Personal growth is a dynamic process. You do not get to your best you and stop. You are constantly evolving, which requires you to constantly a.d.a.p.t.
You do not build a house without first putting down a foundation. The integrity of that foundation will define how strong the building is; therefore, the same is true as you begin this process (journey to your improved health/total health) and that is why I believe there are four pillars necessary to create the best you possible:
- Psychological [emotions & mind]
Without a healthy balance in these four areas, you will miss your goal of living your optimal life (using fully the GIFTS that you have been given).
Start by making a list of your beliefs & values. The key to your success lies in knowing your beliefs and values, which ultimately shape your mindset, and aligning them with your actions.
what is wreaking havoc in your life?
Answer: what you believe in.
let’s start the journey: Prepare yourself
To become the best you requires that you take the time to examine who you are at this very moment.
first step: get comfortable
First, find a quiet place to sit and think about you (SELF-REFLECTION), preferably alone. Write down your dominant B.E.T. (belief, emotion and thought) and values or talk it out loud (that may give you a different perspective). If you have more than one dominant B.E.T. [then you have BETS].
This is an important step in your personal development (this is not about criticism and/or judgment). You cannot improve if you do not know what needs to change. You may decide there is nothing that needs to change, or it may be that only minor changes are required; however, some may realize that it is time for a major overhaul.
second step: mindfully become aware
The second step is to sit with your BET or BETS (mindfully note without judgment). This may be difficult for you and you may even feel overwhelmed. It is important to be honest during this step; however, please make sure you have a solid support system in place in case you begin to feel too overwhelmed.
- What thoughts dominate and what emotions are you feeling?
- Be prepared to question the validity of your thoughts and emotions. Is there any basis in reality for these thoughts and emotions?
- Do I have all the necessary information to accurately assess the situation?
- Can I approach this from a different angle?
third step: it’s in the past, accept & move forward
Wherever you are right now, accept it. Acceptance is key if you want to successfully make changes. Sure, perhaps you could have made some better choices; however, give yourself some praise for getting to this point in realizing that you are not living your best you. It takes courage to examine your life and that courage will help you make the necessary change or changes.
what is your definition of the best you?
What and/or whose standards are you using to make this assessment? Remember “the best” is different for everyone. If you define yourself by society’s standard, you may come up short, get frustrated and feel dissatisfied. Whatever parameters you choose to use, make sure they are solidly grounded in reality. I chose to use the bible’s parameters in my own self-assessment.
- Am I a giving person?
- Do I show love and kindness to others?
- Do I help my fellowman?
- Am I a person of integrity?
- Am I honest?
- Do I encourage others to be their best or am I envious and covetous?
- Do I honor God by my words, thoughts and deeds?
- Do I respect my fellowman?
who is making the assessment?
Who is making this assessment? Is it your father, mother, friend, or you? Sometimes the voice in your head is not really your voice, but that of a parent or someone you hold in high regard. Be careful not to listen to those voices that are overly critical.
Sadly, some parents demand too much of their children in the guise of wanting the best for them; however, an overly demanding and critical parent can do more damage than good. If everything you do is never good enough, this can create a sense of low self-esteem and self-confidence as a child, which can carry over into your adult life.
fourth step: Forgiveness is a must for growth
Learn to forgive yourself. The same way that you forgive others for making mistakes, be just as loving to yourself. You can sometimes be your own worst enemy. That self-critical voice in your head that can be so destructive, needs to change.
- Hold yourself accountable for your actions, good or bad.
- Acknowledge that you made an error in judgment.
- Make a plan for what needs to change; however, once again be realistic and start small. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.*
- Be patient. Understand that change requires time and sometimes you will have not so good days.
- Be consistent with the positive steps.
- Always recognize your successes no matter how small (positive reinforcement).
- Learn from your setbacks without getting discouraged.
- Keep your eye on your ultimate goal.
- Love yourself (unconditionally).
- Know that you are worthy of being your best you.