When you’re working on self-transformation, what is the one activity that will get the best results, in the least amount of time? Is it meditation? Joining an exercise group? Hiring a life coach? Actually, the best activity you can choose to do is getting to know yourself REALLY WELL! I agree with what Steve Maraboli said:
“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.”
When you think about getting to know yourself better, consider that all functioning systems work in predictable ways. If you press on the accelerator, your car goes faster. (If it doesn’t, you know to look further for an underlying problem, such as lack of fuel or a clogged fuel line.) Most actions have reliable consequences, once you learn the system. Your mind/body/spirit connection works similarly. Once you know how all of your systems work optimally, you can accelerate your self-transformation as desired.
However, self-knowledge can be challenging, because we are often unaware of crucial Parts we bury in the dark corners of our consciousness, our Shadow Self, and we are not consciously aware of their ongoing and profound impact on us. Everything we do — the way we communicate, make decisions, engage in life and with others socially — is under the influence of these deeply buried Parts.
This can result in fooling ourselves. When a new opportunity opens up, we may dismiss it because we think, “That’s for someone else, not me” – meaning “I don’t have enough education, experience, time, etc.” Whereas, what’s really happening is that a subconscious Part of you is saying things like, “I’m scared! I’ll mess up and be humiliated. I don’t deserve success; I’m not good enough.” We can convince ourselves that lack of education is the rational explanation, without ever being aware of the internal disharmony going on.
How do you bring your Shadow Self out into the light so self-transformation becomes possible? It doesn’t happen over night. So please be patient and compassionate with yourself. If you’ve made some New Year’s Resolutions, you may want to put them on hold, because you’re only going to frustrate yourself trying to attain something you’re not ready for. Integrate your Parts first and then self-transformation will naturally follow.
Your personal journey to self-awareness is unique to you. Go at a rate that is sustainable for you. Sometimes you’ll push yourself; sometimes you’ll have to back off, especially if you’re dealing with a past trauma. My 4-Step C.A.L.M. Process can be very helpful at times like this. When the pain becomes unbearable, rest and circle back around to it at a future time. The important thing is to keep stepping forward toward deep and intimate self-knowledge, always without judgment and with loving acceptance.
Self-awareness is a life-long journey meant to be explored with curiosity and enjoyment. Through the process of increasing self-awareness and self-knowledge, the Parts of you in the shadows will emerge gradually. Here are five practical suggestions for moving forward:
1. Break your routine and quiet your mind. Getting out in nature is an effective way to disconnect from a hectic pace and reconnect with yourself. Meditation is another useful skill.
2. Daily practice mindfulness. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of practicing mindfulness DAILY! It’s one of your most vital self-awareness skills.
4. Listen to your body. You are a somatic being. You can’t disconnect your body from your mind, thoughts or emotions. Treating yourself holistically is a way to obtain balance and harmony. Use my Assessment Tool to gain more clarity.
5. Keep learning. When you learn a new skill, you can more easily see the narrowness or expansiveness of your comfort zone and personal boundaries. Then you can use the PERMA Model to tweak them to be more in alignment with your purpose.
If you want help to peel back the layers to greater self-transformation, consider joining our 3rd annual Bring Forth the Leader Within Retreat. Make plans now and enjoy the early bird discount! And if you can’t wait to get started today, you can always contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).