This is a transcript of Live the 8Wise™ Way Podcast.
Who am I and Why Does it Matter?
Hi everybody and welcome to this episode four of Live The 8Wise Way so you can improve your mental health and wellbeing for a healthier, happier mind and better quality of life. My name is Kim Rutherford. I am a psychotherapist and author and also now I’m a podcast host and I just happened to be the person who developed the 8Wise™ method for better mental health and wellbeing.
If you’ve listened to some of the previous episodes, then I explained that I did this on the back of my own mental health battle and how I’ve used it with other people, and in the previous episodes we’ve obviously also covered what the model looks like, the full spectrum with the four dimensions, and that each dimension having two different elements within it to create the eight elements of 8Wise™. So far, we have covered two of those elements. We have covered emotional wellness and we have covered physical wellness, which are the two elements for number one dimension, the foundation dimension.
But today we are going to be moving to the next dimension, dimension two, which is the internal dimension, our inner world. So, if you haven’t done it yet, press that subscribe button so you know when the next episodes are coming out, so you don’t have to miss a thing. As always, if you want to create some really good tangible outcomes as you listen to these podcast episodes, then feel free to use the book 8Wise™ Ways to a Healthier, Happier Mind alongside it. There you’ll find more information, more facts and more tools and techniques that you can use moving forward to develop your own mental health and wellbeing. Those books are available anywhere that sell books online, so all the usual places, plus you can get them directly from me at my website www.8wise.co.uk. If you do head to the website, then you can also go to the downloads tab that’s at the top of the page, that gives you access to all of the free resources that I have available to you as well. Hey, whilst you’re there why not check out my other services, my one-to-one services and my training services and all of that kind of stuff that’s available for you to look at as well. There’s a couple of blogs in there you might find interesting too. That’s at www.8wise.co.uk.
But today we are talking about spiritual wellness and spiritual wellness, really it comes down to ‘who am I’ and ‘why does it matter’ because that’s a big one. Why does it matter if we boost our spiritual wellness? It makes a lot more sense with emotional wellness and physical wellness, you know, get a healthy body, get a healthy mind, but spiritual wellness, a lot of people start looking at me like, oh, something’s going wrong in my… like I’m a bit weird, I’m a bit of crazy, crazy fool to be thinking that it’s so important and, to be honest, maybe the way that I think about spiritual wellness is very different to how other people might think about spiritual wellness.
A lot of people talk about spiritual wellness from the concept of the divine and trying to find a belief system for the external divine but, for me, spiritual wellness is all about me and your spiritual wellness should all be about you.
I think we spend a lot of time trying to find external things to believe in and develop a belief system around external things, things that aren’t inside of us where, for me, I think the ultimate spiritual wellness is about connecting with the spirituality of yourself, which doesn’t have to have anything to do with religion or anything like that, it’s about really understanding who you are, what you want, what you need, why you want it, why you need it and how you might develop it. I think it’s really important from a spiritual wellness perspective for you to really get to know yourself. By doing that and almost understanding yourself warts and all, the good, the bad and the ugly, and getting to a stage where we accept all of that, what we then do is naturally develop better self-esteem and confidence, which means that we are able to navigate our life more effectively and if we are able to navigate our life more effectively with really good self-esteem and really good confidence, then it really helps us to reduce the risk of developing those issues that trigger our emotional wellness and then trigger our physical wellness as well. Meaning that we are in a way preventing potential mental health issues.
If you think about mental health, a lot of mental health problems do actually come from high levels of stress and high levels of stress sometimes are linked directly to this inner belief system that we have about ourselves and who we are and what we are and what we can achieve and how the world sees us and I think sometimes, the reality and the truth behind those thought processes is very, very different to what we tell ourselves. That’s why, for me, spiritual wellness is so important because if we don’t know who we are, how can we ever live a life that is meaningful to us? How can we ever live a life that makes us happy or brings us joy and how can we ever navigate a life that allows us to be true to ourselves and therefore is an authentic response to the life that we live? So, for me, spiritual wellness is incredibly important.
After we’ve got this healthy body, healthy mind, the next thing is about getting to know ourselves, truly connecting with ourselves and getting to know ourselves. So, the answer to the question who am I and why does it even matter is because, ultimately, if you don’t know who you are, nothing else matters because how can you have a life, how can you live it fully, how can you be happy, how can you be strong, how can you move forward? You can’t do any of those things if you don’t know who you are and more to the point, you’re not living a life that is authentic to who you are. So, these are the types of things that you need to be thinking about when it comes to your own spiritual wellness.
