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Saturday, June 18, 2016


Years ago, during a time that I was fortunate enough to have made my home in San Francisco, one of my very favorite past times was hanging out in Golden Gate Park, watching and observing the myriad of people who happened by. There were people on roller skates, tricycles, bicycles and unicycles...some dressed in clown suits, some like mimes...some who were singing for their supper and some who just sang. Something I realized back then, and again recently while people-watching at the Marina in Brookings Harbor the other day, is that even if you don't know them, people will always tell you who they merely need to observe.

I remember a lady who ran around the park with a sign that read, "Free Hugs," draped around her neck, who everyone labelled as crazy, but what I realized about this woman as I watched her was that she most likely had no one at home to receive the vast amount of love she had to give and she really wanted to share this gift with humanity. She would just walk up and hug random people, whether they welcomed her or not. I found it so interesting as to the varied responses she would get...some people would hug her back, smile and say thank you (these were people who were open to change and pretty happy-go-lucky, positive people)...others would cuss at her and push her away (the introverted, easily annoyed, keep-to-themselves type of people who did not take kindly to change)...and still others would walk way around her in order to avoid her altogether (the people who usually sit back in life and weigh everything out before making a decision...they may let her hug them one day, after they pass by her many times and determine that she is "safe," but they may not). I could sit and watch her for hours (and often did). I wish I could have afforded a video camera back then.

I also loved to observe the mimes, although they could become annoying when they got right in your face, but those who would pretend they were mechanical people would amuse me. It was like they were saying, "Look what I can do...I hope it makes you happy." I felt like they were not only trying to convey their talent, but to also use it to get people to smile and/or react in a positive way.

There is an old saying that goes, "actions speak louder than words," and, although I love words, I find that to be such a true statement. If you can get past what people are saying to you and observe their behavior, you will discover who they are...and you may be one of the few who do. It is so difficult to figure out who we are...we all have some idea, but very few of us have a full understanding of the whole picture as it consists of so many layers.

One of the classes I took recently on wellness coaching talked about an exercise wherein you write down everything you eat throughout the day to find out, not only how it is affecting your physical body, but also as to why you might be craving those particular foods and then make adjustments accordingly. I went a step further and realized that you could do the same thing with your actions to gain a better understanding of some of your hidden layers. An example here might be carrying a journal throughout the day and writing things down as they happen, i.e. I was in the grocery store today and helped a lady get some items from a tall shelf or A man with a cane was standing next to me where I was sitting on the bus, but I didn't give him my seat. Whatever the action may be, write it down and be extremely honest with your observations...don't add excuses to it either (like I didn't give him my seat because my back was hurting) won't reveal those layers by lying to yourself or making excuses. 

It is quite an eye-opener to discover who you really are, but remember to love and respect yourself and be proud of who you are no matter what you discover. Make the changes you need to make to be the person you are proud of. You can get away from most people, but you have to live with yourself 100% of the time.

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