Ask Yourself This

By Wendy Craig-Purcell

Examining what we say “yes” to or what we agree to in our lives can tell us a lot about our priorities. Priorities can, in turn, tell us a great deal about ourselves. Where we spend our time and money is a powerful indicator of what we truly value. If you open your calendar, your checkbook and your credit card statement, you will see an important picture of what you are saying “yes” to in your life. We vote with how we spend our dollars and how we spend our time. What do you agree to in your life? Through both your words and actions, what do you say “yes” to?

A fun exercise is to ask yourself the following questions to see how you show up while doing life's routine tasks. The answers are valuable indicators of what you consciously or unconsciously project to the world.

How do you drive in traffic? Our habits when behind the wheel speak volumes. When faced with a sea of brake lights ahead, do you aggressively change lanes to find the fastest route? Or do you calmly wait for your turn to move? When the light turns yellow, do you step on the gas even though you could stop? Or do you steadily but firmly apply the brakes so as not to risk an accident?

When you play board games with your family or friends, do you play for the sheer fun of it or do you play only to win?

How do you talk to your mother when you think no one is listening? Do you treat those close to you with love because you want to? Or because you feel you have to?

How do you treat your waiter or waitress at a restaurant? We can determine a lot about how we perceive our own status from how we treat those who serve us.

What do you spend your money on? Where we place our hard-earned income is one of the most powerful assessments of our priorities.

What makes you laugh? Humor can reveal our inner nature. Do you laugh at the expense of others? Or do you laugh with the joy and elation of others?

What makes you angry? What makes you cry? The way you respond to annoyances, challenges and hardships provides a snapshot of the inner workings of your personality.

We can learn even more about our inner selves by examining any discrepancies between what we value and what we are projecting through our actions. When we can identify differences in what we believe and how we actually show up in life, we can begin to see how our life is a manifestation of our consciousness. What are we really saying “yes” to in our day-to-day actions?

If there is a discrepancy between how we live and what we believe in, our lives will lack coherence. We feel it when we are not living according to our highest, most closely held values. We feel unfulfilled and scattered. While living according to our values isn't easy, addressing the discrepancies is the first step to living a more authentic life and truly loving ourselves.

This article is an excerpt from Wendy Craig-Purcell's book Ask Yourself This, published by Unity Books. Craig-Purcell is founding minister and CEO of The Unity Center, a 1,500-member spiritual community in San Diego, Calif.