First, find a quiet place to sit and think about you. This is an important step in your personal development. An alternative approach that some may prefer is to sit and talk it out to yourself or others so you can hear your thoughts, which can bring focus and clarity.
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.
The second step is to sit with those thoughts and emotions. This may be difficult for many and some may even feel overwhelmed. It is imperative to be honest during this step; however, 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?
- Ask yourself if you have a broad enough perspective of the issue(s)?
- Is there another way of viewing things and do you have the necessary information to make the best assessment?
WHEREVER YOU ARE RIGHT NOW, ACCEPT IT!
Acceptance is key if you want to successfully make changes. Sure, 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? Are you living a life that maximizes the potential and gifts that you have been blessed with? What standards are you using to make this assessment? Remember “the best” is different for everyone. If you define yourself by society’s standards, you will always come up short and you will always feel frustrated and 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 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.
LEARN TO FORGIVE YOURSELF
The same way that you forgive others for making mistakes, be just as loving to yourself. We can sometimes be our own worst enemies. That critical voice in our heads 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.
- Reward yourself in healthy ways for your positive steps.
- Always recognize and acknowledge your successes no matter how small.
- Learn from your setbacks without getting too discouraged.
- Keep your eye on your ultimate goal.
- Love yourself.
- Know that you are worthy of being your best you.
Personal development is a dynamic process. You do not get to your best you and stop. We are constantly evolving, which necessitates that we must constantly adapt.
You do not build a building without first putting down a foundation. The integrity of that foundation will define how strong that building is; therefore, the same is true as you begin the process of personal development.
That is why we believe there are four pillars necessary to create the best you possible:
Without a healthy balance in these four areas, you will miss your goal of living your optimal life. Start by making a list of your values, what you love to do, and what you are good at. Once you know your purpose, live it with passion.
*Chinese proverb: Tao Te Ching (Laozi)