Developing and nurturing yourself is extremely important in your life. As a result of emotions such as depression, greed, sadness, etc., people may behave in a manner that is not consistent with one’s true self. This can get you off balance and you begin to neglect some parts of yourself. Thus, it is important to take a look inside to determine how you can continue to grow by increasing your self-awareness, forming healthy habits and becoming more focused.
According to the workbook, Discover Yourself: A Personal Development Workbook, there are various interrelated components that represent one’s whole self. If you focus on developing yourself in these components, you will become more centered, focused and aware of your strengths, potential strengths, and areas that need improvement. These components include:
- Spirituality: Getting in tune to your inner self
- Emotions: Managing Your Emotions
- Physical Body: Taking Care of Your Physical Body
- Social Interactions: Effectively Communicating with Others
- Mental Aspirations: Engaging Your Passion
Remember, these components are interrelated, so at times, the discussions in each section overlap.
Spirituality: Get in-tuned to your inner self
In my view, spirituality is defined as ones connection to source. It is ones journey within that helps you connect to your inner self (2006, Dr. Jessica). Throughout your life, it is essential to focus inward to establish who you are and where you are going. When you take time to reflect and focus inward, it gives you the opportunity to concentrate on things that are happening in your life.
To help you focus, you should establish one or more daily rituals such as prayer, meditation, yoga, visualizations, listening to calm relaxing music, etc. By doing this, you will become more in touch with your emotions, improve communications, know your life’s purpose and treat your body with kindness because you will be more focused. Dedicate a specific time each day to incorporate one or more of these actions into your daily life. This will help you get focused and centered. Start gradually and begin to increase the amount of time you spend engaging in one or more of this activities.
Expressing gratitude also helps you focus and get in-tuned to the good that life has to offer, barriers that you may have overcome and so on. You should express gratitude on a daily basis for what you value and appreciate most in life. Say one or more thing(s) that you are grateful for each day. Let someone at work, or at home know what you appreciate about them. This helps you focus on the good in life and in your experiences.
Develop and say affirmations daily, with intention (intention is emotionally having the intent to do or say something; having passion about something, visualizing, and seeing your intention being carried out). Every word you say or speak is an affirmation. So, when you say things over and over that are limiting or negative (for example, I am sick and tired of this job), you are forming a belief in your subconscious that is probably impacting your life in some way or another.
When you say things, on a regular basis, eventually, your subconscious mind will see this or accept this as the truth. Thus, make sure you think, act, talk, and sing, in an affirmative way. Also, create an environment that reflects you, your thoughts and behavior. For example, you can limit your intake of misfortunate and sometimes misleading information by limiting your intake of news, negative people and negative environments. Create a positive space within yourself and your environment.
Emotions: Manage your emotions
People experience a myriad of emotions throughout their life. Ones emotions range from surprise, disgust, sadness, happiness, anger and fear. These emotions allow you to experience life and grow. As a result, you learn something about yourself and others around you which help you formulate beliefs and convictions that you have about people and things.
People have many emotions that impact their relationships. Remember, you are not your emotions, they are just apart of you; a living soul aspiring for greatness. Channel them and don’t let them overthrow you. You can do this by focusing your thoughts. When you focus your thoughts, you eliminate unnecessary mind chatter. If you have an undesirable thought or unwanted mind chatter, immediately replace the undesirable thoughts with something else. This process takes time and practice.
Also, make sure you are aware of the feelings associated with your past and general assumptions that you have about things. Being aware of your past and current pains (e.g., fears, insecurities, rejections) can be frightening. When people keep things inside (hidden away) it often leads to addictions, compulsions, fixations and/or obsessions. Accept yourself as you are; remind yourself that humans are not perfect.
Examine your past and your feelings associated with the past. Determine, how is this impacting you currently, what beliefs have you formed? Are these healthy beliefs/feelings/thoughts? One exercise you can do to get rid of current or past pains is to:
Determine the origin (not the symptoms) of pain/discomfort
Examine your beliefs that you developed as a result of this experience; what are some assumptions you created about this?
