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When we think about self-transformation, we often focus on the aspects of our lives that we don’t want anymore—bad experiences we’ve had, mistakes we’ve made, people that have hurt us, the things we want to leave behind. But before we can step into a new version of ourselves, it’s important to pause and examine who we really are right now in this moment. If you dig deep enough, it can be an eye-opening experience!
Here are 3 questions to ask yourself that will help you get in touch with your inner self:
1. Are your strengths and weaknesses really what you think they are? Here’s an experiment. Make two lists: one of your strengths and one of your weaknesses. Now switch the headers so that your strengths are weaknesses and vice versa. How does that feel? Confusing? Wrong? Why is that?
We tend to label our strengths as “good” and weaknesses as “bad,” but in reality, they both serve an important role in our development. Think about how your strengths might be limiting you in some way and how your weaknesses might really be a benefit. For instance, independence and confidence could be viewed as strengths, but they might also keep you from asking for help or showing vulnerability. On the other hand, being stubborn could be a weakness, but it also means you are persistent and determined.
Understand that even the parts you don’t like about yourself provide opportunities for growth and make up a unique part of the spiritual work you are meant to do. Likewise, the things you like about yourself might be preventing you from seeing how much you still have to grow. How much are you attached to the idea of your strengths being “good” and weaknesses being “bad”?
2. How do you become better in the areas that matter most to you? No matter how good of a job we are doing, there is always room for improvement. Take the time to self-reflect and think about how you can grow in all areas of your life. If there isn’t at least one moment where you realize there’s an area you need to work on, then you aren’t digging deep enough!
We’re told we need to be perfect, have it all together, and never fail. So we often blind ourselves to our shortcomings. Words like failure, fault, and imperfection have a negative connotation, but those are the areas that provide powerful opportunities for us to grow. In truth, those are the parts of ourselves we should be chasing, not ignoring.
Give yourself permission to see your failings and faults in the most forgiving way possible. They don’t make you a bad person or inadequate, just a human being with areas for improvement like everyone else. Look at this exercise as merely feedback. You don’t need to take any immediate steps - just having the information is a huge first step. If we don’t examine our lives, we are bound to stay the same.
3. Are you constantly seeking appreciation in all things? Being in a constant state of seeking is fundamental to our spiritual growth, and one of the most powerful things we can seek is appreciation for all things. Without gratitude, we focus on our lack instead of the blessings in our lives. The wisdom of Kabbalah teaches that blessings cannot rest in a place of darkness. In other words, the more gratitude we have, the more we open ourselves up to allow blessings into our lives.
Every year, we grow and change whether we realize it or not. Every day has shaped and transformed you. Even in a year that may have been dark, look for the gifts. What relationships are you most grateful for? What did you overcome? What did you learn? How did you grow? Even through all the darkness, we can find the beauty.
It is so important that we understand who and where we are in our spiritual journey in order to focus our energy in the right direction. How do we know what we need to work on if we can’t see ourselves clearly? Make time to evaluate yourself, but do it with kindness and compassion. Think about the ways you can improve, but also all that you have accomplished and how far you’ve come. Know that you can do anything as long as you have the dedication and the right frame of mind