Step Three: Conduct a self-assessment.
“Know thyself” –Socrates
Socrates was a smart man… and no doubt a fan of inward reflection.
While it is a great practice to live in the moment, it is equally important to have an understanding of how you came to be in the life you are living. Some people like to gloss over the past and pretend it didn’t happen, and others like to dwell in the past and relish in having “reasons” for why things aren’t working out in their favor. Both of these practices are unhelpful in creating a blissful life because neither help you to gain the wisdom that comes from understanding how events in your life came about. Self-assessing isn’t about creating excuses, but rather taking the time to understand your life and self on a greater level through self-examination. Then once you understand why something is the way that is it and what actions lead to it occurring, you have the power to create more or less of it in your life.
In my opinion self-assessments are fun! Personally I like understanding “why”. I was one of those kids who asked a million-and-one questions about “why this?” or “why that?” I most likely drove my mom crazy in the process, though she always provided me with the best answer she had because she knew that my curiosity for the world around me would provide me with understanding that was necessary for my growth. Likewise, having a curiosity for your life is important in order to gain understanding that is necessary for your growth.
When you take the time to assess yourself, come from a place of love and acceptance of self; though also come from a place of honesty and truth. You are the only one who will be seeing this list (unless you choose otherwise), so be honest in your answers. Don’t let fear stop you from expressing what needs to be expressed. So, grab a piece of paper and answer these few questions for yourself:
Who am I? Who have I been? Who do I wish to be to myself and other people?
What brings me bliss/happiness? What are my biggest accomplishments thus far? What is something I wish I had done, but didn’t? What do I want to be a part of my life now and in the future? What influences whether or not I do something? What holds me back and what pushes me forward?
When do I feel the most bliss and peace of mind? When do I feel the least?
Where am I currently in my life? Where have I been? Where do I want my life to go?
Why am I worthy of the life I wish to create for myself? (remember to come from love)
How do I intend to create the life I want?
Once you’re answered these question for yourself, look for the overriding themes. What do you see? Who do you see? Do you see someone who is courageous, that doesn’t hold anything back? Or do you see someone who has let fear stop themselves from doing or saying something that needed to be done or said? Do you see someone who avoids the tough questions, glosses over the ones that are a little less comfortable to answer? Or do you see someone who can’t find anything to better about themself? What do you want to see? What influences your behavior? Is it your spouse, family or friends; your religion; your fears; your past; your pursuit of happiness, love, beauty, acceptance?
If you’re like most people you are a combination of a lot of things. Sometimes you can be brave and outgoing, almost fearless… and other times and in other situations you feel powerless and a lack of control. Sometimes you may do something solely because it is what you want and you know that it’ll make you happy or maybe even a better person. And other times you may do something for the benefit of someone else for whatever reason. Though know that this is everybody, it’s normal to be both brave and scared. However, what I’ve learned in the last few years and what you need to remember is that it’s not about how brave or scared you felt in the moment… it’s about what you did with that feeling. Did you accept the fear and take the figurative leap anyway? Or did you let it stop you from going for it?
Self-Assessment Part 2: Be grateful.
After you have taking the time to think about who you are and what influences you, the second part of your self-assessment is to think about what you are grateful for. Think about the people, situations, and things in your life that you are thankful for and create a Gratitude List. In this list try to be specific; why are you grateful for that particular person, place, thing, or situation? Throughout the year feel free to update this list and continually practice the act of gratitude. It’s easy to take for granted the things in our lives that we’d usually miss the most if they were taken away from us. It goes without saying that this is because reliable things tend to not let us down, and therefore, just become another part of the norm. Like the sun rising, or the moon going through its phases. We don’t think or worry about these things happening because it is in our past experience that the sun always comes back at the beginning of a new day and the moon continues to go through its cycles regardless of our actions.
When we take the time to acknowledge the things in our lives that have become as reliable as the sun and moon, so to speak, we gain a deeper appreciation for them having been there and a realization that we are much luckier than we tend to realize.