Determine how you can help others based on what you learned from this experience
Develop specific steps that you can take to change this belief or attitude
Physical Body: Take care of your physical body
The physical body houses the spirit and inside your physical body are your emotions. Your physical body will remain with you throughout your life on Earth. As a result, loving, respecting, taking care of and accepting the physical body is important in your development. Thus, selecting healthy food options, exercising regularly, managing your stress levels, and getting adequate sleep each night (at least 6-9 hours each night) is imperative as you journey throughout life.
Your physical body needs to be in good working order as you carryout your daily life activities. Limited care could lead to illness, feeling tired and not energized, etc. People may not take care of their bodies as a result of lack of knowledge on how to properly take care of their body, emotional and social drainage and feeling that they don’t have enough time. Make sure you plan into your weekly activities specific exercises that you can do so you can get the most out of your body and properly plan meals so that your diet consist of more fresh, whole foods and less processed, toxic foods.
Stress is a normal active part of ones life; everyone experiences stress during varying times throughout life. Learn how to manage stress as you interact with people within your life. Know how to deal with or clear up issues at a discomfort level before it becomes a crisis. Here are some stress management tips that may be helpful:
Accept the reality of frustration and discomfort. Know that things will not go as planned at times
Get as much enjoyment out of life as you can now. Enjoy your present moment and look forward to the future
Postpone pleasures that may cause long-term pain/agony. For example, you may want to drink more alcohol but you restrict your intake; instead focus on the real issues that cause you to over-indulge
Be aware and open that change occurs constantly. As things change in your life, take a reasonable amount of time to regroup — modify your plans and behaviors. Change is inevitable
Social Interactions: Effectively communicate with others
Social interactions occur from the time a person is born until death. Overtime, these interactions shape behavior. Social interactions with others are an important part of human development. Nevertheless, relationships can sometimes be threatened by individuals’ psychological problems, selfishness, political and economic inequalities. This may cause conflict.
Listen actively to people as they speak, showing sincerity and genuine interest. Communicate your feelings, sometimes people may need to take a deep breath if in a conflicting situation before they respond and focus on how to solve and issue rather than focus the problem itself. Make sure you acknowledge the good that’s going on. Recognize that people are simply inherently different. You can’t change someone else, but you can change your views, perceptions and how you manage yourself. People have different ways of doing things, different perspectives as a result of varying generations, cultures, communities, gender and so on.
Because many people are expanding their communication circles, workplaces are more diverse with varying generations, it is essential to make sure you send off clear and concise messages to others during your interactions. When communicating with others, make sure you are:
- Communicating your thoughts and feelings in a non confrontational manner
- Communicating with integrity
- Showing you have a genuine interest for others even though you may not agree with them
- Acknowledging your strengths and limitations
- Being aware and respectful of others differences
Showing positive body language; you should smile, make eye contact, and manage your moods
Mental Aspirations: Engage your passion
Be clear about what you are passionate about and make sure you are actively pursuing that passion by engaging in activities related to that passion (at work or outside of work). You may want to sit down and reflect to see if you are actively engaging in activities that are directly linked to your passion/mission in life. Ask yourself, what is my divine purpose in life? Am I engaged in activities relating to this? What steps do I need to make to actively pursue this purpose?
Each individual controls the directions he or she takes in life. The decisions you make today will have an impact on your entire life. In essence, you are the only one who can save you! Often times, we look outside ourselves for someone to save us, but change begins with you!
Overall, discovering your best requires will, determination and patience. Within each component, there are areas that you are strong in and areas you need developmental work. Determine your developmental areas and map out a plan or strategy for how you want to continue to develop in this area. Also, determine your strengths, and think about how can you increase these strengths or continue to develop.
I hope you enjoyed this tool. For additional help and guidance on discovering you best at any age contact me at [email protected] or go to http://www.thecenterfordiscovery.net. I look forward to working with you in the future.
Dr. Jessica is a Psychologist and Empowerment Coach with the Center for Discovery. She helps women experiencing a personal or career transition discover their highest potential, using proven principles and practices of mind, body, and spiritual development.
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