Doing an exercise with Internet entrepreneur Neil Asher
How to appreciate yourself more
Delphi – an archaeological site as well as a town in modern Greece – was the site of the Delphic Oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world. It was also a primary site for the worship of the god Apollo. The priestess of the oracle at Delphi was known as the Pythia, and it was through the Pythia that Apollo offered inspiration and guidance to all who sought his aid. The best known Delphic injunction was carved into the lintel at the Temple of Apollo: “Know Thyself”. It is thought that these words may have originated from Apollo’s response to Chilon of Sparta’s question: “What is best for man?” The reply, “Know thyself,” is similar to the one believed to have been given to the Lydian king, Croesus, when he was told that he must know himself if he would live most happily.
With this in mind, here is a way for you to do just that – to know yourself better and live most happily – using an exercise called 3 Things I Like/Dislike About You…
Pick a friend that you have a good relationship with. Ask them if they’d be willing to do the above-named exercise.
You and your friend each write 3 things you like about the other person and 3 things you dislike. You’ll see why I say ‘write’ later.
Decide who will speak first, then read out the 6 things. If your friend is going first, simply listen to what they say, write their comments down if you can, and notice your reactions. Write those reactions down too.
Once you’ve both shared, talk about the experience.
I’ll give you an example of an interchange from my own life. Until recently Neil Asher ran New Insights Life Coaching from Brighton, on the south coast of England. He taught people how to make money as life coaches. He became a really good friend of mine as we talked quite deeply about our lives and our businesses. I rang him one day and asked if he’d be willing to do this exercise. “Sure,” he said. I gave him the details and then gave him 15 minutes to write his list. When I rang him again 15 minutes later I decided to go first. I read out my list of 6 and then he read out his list. The amazing thing was that the 3 things I liked about him were the exact same 3 things he liked about me. Remarkable. No wonder we like each other. (Incidentally, the 3 things were openness (no holding back, no bullshit), sense of fun/playfulness, and thirst for knowledge.)
“You’re my craziest mate, officially!”
When we got to the Dislikes, he described me as ‘high maintenance’. My jaw dropped. I never considered myself high maintenance at all! I asked Neil why he thought I was high maintenance. He replied that all his other male friends are happy just talking about the simpler things of life with an easy to and fro – and here I was blowing past all that, confronting him, calling to play weird games, and stirring up a little discomfort in him. That was why he considered me high maintenance! “You’re my craziest mate, officially!” he said!
I told Neil that I had a good male friend I’ll call Gavin. I love him dearly for many of the reasons I like Neil, but the trait I see in him that makes me the most uncomfortable is that he is ‘high maintenance’.
What’s the lesson? Gavin represents my shadow: that part of me that I am not consciously aware of. I am both high maintenance and low maintenance, but I was denying that high maintenance part of myself. I had judged it in Gavin, but had not seen how it was serving me. As soon as Neil pointed out my high maintenance side to me, I saw that I really was that, and I was okay with it. As I type this out now and embrace that high maintenance side of myself and others, I notice that my mind becomes clear, a smile comes to my face, and I feel more present.
Create a deeper connection
I did the same exercise with another friend called James when he came round to my home the other day. I’ve known him about a year, and at the end of this session I felt closer to him than I’ve ever felt before. It also became clearer than ever that, although it seemed as if I was describing him as I read out my 6 things, I was actually describing myself. So try this exercise. You’ll learn a lot about yourself, you’ll love yourself more, and you’ll get closer to the other person. Is it risky? Might you be turned down by someone you ask? Absolutely. But would you rather have a close relationship with someone (including yourself) or a distant one? The choice, as always, is yours.
Further ideas/exercises for you to consider…
Get together with your life partner and answer the question ‘What am I not?’ Then when you think of something, ask your partner to give an example of when you were that very thing! For example, you might say, “I’m not cruel”, to which your partner might respond, “You were cruel last week when you said to my best friend…”
Think of a time in the past when your partner called you a name such as ‘selfish idiot.’ Did you disagree with that at the time? Why would you disagree when what your partner said is true? The next time you have a heart-to-heart with you partner, ask him or her about other times they thought you were this. See if you can take that trait on board by understanding that being that way served you and others. To emphasise this point: you can call me any name under the sun and I will agree with you that I am that. If you don’t believe me, create a list of what you think I’m not and email to me via Kate and we can correspond about that so I can prove to your satisfaction that I really am everything, and I’m okay about that. That may give you the space to see that you too are everything. It reminds me of a line from a song by The Stylistics: “You are everything, and everything is you.”
Here’s another exercise: What’s the meanest thing someone has ever said about you? Accept that too. Take it fully on board. Notice how you feel as a result. Most likely you’ll feel a surge of energy.
And answer this question too: What’s the kindest thing someone has ever said about you? Take that fully on board. Notice how you feel as a result.
Well done you if you do all of these! Watch your life transform!
What are your comments on this article? Let me know below in the comments section – or you can contact me directly if you don’t want your comments to appear publicly on this page. (I’ll also send you an exclusive ebook and mp3 that’s not on this site or available in any other way apart from submitting a message.)
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