40 in 40: #29
I spent much of life in ignorance about myself.
I could tell you what I did, who I was related to, who my friends were. But on many of the deeper issues in life I wasn’t very self aware.
It wasn’t until I was in my middle 30′s and was repeating some of the same negative patterns in life over and over that I realized I had some inside work to do.
Since that time I’ve spent a fair amount of time and some amount of treasure trying to learn more about myself. I’ve taken personality assessment, gift inventories, and strength evaluations.
I’ve sought help from professional counselors both as a younger person and even more recently in this past year. I’ve found that help invaluable.
I’ve also looked for spiritual direction, professional coaching, and business consultants when needed.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Obviously this lesson didn’t come from me. Shakespeare wrote that in Hamlet.
And when I first hear “to thine own self be true” it sounds selfish and self-centered. But the older I get the more convinced I am that honesty to self is probably one of the most powerful tools to personal growth available to us.
It reminds me of the airline instructions when you get on a plane: In the event of a sudden loss of air pressure put the oxygen max on yourself first and then help those around you.
Until we take a hard look inside and try to be ruthlessly honest with ourselves, we may not be of much use to those around us.
Keep moving forward,