Personal Transformation: It All Begins With Self-Discovery
Do you feel there is a gap between you and the happiest you? Are you feeling that you are stuck in life? Are you the person that you believe you are, or the person that others see?
These must be heady questions, but they are worth considering if you want to have a personal transformation to a healthier, happier, and self-actualized person.
Many times, things just don’t seem to be working. Anxiety, drained energy, and burnout become part of your life and you seem to be surviving rather than live a meaningful life.
Worse still, the solutions that friends and family suggest do not work. You have tried counseling, reading self-help and self-development books, attending self-development conferences, changing your diet. Yet in all this, the best you get a short-time feeling of relief or motivation that soon dies off living you in a worse position than you were. Why are all these not working? Does it mean they are just bad moves, designed to rob you of your money and cause more harm to you?
Well, the reality is, they are not working for you, and not only for you but for the other 90% of people in a similar situation as you. Another reality is this, such solutions are not generally bad moves. They are good solutions. However, they are used at the wrong point of the journey to a transformed life.
We begin our journey with life coaches, therapists, and psychology and nutritionists at a point of frustration. The majority of them would work on giving you temporary relief. They will give you an answer to the specific questions that you ask.
All these are important questions to help get the solution to our problems. However, most life coaches and therapists try to address them in isolation. The problem is that we have too many of these WHY questions in our lives that if we could go about finding the solution for each of them separately, we will live the rest of our lives seeking for solutions to our problems.
The above questions do not describe the real problem. They are just showing us the effects of the underlying problem. Having a sleepless night, having issues in our relationship, feeling anxious, etc. are just different manifestations of a problem that we really want to solve, yet we cannot really get a handle on.
Frustration + hope = motivation
The foundation of all the above questions is the essence of motivation – frustration, and hope. People who ask these questions understands that there is a problem. Further, they are trying to understand the problem. Either consciously or subconsciously, they believe that by understanding the problem, they may find the solution. They believe that self-awareness will help them to overcome the problems. Such people are saying, “I know that I am in a mess currently but I know I can get better and have a happier and more satisfying life, just let me know how.” They are right.
These questions lay the ground for finding the solutions to the biggest problems in our lives. If we understand why we do or experience what we experience, we make the first step to the road of transformation – breaking the old patterns and launching new ones. If we don’t know the cause, how can we deal with the effect? It is not natural.
Therefore, self-discovery becomes the first step to personal growth. It involves finding out who we are (the good and the bad) and using that knowledge to take advantage of who you are by exploiting your strengths and finding remedies for your weaknesses.
When we know what we are doing that is hindering our success and preventing us from living a happy life, we can be empowered to cultivate the positive aspect of who we are to overcome the limitations. We can also use such knowledge to try new skills and strategies that will lead to developing new strengths.
Know yourself and prosper
Over the years, I have learned that I have a bad memory. A stranger would tell me their name and I would forget it immediately. Well, I know that people do not take it kindly when they have to introduce themselves over and over whenever you meet them. So, I would not ask. This used to haunt me a lot.
Imagine catching up with someone yet you don’t even remember their names or where they come from, while they remember every detail about yourself that you told them. My memory is so bad that quite often I would forget my examination card in the house and rush to school for a paper. It uses to happen repeatedly until some teachers and students knew about it.
When I first realize that I am different from others in this aspect, I felt bad. Who wants to be that spacy, forgetful person? I would be frustrated about myself being late to places, forgetting appointments, or being sidetracked.
I never wanted this to be true about myself. I used to give excuses for the faults and sometimes just hated myself and beat myself up for forgetting important things. However, when I understood and accepted that I have a bad memory and that is just who I am, I began devising solutions to the weakness.
Empowerment 101: Self-Acceptance
Self-acceptance is true empowerment. Self-empowerment does not mean that you settle for mediocrity. Self-awareness and acceptance are like a mirror. It shows you your true condition. It is upon you to do something to overcome challenges. No one looks into a mirror, sees dirt on their face, and then work out without cleaning it.
When I realized and accepted that I have a bad memory and that it is part of me, I began devising strategies to overcome the limitations. I would type the name of people in my phone’s notepad to ensure that I don’t lose them immediately. I also repeatedly refer to people by their names in our first conversation to try to make the name stick to my mind, at least during our first meeting. When attending meetings or seminars, I usually carry a notebook to jot down important information that I would not want to lose. If I don’t want to be late for a meeting, I set multiple reminders to keep warning me to prepare to go to the meeting.
If I don’t want to forget something, I put it near the door so that I can see it when I am leaving. In all these, I did not sit back and continue to hate myself for having a bad memory, I actually worked on it and now I have solutions that make my life easier. I don’t feel embarrassed for my state of memory anymore. That is what self-awareness should be doing.
How to understand your true self
You have things about yourself that you may not fully know, or that you may know but you don’t want to be true. You may be doing something that you do not understand why you are doing them. What you think yourself to be may be totally different from what other people think you are. There are many people who feel bad about themselves yet they are lovely and lovable. Worse still, you may be judging yourself harshly for the weaknesses that you may have noticed in you, instead of learning how to appreciate them and work with them, and even use them for your advantage.
Understanding who you are is the key to personal transformation. When you compassionately understand and accept yourself, you have the chance to develop new strategies to help you live a happy and satisfying life. You can use your strengths to balance your weaknesses.
Continue asking the “why” questions.
We began by listing down some “WHY” questions. They are important questions that you need to continue asking yourself. However, don’t settle for the surface answer, let them lead you to the grand question, “Who am I?” “What is my true self?” When you give yourself time and space to reflect on these questions, you will have a remarkable understanding of who you really are.
Let people tell you who you are.
Sometimes self-reflection is not sufficient. For instance, it could be hard to identify something about yourself that is out of your awareness. To experience a holistic self-discovery, we need feedback from other people. Here are some ways of getting feedback.
Family members and Friends – get family members or a friend who not only know you really well but also who is wise, insightful, and brave enough to tell you the reality. Have a talk with them and let them give you their version about you in a compassionate, safe, and realistic way. You may challenge yourself to be vulnerable by using inviting inquiries. You may say, “I am not feeling okay in this aspect of life, and I wonder what you see I might be doing that is causing all these?” If they are emotionally mature enough, they will make you feel safe and get you an objective response that, if you are willing to receive, maybe life-changing.
Counseling and Life Coaches – these professionals can help you gain a deeper understanding of who you are. They know how these things work. You can trust them.
No one chooses to have a weakness, but we have a choice of what to do with them. We can allow them to overcome us, make us have a miserable life here, and send us to the grave early, or we can curb them or even turn them into opportunities for personal growth. The transformation journey begins with discovering who you truly are.
Then compassionately accept yourself. Go ahead to find the remedies to your challenges while maximizing your strengths to attain a balanced life. That is the only formula for a happy life.