The first one I focus on is values and knowing what values are important to you in this world. The reason why values are so important is because values are really at the crux of why you respond to certain things in life, why you respond the way you do to things in life and why you naturally align yourself to certain things and certain people and certain adventures in this life as well. Those values can be internal and external, like everything, because we are an internal being, this is why this is the internal dimension, but we are triggered from external elements.
One of the activities that I give to a lot of my clients is to be able to identify their top 10 values and the way I get them to do this is I give them a sheet of about 50 different values, keywords with a little bit of information about what each value is, and I ask them to read every single one and pick the 10 values that they connect to the most. People struggle with that. It’s not easy to go from 50 to 10 and then what I say is ‘right, now you’ve got your top 10, now what I want you to do is list them in order of importance, which is the number one value, and which is the lesser of the top 10’ and people really struggle with that. It’s really difficult for people to do because suddenly they go, ‘well I wanted all 50 and now I can’t have all 50’. I guarantee that people always pick values to start with that have got the buzzword connected to them. So, for example, big buzzword on the social media scene at the moment is kindness, and don’t get me wrong it’s a really, really good value to have, but people always put it down. Now do they put it down because they truly believe in it, or do they put it down because that’s what society is expecting them to hold as their value. If that’s the case, and this is what I do with my clients, I will question them because I don’t see the point in aligning to a value that isn’t something you manifest into your life and, don’t get me wrong, most people are kind on a regular basis and kindness is something that most people are probably striving to do, but is it as important to you as all of the other potentials and this is the kind of thing you’ve got to really look at.
So that’s why I get them to go from 50 to 10 and then rank their 10 from one to 10. Then what I get them to do is one of my favourite activities, is actually to create what I would call a value-based CV. So, a lot of the CVs that we create in this world for ourselves is based on our experience within the workplace and I go ‘well, actually, I want you to now develop something based on your values and how they’ve helped you navigate through life’. So, we look at it as stating what those values are in your personal statement element, we look at the skills connected to your values, we look at the experiences you’ve had and the successes that you’ve had because of those values and we also look at the references, as in what people in your life would be happy to write a reference for you based on your values and how you demonstrate them.
When we go through this process, and it’s hard, it’s really difficult because for so many of us, we don’t really spend time talking to ourselves, looking at ourselves, reflecting on ourselves and really understanding what is important and what do we value. So a lot of the starting blocks have to be, if you don’t know where to start with your values, have a think about the things in life that really make you angry, really frustrate you and what you’ll find is the polar opposite to those things is what your value is, and the reason those things make you angry and the reason those things frustrate you is because they go against your core values.
Values are important in everything that we do, even when it comes to relationships for example. When we’re in a relationship, the most successful relationships that we can have are with people who share the same values as us. That’s the common language between us all when we share the same values. When we’re in a relationship with somebody who has different values, whether it’s an intimate relationship or a friendship or a work colleague relationship, that’s when we start to see the relationship breaking down, that’s when we start to have issues and barriers, and we can’t communicate as effectively with somebody because our values just don’t align and it’s when it comes to the breakdown of a relationship. A lot of the time, somebody hasn’t necessarily done anything wrong, it’s just that our values don’t align to each other and therefore the relationship is no longer a healthy relationship for us. No one has to be right, no one has to be wrong. It can just simply be we are not a good fit, we don’t match, our values don’t match.
So, values are really important from the perspective of understanding who you are and what is important in your life. But equally important to values is your beliefs. Your beliefs, in my opinion, the biggest beliefs you should be thinking about are the belief connected to who you are and your self-worth and where this self-esteem comes from and again, it’s really important that you put some time and effort and focus into self-esteem.
