions in which these kinds of questions mattered. We no longer engage in pure inquiry. Are we so intolerant of mystery that we would rather be wrong than not know something.

The price we pay for this is to be overly-engaged in our assumptions. And from the assumption that there is something fundamentally limited about us arises the desire to improve who we are. 

Why improve who you think you are when you can simply look to see who you really are "before" the personality arrived that you call YOU. 

"Who am I" or better said, "What is I?"  are invitations to peek underneath the construct of ourselves, beyond the false self that we made up and just see. What came before the thoughts of "I."

I have come to appreciate these contemplations, and to enjoy following where they lead. 

Are you the limited person you think you are?  What if you are not?

This self I call me seems nothing more than a bouquet of thoughts, rather than facts. I call them me, but really they are air. They are concepts -- ideas that have nothing to do with who I am or what I am capable of  -- if I weren't so interested in what I think about myself.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.  
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.  
The dark will be your womb
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.  
You must learn one thing:
the world was made to be free in...
(David Whyte, Excerpt from Sweet Darkness)

As I write this I am preparing the last live broadcast of my show "A New Way To Handle Absolutely Everything" on Contact Talk Radio (iTunes podcasts will continue)  What lies ahead, I'm not entirely sure. 

I must admit, I have always been a great big know-it-all. And a planner. I like to think I have a future, some influence over it, and that I know something.

The truth is, I don't.

Only the other day I was about to state one of my opinions as "fact" when I  caught myself.  As I pulled back I noticed I quieted down inside and settled into  the nicest feeling of not being a somebody.  I remembered how important it used to be to me to know (or to not look like I didn't) and to be seen as having authority.  It's amazing, isn't it, how life is hard enough and yet on top of that we have the full time job of managing our image of ourselves!

I've learned so much about this and have relaxed much more into my authentic self in recent years.

In "101 New Pairs of Glasses" I included quite a few chapters on releasing this kind of strain and my favorite is the chapter on mystery. In it I advocate for the art of not-knowing. I'd like to remind myself of this message today

How do we listen and just let it become clear as we go?

Are we able to just rest in the fresh scent of the unknown and see what happens?

I'd like to share this piece from the chapter on mystery, mainly as a reminder to myself how valuable it is for me allow mystery to be here as I take each step...

"The desire to know, or worse, the desire to look like we know is a modern plague. In one fell swoop it destroys listening, understanding, cooperation and learning.  It undermines peace of mind and peace amongst nations.

Consumed by our desire to know, or not admit that we don't, we finish other people's sentences, we hate people we have never met, and we cling to things we have long outgrown.

Living in the world of familiarity our lives are choked off by the smallness of our ideas.  Crowded in by the known we become selectors instead of creators. The death of curiosity is surely the birth of the ego, as children give up on being explorers of wild imaginings and doodads without names and become regurgitators of facts. 

Our lack of curiosity leads directly to our unwillingness to fail and spreads from there to our unwillingness to try - because we already know.  We know too much. And what we know isn't worth learning.

To allow wonder and mystery into your life is to suddenly find yourself in weightless spaciousness.  We work so hard to fuel personal creativity, business and product innovation, but we would automatically have all of these if we added just an extra dash of curiosity to our daily vitamin supplements.

Imagine not knowing your boss, not knowing your children, not knowing yourself - being totally open.  You'd listen closely. You would see new and amazing things. You'd discover the people you live with are people you've never met before. In the freshness of the moment you would unable to locate that familiar feeling of disconnection.

You would see into how your world is constructed. You'd gasp to realize you are much bigger than you ever imagined. 

You'd lose your fear."

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