Thursday, March 31, 2011

Be Honest with Yourself

 Due to circumstances beyond my control I am master of my fate and captain of my soul.  [Ashleigh Brilliant]
Today, at this very moment, what is your life like? Do you have a life plan, or are you, like most of us, simply flying by the seat of your pants? Time waits for no man - or woman. Figure out what is truly important in your life. It is the first step towards taking charge.  
  1. Choose a focus for your introspection. Good ones include goals, career, money, family, spirituality, and love.
  2. Set some time aside for yourself. Get up earlier or later than your family, or find a quiet space where you can sit and think. Some people think better while doing some other simple task (such as laundry) or while walking. Find out what works for you.
  3. Take stock. What is your life all about? What is your purpose in it? What are you good at? What could you improve?
  4. Be objective. Self-reflection and assessment can be a very emotional matter, but try to be detached.
  5. Be specific. What have you accomplished, why did you do it? What would you like to accomplish? What bothers you? Why does it bother you? What do you like about yourself?
  6. Keep things in perspective. So you haven't won your Nobel Peace Prize yet. Neither have most of the rest of us. You're only human, and nobody, including yourself, should expect perfection of you.
  7. Write things down. Putting something in words helps you to be specific. You can write in whatever way you feel comfortable expressing yourself, be it lists, notes, cartoons, drawings, or maps. If you're not a writer, consider talking into a tape recorder or recording your thoughts some other way.
  8. Consider the good and the bad, both. One way businesses do this is with a "SWOT" diagram. Take four pages or sections of a page and write in them the following:
    • Strengths. What are you best at? What do you love doing and do just for the passion of it? What do others compliment you on or tell you you're good at? Once you have these listed, consider how you can make them even better, or use them to your advantage.
    • Weaknesses. What do you dislike? What doesn't work too well for you? Focusing on the negative can put things into perspective. Once you have listed your weaknesses, you can choose whether to try to improve upon these areas or let them go. If it matters that you're not a strong swimmer, make plans to improve. If not, at least you know your limitations and can stay in the shallow end of the pool.
    • Opportunities. These may go hand in hand with your strengths. At a personal level, an opportunity isn't just the potential to make money. Rather, consider where you could make a difference, satisfy your own needs (for instance, to create), or simply improve yourself. Opportunities could be based on how you could use your strengths or how you could improve upon your weaknesses.
    • Threats. What could undermine those opportunities, derail your hopes or sidetrack your success, whatever you define those to be? The purpose for listing these is twofold. First, identifying them allows you to see them more clearly. The known is less threatening than the unknown. Second, it allows you to address those risks. Some risks are beyond our control, but many can be lessened or at least planned for.
  9. Have an audience, if you are comfortable doing so. Find somebody to talk to. You'll feel really silly saying things that are not true out loud. If you're not yet comfortable talking to a person, choose a pet or stuffed animal, instead.
  10. Ask friends whom you trust how they see you. Seeing yourself honestly is not always easy, and an honest assessment by somebody outside can help you to know if your personal assessment of yourself is reasonable.
  11. Write a list of all the things you would like to do in the next five years, ten years, or before you die. Don't filter things out yet, just write as fast as you can think of things. If you prefer, write the list focusing on a particular aspect or question in your life.
  12. Ask yourself questions, and answer them in lists, essays, or however you see fit. Here are some examples:
    • What is important in my life and what is simply dragging me down?
    • What would I change about my life?
    • Which individuals contribute to my happiness and which do not?
  13. Commit to making a change. Tell yourself, it's my life, and if I am to remain happy and healthy, I alone must decide what stays and what goes.
  14. Don't beat around the bush. Tell yourself the truth, even if the truth is bad. Remember that saying things that are true will help you fix them. Although sometimes it's hard to self analyze, admitting to yourself that you are jealous of someone is better than trying to deny it. The truth may make you miserable at first, but later it will set you free.
  15. Set goals. See the related wikiHows for details
  16. Take action. Put your plan in motion, confident that you are moving toward what you really want. Actions speak louder than words, so acting upon what you discover about yourself is a big part of being honest.

  • Being honest does not mean being brutal. Everybody has shortcomings and difficulties. The best athlete or singer in the world could be a terrible writer. See an honest identification and evaluation of problems as a stepping stone to solving them, not as a reason to berate yourself.
  • If you have enough objectivity and insight into yourself, and are honest with yourself, you might have to admit that your life is ordinary, and is only about living and getting by. There is nothing wrong with that, since this is simply a part of the human condition.
  • Remember, there is no harm in writing something down. You can choose not to share it, destroy it, edit it, or simply keep it a secret.
  • If you don't know where to begin, try taking a personality test (see external links). They cannot discover you by themselves, but they can lend some insight about your nature to help get you started.

    Releated wikiHows

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