I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Self-examination is critical to maintaining your body, to enabling personal growth, and to the development of healthy relationships. You and I need to know how we’re doing. Here are some things you can do –
1. Sense whether you can relax and feel accepted, alive, and whole when you’re by yourself. If you can’t, kindly ask yourself, why?
2. Think about your attitude toward your body. Are you okay with it despite its pains, weaknesses, and shape. Be compassionate. Contempt can result in more tension, more pain, overeating, etc. Kindly work for a healthy body.
3. See if your body is relaxed or tense. You can give your body permission to relax by breathing more slowly and deeply and focusing on what is beautiful, good, and true.
4. Kindly examine your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Acknowledge your mistakes, make amends, and accept forgiveness.
5. Consider the positive things that you’ve done and accept that this too is reality.
6. Focus your thoughts on the present and let yourself absorb the beauty, goodness, and truth in it. Avoid getting stuck in the past or fantasizing about the future. Say, “No,” to your mind and come back to the present.
7. Consider other people. Can you feel a positive connection with the people in your life? If you can’t, kindly consider why?
8. Consider your attitude toward the world. Do you notice the goodness and beauty that is there? Do you feel connected and grounded? If not, why?
9. Consider your attitude toward the universe. Do you have any sense of connection with it; that you are part of something much larger than yourself?
10. Do you sense that your life has purpose, that you are contributing to something larger than yourself? If not, you might think this. Purpose, love, service, and sacrifice can lead to much fulfillment and contentment.
Self-examination can be painful but it’s worthwhile. It gives you an opportunity to celebrate the good that you’ve done and the opportunity to learn from your mistakes, make amends, and change. You can learn to endure all the truth about yourself. Solitude, contemplation, and reflection help you deal with the world and fate as they are. You’ll be glad you took time for this.
“It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield,”
William Butler Yeats.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi