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The Self-Discovery Digest

by Elizabeth and Katherine Hirsh
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September 2009 Archives

Self-discovery can be fun, rewarding, and challenging. It motivates us to learn and grow and comes down to the environments we create - internal (our attitudes, values, and feelings) and external (what we do as well as the people and things with which we surround ourselves). Use the self-discovery alphabet below to help fashion the best internal and external environments possible for your development.

Self-Discovery A-B-Cs

Paying Attention to where you are, literally and figuratively

Being yourself as often as possible

Celebrating what's great about yourself

Daring to try new things

Recognizing which activities are Energizing and doing more of them

Feeling your feelings, even if they are a little uncomfortable

Expressing Gratitude for all that's good in your life

Healing yourself by seeking people and situations that nourish you

Using your Imagination to envision changes you'd like to make

Experiencing Joy - embracing laughter wherever you find it

Showing Kindness to yourself and others

Listening to what your inner voice is telling you

Being in the Moment and enjoying its gifts

Acting Now rather than waiting for the "perfect" time

Staying Open, the best discoveries may come out of left field

Being Patient with slip-ups and missteps

Rewarding yourself for attempts made

Sharing your dreams with those that matter

Looking at the Truth even if it's a little scary

Making peace with the Unknown by choosing optimism over negativity

Celebrating personal Victories no matter how small

Seeing Wisdom, not perfection, as the ultimate goal

Putting out into the world the X-Factor that only you have and can contribute

You - taking care of yourself is the only way you can be well enough to care for others

Zeroing in on what is meaningful to you no matter how others would value it

Incorporate the A-B-Cs into your internal and external landscapes. Simply summed up, it just plain feels good to establish healthy environments loving to the self and others.

Self-Discovery Tool Number 16
How can an examination of the self-discovery alphabet enrich your life? Try this two-step process. First ask yourself what things on the list you are already doing. Now congratulate yourself on your accomplishments and celebrate by making time to do something fun, such as seeing a friend, engaging in a favorite activity, or simply allowing yourself a moment to relax and do nothing. Second ask yourself what things you have yet to try or could consider. Commit to doing something that might be a stretch for you knowing that the real success is in the attempt, not in doing it "correctly". Smile, now you have a reason to do Step 1 (the celebrating part) all over again. Keep the circle going and your self-discovery growing!

It's September, back-to-school time here in Minnesota. Children are returning to school, college co-eds are returning to classes or leaving home for the first time, and many of us, regardless of whether or not we are formally enrolled, are feeling a sense of anticipation as if we too were about to embark upon a learning journey.

As most of us were students for a good portion of our early lives, the pattern of starting up again is deeply ingrained and often reminds us that we need to get going, get on with our lives, and start making those changes that the summer's lazy days made us set aside and forget. Like a student at the start of a new school year, open yourself to new experiences, different points of view, and trying things you have not tried before.

How can we capitalize on this back-to-school energy and practice the value of teaching and learning? Here are some simple ways:

• Think about the teachers and elders who have shaped you, make an effort to reconnect and thank them or, if that isn't possible, devise ways you can better emulate the good lessons they taught.

• Take the time to share knowledge with someone who could benefit from your experience. Be patient with questions, remembering that once you were a novice too.

• Seek opinions from new sources and then listen carefully to the perspective that is shared. You don't have to agree with it, simply let it better inform your own thinking.

• At work, with family, or when getting together with a friends, make space for everyone to be involved in the decision making. This might mean taking a back set if you normally lead, or challenging yourself to step in if you typically let others take charge.

• If you are facing a difficult issue, reflect on times past when you felt overwhelmed by a problem but prevailed. Think about what you learned from those experiences and remind yourself you can prevail again.

• Allow yourself a little vulnerability. Admit that you don't know how to do something and let others teach you what they know.

• Contribute more formally to the learning of others by offering your intellectual resources as a school, library, community center, or adult literacy program volunteer.

• Broaden your knowledge base by attending a lecture, enrolling in a course, downloading a free learning module, or being part of an online learning community.

Regardless of our age or station in life, we can always benefit from teaching and learning.

Self-Discovery Tool Number 15
Tapping into the back-to-school spirit, what knowledge or experience can you offer others and what learning experience could you try out that could enrich your life? Using the list provided as your starting point, commit to trying one thing that honors the student and teacher inside of you. Increase the intellectual vibrancy of your world - share your wisdom and let others share theirs with you!