I explain to my clients that self-esteem is a bit like, you build your self-esteem the same way that you build a brick wall. Throughout your life from early childhood, that brick wall is being helped to be built from the important people in your life, whether it be your parents, your guardians, your schoolteachers, people in the community, siblings, whoever it might be. They are helping to develop your self-esteem brick by brick by the way they treat you, the way they speak you, the way they spend time with you, that nurturing experience. If everything goes according to plan, then each brick is perfectly in place, you have a really, really strong brick wall, which means you’ve got really good self-esteem. But sometimes in life things go wrong, whether it be traumatic experience in childhood or traumatic experience in adulthood and it means that sometimes we’re missing a few bricks. In those moments, it means we’ve got holes in our wall and when we’ve got holes in our wall to our self-esteem, our beliefs about ourselves can be changed. We can start to look at ourselves as not worthy, as not important, as we don’t deserve the things that we have. We don’t deserve to be happy. Almost we have a thinking mindset in a critical dialogue that starts to beat us up on a regular basis because we’ve got these missing holes and obviously we’ve got the holes in the wall because of the missing bricks, must be a reason it must be because we weren’t good enough, it must be all of those negative statements that we tell ourselves.
So what happens then is we tend to try and look externally. So our belief system is then, well, I’m going to have to try and get something externally, I believe that if other people believe in me, then I can believe in myself. If I believe in a divine being, then maybe I’ll be able to believe in myself, if I am perfect at absolutely everything, then maybe then I can believe in myself. We create these belief systems and these assumptions around these types of things. But sometimes our belief systems work for us and suddenly we are getting strength from the belief systems that we’ve got, but a lot of the time they work against us as well and so it’s really important for us to spend the time, again, developing those values, understanding our belief systems, knowing where those belief systems come from and challenging them if they’re not working for us, if they are holding us back, if they’re blocking us in some way.
So those values and beliefs about ourselves, and who we are, and how we’re going to navigate this world are really, really important for developing a healthy mind because when we know ourselves on that level, suddenly our confidence to do things is much, much stronger so we’re more willing to do things. We’re more willing to put ourselves out there, we’re more optimistic, we’re willing to take more opportunities.
So we get the values, we get these strong beliefs and then from them, we develop this core purpose and we all have one, what is the reason we get out of bed every single day, what is it that drives us, what is it that’s pushing us forward, on the toughest of days why are we still doing what we are doing and we all have it. For some of us it’s the kids, our purpose is to create a better life for our kids. For someone else, it might be for me, my purpose is to develop, this is to help people to manage their mental health and wellbeing so people can be mentally healthier moving forward and genuinely live a healthier, happier life. I believe that’s my purpose. My husband, bless him, he probably believes that his purpose is to be the best rugby player on the planet and I’m not going to take that away from him if that’s what he wants to believe. That’s what his purpose is, and he loves it.
We’ve all got our purpose, whatever our purpose might be, and it’s our purpose that gets us out of bed every day, it’s our purpose that keeps us fighting in this world when we’ve had the roughest of times and our purpose is usually heavily linked to our value base and also to our belief systems as well.
So it is really important to be able to identify all of these area. I would always be looking to do that internally rather than looking externally all the time. There’s nothing wrong in trying to look for these things externally but realistically, you are the only person in the whole world who has lived your experiences. You’re the only person in the whole world who has your memories. You’re the only person in the world, therefore, who has all of the answers to your own questions. You can listen to other people, listen to a million and one podcasts about other people, and you can be inspired by those people but unless you do the self-reflection work on yourself, those people are just providing you with information. It’s up to you to do the bigger piece of work and actually go now who am I, what do I want, why do I want it, what am I doing in this world, why am I living my life this way, why am I responding to things this way and am I living a life that is authentic to who I truly am or am I living a life based on who I think society expects me to be, or my family expects me to be. Which mask are you wearing or are you wearing no mask at all, and that’s values, belief and purpose.
Now, as I said, self-esteem comes from this, and self-acceptance must also come from this as well. So not only do we need to learn to manage the inner critic with regards to our spiritual wellness, we need to develop a more positive inner voice as well.
Now many of us have an internal critic. I like to think of them as the demon bully and one of the best ways of handling the demon bully is naming it and shaming it because it’s a lot easier to ignore somebody than it is to ignore yourself and it is a lot easier to dislike a character than it is to dislike yourself as a character, as a real person. So we can beat ourselves up an awful lot, but if we can create that demon, that inner critical voice that doesn’t know who they are, doesn’t know what they want and doesn’t know why they want it and therefore beats you up because of all of those things. Let’s call it Bob, you have Bob, and Bob sits on your shoulder and every single time you’re trying to achieve something amazing, every time you’re just getting to that stage where you believe in who you are and you’re confident in something and Bob raises ugly head, you can just say Bob, not today, or you can tell yourself it’s okay Bob is being an idiot. Bob has no power here and it’s a lot easier to do that kind of work.
