Self-awareness is not just navel gazing—letting your mind wander and indulging in random thoughts about yourself—though let’s not rule it out. It could be beneficial in finding some direction in focusing on who you are.
The purpose of self-awareness and the source of its joy is determining your core values, those that are most meaningful to you as a unique individual. Roy E. Disney said, “When your values become clear to you, decisions become easier.” In other words, you sort out the clutter and decide what you want in life.
Your values are yours alone. You don’t need to depend on others for approval. I’m not going to try to tell you what you should value. Steven Spielberg made this wise statement: ”The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” As a sort of guide in helping you realize what will make you most happy and fulfilled, I want to inspire you to think for yourselves. Self-awareness is a self-empowering process.
What do you value most? You can begin to think about this anytime and anywhere, but since our lives are filled with distractions, I suggest you take time alone, go to a private place—ideally one that’s pleasant and peaceful— and allow yourself to relax, gently allowing thoughts about what you love come into your consciousness. It doesn’t need to feel like work. Author and spiritual teacher Vernon Howard wrote, “What you really want for yourself is always trying to break through, just as a cooling breeze flows through an open window on a hot day. Your part is to open the windows of your mind.”
Since your mind is now open to potential, this process is something like daydreaming. Gloria Steinem once said, “Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”
The most direct and effective way of deciding what you value most may be to ask yourself, ”What ‘s my passion?” This is a key question, since your highest values will determine your goals in becoming your true self. I’ll address goals in my next blog, but for now I’ll simply ask: What’s the point of establishing goals, if you don’t do it with passion?”
While you might not think you have a passion, you can still ask yourself some other related questions, such as:
- What activity do I most enjoy?
- What makes me happy?
- What is my special talent or skill?
- What do I find the most fun?
- What holds my attention?
Go ahead, take a few minutes to ask yourself these questions and jot the answers down. Even if your responses seem disconnected at first, or even silly, when you start to look deeper, you may find a relationship between them that’s unique to you and this could begin your discovery of your individual brilliance.
No matter how busy you are, the process of becoming more self-aware deserves your time and full attention. What could be more important than awareness of what you value most, which is that which will bring you joy?
Mary Kathryn “M.K.” Jones