We put a lot of time into relationships simply to get to know the other person better. We want to learn all about each other-- all of the likes and dislikes, whether it be simple things like hobbies, food, music, or books, or more serious matters like religion, world view, or ethics. It's an important part of every relationship.
But how well do you know yourself? Have you spent that same amount of time getting to know what you really like or dislike? Are you opening yourself up to new experiences so that you can get to know yourself better? Are you allowing others to dictate who you are and what you like? Are you passively living life?
Last year, my life hit a very low point due to depression. I was at rock bottom, but found that I had the strength to pull myself up and keep going. The experience changed me. It changed the way that I perceive the world and it completely shattered my sense of identity. I was left feeling like I didn't know who I was anymore.
Over the past year, I have worked on self-development. I found courage to experience the things that I was once too afraid to do. I developed a new appreciation for the struggles of others, no matter what they may be. I realized that health and happiness were a precious gift. I put myself out there and cautiously made new friends and learned that not everyone had malicious intent towards me as it had been in the past.
More than anything, I have learned that you can always change. You're not stuck being someone you are not happy being. You have a choice. Life can happen to you, or you can make life happen. You cannot play the victim in life because that is what limits you.
You cannot grow if you are stuck in self-pity--it may definitely be a part of the journey (and that's ok), but it's not the destination. If you remain there, well, you won't be going anywhere in life. This is a lesson I'm still learning.
After taking time to be cognizant of my thoughts, feelings, and actions-- I began to get to know myself better. I began to learn what made me tick, what made me anxious, and what made me happy. I began to recognize when I needed to rest, and when I needed to live a little, instead of just being lost in the emotions of it all.
I learned to be introspective in times when I felt overwhelmed and didn't know why. And I've learned a lot. Here are just some of the things I've learned:
I've learned that I enjoy painting. I find it therapeutic. Prior to this, I never painted because I didn't think I was artistic.
I've learned that sometimes I just need to be alone in silence, and that's ok.
I've learned that I don't have to be perfect at something in order to do it.
I've learned that I thrive on a clear cut plan and become anxious without a plan.
I've learned that a change of plans is like a curve ball for me, for whatever reason.
I've learned that most moms are struggling in some way and that I'm not the only one who doesn't have it all together--and that's ok too.
I've learned that dieting isn't going to work, the problem is much deeper than that and controlling external factors will not heal the internal problems.
I've learned that I don't know what I might enjoy, or be good at, until I've tried it. I can't just assume that I'm not good at something.
I've learned that I don't have to fit into just one label, and maybe who I am will change throughout the years.
I've learned to be grateful for difficult experiences because they cause me to grow.
I've learned that my thoughts are the determining factor of my happiness-- and so they must be controlled.
I've learned that I'm actually not that bad at decorating cupcakes, even though I told myself I was horrible at it.
I've learned that too much noise makes me anxious.
I've learned that my creativity is my gift--and yes, I've learned to acknowledge that I am creative.
I've learned that I am a great mom, even if I'm not perfect-- no one is.
I've learned that I listen to the words of a song more than to the music itself.
I've learned that I enjoy being with a small group of people, but that I will need to recharge later.
I've learned that sleep is almost always the medicine that I need.
I've learned that I can feel an emotion without knowing why and that digging deeper is the only way that I can figure it out.
I've learned that I have so much more to learn.
There are a million things that I want to try and a million things that I want to learn. But even so, these external activities are simply ways to expand my knowledge of who I am. There are a million more things that I could learn about my internal being, as in what's in my heart, mind, and soul.
I believe that with frequent introspection and analysis of our behaviors, we can learn more about ourselves and ultimately become better people who are more in tune with God, ourselves, and can then be more empathetic of others. It's about having the humility to admit when we're wrong, and be willing to make a change--because change is always possible.
How well do you know yourself? What's something you've learned about yourself lately? What are you doing to open yourself up to more experiences?