The Importance of Self-Examination
Self-examination is the key to happiness and contentment starts with understanding who you are and how you can improve yourself. And this should not be taken lightly. As we venture on this journey together towards organized wellness, this is the first step towards personal growth. That might seem like a weird place to start when talking about organizing, but I want you to appreciate yourself for who you are, learn to understand your preferences and needs, being true to yourself, before embarking on your path to a clutter-free contented life and relaxing home. Some thoughtful introspection is in order before we can reach our final destination along with gaining personal insight.
What makes you Unique
Self-examination is key becuase you learn how you are unique. There is no one else on earth like you, and that’s a good thing! You have an irreplaceable set of experiences that have shaped your world and how you interact in it. You have your own thoughts and ideas on how things should be done. The personal preferences, values, and habits you have guide your decision making. There is no one else with your talents and abilities, making you uniquely gifted and skilled! It is important to embrace yourself and understand your self-worth. You are beautiful and remarkable, and this is something you should be reminding yourself of constantly in a world where body image is so distorted and comparison runs rampant.
Why Self-Examination is the Key
To be able to make progress in any area of your life, you need to know who you are, what you want, and what steps to take to get there. Asking yourself the necessary questions before you start will allow you to go down the correct path. This is what self-examination is all about. There’s no worse feeling than to put a bunch of time and effort into something to discover it led to the wrong outcome!!
Habit 2 of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is “begin with the end in mind.” In our personal lives, if we do not develop our own self-awareness and become responsible for our actions and behavior, we empower other people and circumstances outside our Circle of Influence to shape much of our lives by default. We reactively live out the scripts handed to us by family, associates, the pressures of circumstances- scripts from our earlier years, from our training, our conditioning. These scripts come from people, not principles. And they rise out of our deep vulnerabilities and our dependency on others. They drive our need for acceptance and love, from wanting to belong. This gives us a sense of importance and worth, feeling like we matter.
The Wrong Jungle!
In the book, it talks about the first step of leadership starting by asking what you want to accomplish. It tells a story about group of workers going through the jungle with machetes, clearing out the undergrowth with management following writing procedures, developing programs, setting up working schedules until one worker climbs a tree and yells, “Wrong jungle!” The lesson is that we get so caught up in our plan of getting through the undergrowth that we don’t notice it’s not the right jungle.
Self-awareness allows us to look at ourselves in a way that we can evaluate and compare our current behavior to our internal standards and values. It’s important to be objective evaluators of ourselves. We sometimes don’t want to face ourselves and use many different outlets of escape. One of the greatest debilitating behaviors of women is self-doubt and self-loathing.
The Self-Esteem Deficit
“85% of people live with a self-esteem deficit and this is the #1 cause of not living out your dream life.”
– Dr. Joe Rubino, self-esteem expert.
This outcome comes to fruition through our clutter and disorganization. If you are holding onto certain items because they represent someone who you’re not and maybe someone you thought you should be. Or a hobby that was extremely popular and you felt pressured by your friends to participate in. You end up disgruntled and dissatisfied because you aren’t living the life you were meant to live. You are trying to fill someone else’s shoes instead being true to yourself, embracing your individuality and unique purpose.
Accepting Yourself Begins with Knowledge
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”
– Mark Twain
This could very well be the most challenging step in our journey. Self-examination is not always easy, but necessary when it comes to having unwavering confidence. There is relief in learning about yourself and why you do the things that you do. One of the most fulfilling things that I’ve done for myself is to a take a personality test. I recommend www.16personalities.com. Within 10-15 minutes of answering some easy questions, you will receive a customized description of your personality type. It is based off the myers-briggs personality test. There are 16 categories you can fall into based on four characteristics with opposing ends of the spectrum. Introversion vs. extroversion. Intuition vs. Sensing. Thinking vs. Feeling. Judging vs. Perceiving. Another good test to take is the enneagram.
After examining your personality type, here is a list of questions to delve more into who you are and what you prefer. Don’t worry if these questions take you awhile to answer. Self-reflection is an ongoing process and introspection can be involved and thought provoking.
- What do you value? What are the principles deep inside of you that are foundational and unwavering?
- What do you like? What annoys you?
- What are your goals? To include your hopes and dreams. These will be the guiding light as you embark on life’s journeys
- What are your needs?
- Your strengths and weaknesses? Capitalize on your strengths and work around your weaknesses
- What are your preferences/priorities?
- What are your hobbies?
These last two are more fluid and while important, also identify areas of leniency and flexibility. Areas that would be good for compromise if these conflict with other family members or those you live with.
One caveat to consider when asking yourself questions
One of the things I’ve struggled with is determining the root cause of a certain problem when trying to understand myself better. It goes back to the manager who is cutting down trees in the wrong jungle. I would do an analysis of myself, come to a conclusion, make adjustments, but still feel frustrated in the end when the outcome wasn’t what I was expecting. As my personality assessment revealed, I am a feeler more so than a thinker. But I also have a very logical, scientific side. When I studied this topic about learning how to understand myself better, I stumbled across the phrase introspection illusion. We can put more emphasis on our emotions and how we feel which can lead us to the wrong conclusion if we misinterpret why we feel the way we do.
Tasha Eurich’s book, Insight, makes a distinction between self-awareness and introspection. She feels that the way we ask ourselves questions is crucial to the process of figuring out the correct answer. Insight is extremely important, but introspection can lead to an incorrect conclusion about oneself because we ask ourselves “why” questions instead of “what” questions. As a feeler, this is so important because asking what I feel and what I’m doing removes any self-judgment or demeaning thoughts about myself. It’s a very easy way to avoid negative self-talk and allow ourselves to look at ourselves from a distance as an observer. I really love this quote from Eurich’s book:
Why questions can draw us to our limitations; what questions help us see our potential. Why questions stir up negative emotions; what questions keep us curious. Here is a link to on her articles for further exploration.
How to Work on Becoming More Confident
- Self-examination is the key to understanding yourself. This leads to less inner conflict, allowing you to be true to yourself.
- Stop comparing yourself to others!
- Don’t entertain negative self-talk- if you heard someone saying the things you say to yourself would you find them acceptable? If not, you shouldn’t be saying them to yourself
- Don’t listen to the voices in your head of friends and family who have told you how you should do things or how you’re wrong. Do these words keep talking to you more than your own thoughts
- Entertaining too many “should be’s
- Write down your strengths, talents, gifts and what you like about yourself
Benefits of Self-Awareness
“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
– Anaïs Nin
When we know who we are, what we want, and how we feel, this self-awareness allows us to be proactive instead of reactive. We can start to take responsibility for the things that are ours and create a clear cut plan on what is important to us and what we don’t want to hold onto. The more stuff we have, the more time we spend organizing, cleaning and possibly repairing. How much time is wasted on dealing with our possession and energy drained that could be spent on other things. Being true to yourself is the start of your journey and will help you become more organized and also to find your purpose.
It also allows for us to stop caring as much about what people think of us and worrying about other people’s reactions. This brings about freedom and happiness.
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”
– Lucille Ball
Hi, I’m Shara
I have a passion for organizing. This stems from being naturally drawn to simplicity and structure in my home. Combined with my desire to help women achieve their goals, Simply Renewed Living was born.