Many of us go through our lives having no idea why we do what we do, or why we feel how we feel. Life just happens to us, and we react to it.
James Russel Lowel says: “no one can produce great things who is not thoroughly sincere in dealing with himself”.
I know I used this quote in my previous post, but I think it applies to self-awareness as much as to self-discovery. another great thing about personal growth is that it leads to self-awareness. While self-awareness often increases early on in the personal growth journey, it continues to increase throughout the journey as, the more we become self-aware, the deeper we look into ourselves, and the more aware we become.
In striving to improve and grow, I am becoming more aware of the things that nourish me and the things that do not. For example, I am nourished by spending time in prayer and worship, talking to positive, motivated people, reading books about people who inspire me, and getting enough good quality sleep. I have learned to avoid watching most of the news, spending time with negative people, and paying attention to the doubts and negative thoughts I have when I stay up too late at night, as these lower my mood and inhibit my growth.
I’ve also become more curious about why my mind works in the way it does. It’s almost like having an inner coach who questions me on why I feel the way I do about certain things, and whether that negative thought I’ve just had is really true, or whether it is just a product of a temporary mood swing, or an incorrect assumption I’ve made about my potential. The self-awareness isn’t restricted to my mind either. I’ve started to question myself about how I use my time, how I learn, how I motivate myself, and why I interact with others the way I do.
To give a practical life example, When I was learning to use my cane, after the retirement of my previous guide dog (more about that in a future post), I had to learn some exercise walks I could practice on. In the past, I would have just learned block walks, and would have stopped doing them over time. However, on reflection, I admitted to my instructor that I wasn’t particularly interested in walking just for the pure sake of it, and would probably not keep it up over time unless I had some serious motivation. I decided that all my exercise walks would either start or finish at one of the local takeaways. That way, I would always have the motivation of food to get me to go for a walk. This has been a success. I have been walking 4-5 days a week,now since December 2015, and continue to use these walks with my new guide dog.
How aware are you of what’s going on in your head? How aware are you of the impact that your environment and the people you spend time with have on you? Do you know what nourishes you and what brings you down?