So it’s really important, as I said, that you develop your values, that you develop your belief system, that you develop your purpose and understand your purpose and start to live a life that’s true to it and authentic to it and it’s really important to do all of this if you want to have better self-esteem and achieve self-acceptance. It’s important to do that, as I said, because you’ve got to get to the stage in life where you are living your life that is authentic to you. When you do meet people who are living their life that is authentic to them, and they’re not living it for anybody else, and they’re not living it to fit in with anyone they’re genuinely happier, but they tend to be genuinely calmer as well, because it means that they’re confident, it means that their self-esteem is good and it means that they’re navigating life the best way for them and one of the biggest, what I call presenting issues that I have when clients come to see me, when other people hear it, we hear it as the ‘midlife crisis’ and I suppose it’s a very good opportunity for me to explain to you how this value based, this spiritual wellness element, works.
So people will walk into me and they’ll say ‘I’m going through a midlife crisis’. Now I personally do not believe in the concept of a midlife crisis. What I believe happens is that we get to a stage in life where we get a crossroads and we’re going through a major transition and we’re transitioning from one period of our life, into another period of our life and because of that transition, it becomes quite chaotic and we experience lots of challenges and change isn’t always fun and that’s what happens. But this is why it comes about.
So from the minute we are born, we are told by society and the cultures to which we live in, how we are supposed to live and what we’re supposed to want, what we’re supposed to want to achieve and who we’re supposed to be to do that.
So, in my culture, my culture is you are born, you learn to speak, you learn to walk and crawl, and then you learn to look after yourself. You learn to go to school and you get good grades at school. When you get good grades at school, you either get a good job or you go to university, but everything is about getting a good job. When you’ve got that good job it’s then about meeting somebody, it’s about buying property and creating a good home environment for yourself, it’s about having children and it’s about then staying in a good job and a good career for as long as you possibly can, until you are lucky enough to retire.
That belief system is placed upon us by the culture that we are born into. It’s not a value base we develop naturally, it’s not a belief system we develop naturally, it is enforced upon us and what then happens is we then start to align our values and our beliefs to that based on, usually, this dangling carrot of how beautiful life will be at the end if we do all of these things. But what tends to happen is people get to certain stages in their life, and it usually comes with age for most people so we’re looking at that 35 plus age group, when they’ve done all of that, they’ve done exactly what was asked of them and they’ve done what society told them to do and there is no golden goose at the end of that. What they then realize is that life means that you’re going to be doing the same thing over and over and over and over again for the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years and suddenly those values they’ve been living by, suddenly those beliefs they’ve been living by, suddenly that purpose they’ve been living by isn’t true to them anymore.
That’s what you see with the concept of this midlife crisis is people are starting to think for themselves clearly. Suddenly they’re starting to question society, question society’s values, question society’s beliefs, and they don’t always go against them, but they’re questioning them. They’re looking around and saying, is this the life I want, is this who I am, is this what I need, am I living my most authentic self and it’s going through that process and actually working through that process and identifying these values and those beliefs and developing that self-esteem and developing a true purpose is when somebody then comes through the other side of that so-called midlife crisis.
What we’re finding is this actually happens for a lot younger people now as well, we’ve got the quarterlife crisis happening for those in the 25 year old bracket really and it’s happening sooner because they’re told even sooner they’re supposed to do things twice as quickly, social media’s telling them that they’re supposed to be rich and famous and beautiful and successful and intelligent and juggling everything by the age of 20, and so people start to question everything as they get a little bit older.
So we’ve got these periods of life where transitions are happening and people are suddenly looking towards themselves and going, who am I, what am I, what life am I living, why am I living it and most importantly, does it make me happy and am I fulfilled and does it give me a good quality of life. Because if it doesn’t do those things, what it then does is trigger and it triggers in an overwhelming way. We start to be resentful of the life we live in and the people that are in it with us. We start to question the things that we do. We stop finding the joy in life and before you know it, our mental health and our wellbeing is affected as well.
So the concept of the midlife crisis is purely based on this spiritual wellness, this sudden understanding of who we are, what we want, why we want it, or this sudden understanding of, we don’t know who we are, we don’t know what we want, we don’t know why we’re living this life and I get told an awful lot ‘Kim I just feel lost’.
