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The Self-Discovery Digest

by Elizabeth and Katherine Hirsh
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Make Self-Discovery Yours

New Year's is over and for many of us personal development is starting to feel more like a chore than an adventure. You might be feeling a little weary yourself, wondering if personal growth is some slick notion cooked up by self-help gurus to make you feel guilty for not being "more" - more enlightened, more patient, more fit, more perfect, etc. We feel your pain. Perhaps it's time to reconsider what self-discovery means to you as well as re-tool the way you go about it. Are you creating opportunities for growth that feel right for you and bring a smile to your face? Or have you inadvertently put effort in front of joy? How you go about your development will affect whether it's fun and rewarding or just something that you believe you're supposed to do. Take a look at the lists below and consider how you might reinvigorate your self-discovery process, knowing that if you enjoy yourself, you're likely to keep at it. It's all about making the journey your own - you can't do this wrong!

1. How do you like to engage in self-discovery?

Communing with a group, connecting with a few others, or through solitude?

Writing down ideas, making drawings, composing music, or creating a dance?

Exploring one or two issues in depth or learning a few things about many topics?

Carrying out familiar and beloved rituals, trying out traditions new to you, or creating your own?

Using schedules and plans with milestones laid out or letting things evolve and following your inspiration?

Besides refining the way you go about things, it's crucial to allow yourself to focus on things that are personally meaningful to you. It's easy to get caught up in improvements that others - friends, family, colleagues, society at large - suggest are worthwhile. But in order to get the most out of your self-discovery journey you must get in touch with what's important to you rather than trying to attain someone else's vision of success. With this in mind, consider which things about yourself that you want to understand better.

2. What aspects of yourself do you need to examine more closely?

What values and principles do you hold dear? Are these the ones you want to continue to champion or should they be redefined?

What are your greatest gifts? Your greatest challenges?

Are there patterns from your past that need investigating in order to open up healthier possibilities for the future?

Do your intentions and actions seem to be in alignment?

Does forgiveness need to be given - to yourself or others?

Finally, no matter how passionate you are about personal growth or how valiant your attempts, nearly everyone loses enthusiasm along the way. Rather than seeing this as a failure or a reason to quit, think about what might get you going again. Consider ways to boost and maintain your energy and enthusiasm.

3. What can you tap into to keep you motivated and on track?

When you think about past successes, what spurred you on to reach your goals and how might this work for you again?

Who can act as your mentor or cheerleader to encourage you onward?

How can you see "silver linings" in the roadblocks and setbacks you've experienced?

Is it time to set new goals? Are you being too unrealistic and setting the bar too high or do you need to be more courageous and bold?

How can you celebrate what you have achieved?

Self-Discovery Tool Number 22
Make your self-discovery process as unique as you are. Pay close attention to what delights and enlivens you. Do more of those things. Introduce new activities and ideas into your world. Shed existing ones that are no longer suitable or constructive. Be unapologetically you. Make self-discovery yours - live your best life!

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