You, Yourself, and Chocolate Cake
How to be your best self.
Discovering who you are is fun. Becoming your best self, necessary. And with the baking elements of a dark chocolate cake, we’ll find out just that. When baking, you’ll learn two things are essential: you need the ingredients that provide the structure (eggs, flour) and those that provide the moisture (fat, sugar). But the ingredients alone won’t turn into a cake just by themselves—we need to stick them in an oven and bake them. Certainly, the structure of the cake is what holds it together, but the moisture is what makes you want to eat it! However, the whole process of baking is what enables it to become a cake. As we’ll find out, understanding who we are looks a lot like a chocolate cake. It has structure, moisture, and a baking process. Let’s look at how you can become your best self.
What do you think provides our structure? Discovering who we are starts when we become aware of our body and how important it really is. Without our body, we would not be alive. To get to know yourself better, start by feeling yourself better. Recognize the physical traits that make you unique and surface what you appreciate about them. What makes you so you? What do you love about yourself? You can discover something valuable! To become aware (and proud) of your body is the first step to discover yourself.
Often, we neglect seeing ourselves because we don’t want to be narcissistic or we just don’t value our body as much as our brain. Your body deserves some recognition. This not-too-comfortable truth is more about self-respect than self-adulation. How can you value something that you don’t appreciate? Just like eggs and flour, the ingredients that provide the cake with its structure, you must also rediscover your ingredients—the traits that make you unique. This is not an ego-boost, this is you.
What do you think makes a dark chocolate cake so irresistible? To find out who you are, we must also identify the ingredients that make your life moist and delightful: your preferences, strengths, and personal values. If you believe that you already have a distinctive set of skills and experiences, it will inspire you to pursue the goals that matter most to you. Moisture happens when you align your strengths with what you deeply care about. To find out what you care about ask:
- What did I do when I was a children?
- What do I love to do as an adult?
- Which activities do I value?
- Which athletes, super heroes, or entrepreneurs inspire me?
- When do I seem to have the most energy?
- What kind of work makes me feel fulfilled?
I suggest you make a list with two columns: one with a list of things you feel passionate about, exciting activities that you love to do; and the second one with your set of strengths (think of your achievements). Becoming aware of your own special ingredients is rewarding and beneficial because they can make your life like a cake—irresistibly moist! Make sure to weigh them appropriately, because your strengths are important. This list should reflect what you love to do and what you are capable of.
Once you find your ingredients of structure and moisture, what’s next? Becoming the cake! This is where most of us need help. I know I do. Baking is about allowing your ingredients to happen. It’s the process that transforms the ingredients of structure and moisture into the delicious dark chocolate cake. Baking is what helps you grow to become the best version of yourself. It also teaches you that you are enough—with your own set of characteristics that make you invaluable. The key insight is that we don’t let ourselves become the cake. Why not? Because baking is messy. You might be wrong, or you might fail. To bake the cake means that you’re willing to grow by tweaking the ingredients. You stick yourself in the heat and you face the challenges of life.
The baking process can be uncomfortable and at times painful. This might lead you to ask: Is it me who’s inadequate? Not at all. Why did the cake not turn out like I wanted? Because it usually doesn’t. But that’s okay because that means you’ll now be able to improve your structural/moisture ingredients. Then you become a better baker. That’s how you become ever closer to the best version of yourself. What happens between the batter and the cake? Chemistry. Energy is applied and the ingredients get transformed! When you decide to bake, you welcome change. You’re willing to give up a part of your current lifestyle. You undergo change. But you also know that a baker doesn’t bake just once. Mastery is repetition.
We’re all struggling in life. We want to feel like we’re making progress in our life. Growing is not easy, but it’s worthwhile. Allowing yourself to bake is what makes it all happen: to hold your body with respect, to appreciate your strengths and align them with what you love to do, and to plunge yourself in the uncertainty of baking! What matters to you is worth pursuing. You don’t need permission. The world craves more of unique and authentic. A little more mess and less perfection. What do you want to bake? What ingredients do you want to see more of?
Juan F. Diaz
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