The way that I use 8Wise™ and help somebody live the 8Wise™ Way is simply by getting them to see the life they live, the world they’re living in and who they really are when you can’t see the wood for the trees, you’ve got to just look at your own feet to start walking. When we do that, we start self-reflection, that self-reflection piece is who am I, what do I want, why do I want it, what life am I living, what are my values, how do I manifest them into the life I want to live, what do I believe in, how do I believe in myself, how do I manifest that into the life that I live, what is my purpose, what am I getting out of bed for every day, how do I manifest that into the life that I want to live?
Who am I? That is the ultimate question. Who am I? When you know the answer to that question, suddenly you start to build who you truly are and you start to build the life that’s right for you and you get that self-esteem and you get that confidence and it flows in bucket loads and that’s when we reach that self-fulfilment, self-acceptance and self-fulfilment and when we’re at self-acceptance, it doesn’t matter what life throws at us, because we have the belief that we can handle anything. We have the belief that we deserve to be the person we want to be and live the life we want to live and that’s ultimately what spiritual wellness comes down to.
So again, when you link it with the others, it’s about healthy body, healthy mind, healthy self-belief. In many worlds, in many different cultures, we hear it as mind body and soul. Top three, the trilogy, mind, body soul. In this world, in the world of 8Wise™, its emotional wellness, its physical wellness and it is spiritual wellness.
So, if you want to start working on your spiritual wellness, if you’ve done your evaluation, if you’ve gone and accessed the evaluations from the website and you’ve done your spiritual wellness evaluation and your results are telling you it’s low, then I recommend you start with who am I and what do I believe in, what are my values, what are my belief systems, where have these developed from, are they truly mine, why am I getting out of bed every day and who am I, who am I truly and that would give you more answers to the world that you are living in than anything else at.
So that is the first element of the internal foundation, when we start working on the inner world, the world that lies inside of you.
So, thank you so much for listening to this episode. I hope it has helped you. I hope it’s helping you to start to identify maybe where some of your root causes of your mental health might be, or some of the areas that you might need to be looking into to help build your wellbeing so you can prevent any mental health issues from developing and, as I said, please go onto the website and use some of the resources that are there and they will help you to develop your 8Wise™ tool belt and start living the 8Wise™ Way for better mental health and wellbeing.
So, if you have enjoyed this episode, if this is your first episode with me, thank you very much for joining us. Please go back and have a look at some of the other episodes and see how the other episodes can help you with your mental health and wellbeing as well. If you haven’t done it yet, hit subscribe so that you can keep up to date and up to speed with any of the episodes that are coming through with regards to living the 8Wise™ Way.
Again, if you want to follow these episodes alongside the book, you can get a copy of the book at pretty much any online book retailer, they’ve probably got mine there, or you can get them directly from my website, which is www.8wise.co.uk and you will find on there the book, the journal, we’ve got the 12-month planner on there and the pocketbook as well, plus so much other stuff. It’s definitely worth taking a look if you are wanting to learn more about 8Wise™ and being able to Live the 8Wise™ Way.
As I said, if you want even more information, if you start following me on my socials, which are basically @8Wise, in some formats it’s either @8WiseKim or @8WiseTherapy on Instagram and just @8Wise and @8WiseTherapy on Facebook, on Instagram and on LinkedIn then what I will provide you with every single day is a tip with regards to one of these elements so you can collate them all together and literally start developing your action plan using those tips on how you are going to improve these eight elements of your wellness spectrum.
So please go ahead and follow me and feel free to message me on socials as well.
So that is spiritual wellness. In the next episode we are moving on to our intellectual wellness, which is the second elements of the internal dimension. I look forward to speaking to you then, I look forward to chatting to you more. I hope you’re finding all this well and as I said, if you are struggling right now, you are like many other people, many people are struggling right now. It’s okay. It is normal. You can get through this, you will get through this. Reach out and I promise you when you reach out to people, someone will always reach back and get you the support and the help that you might need in the format that you might need.
If you are somebody who’s just focusing on their wellbeing, then great. Thank you for being preventative. Thank you for being proactive and I hope that this is giving you some great tools and great tips for you to have a better quality of life forever, forever moving forward. So, thanks for joining me today.
As I said, my name’s Kim Rutherford, psychotherapist, author, and now, officially podcast host. I will see you for episode five, in which we will be talking about intellectual wellness. So, thanks for joining me. Take care and bye for now.
For more information on how 8Wise™ can support you, your leadership and management team and employee wellbeing strategy please contact us using one of the buttons below.