Over a decade ago I remember hearing about this new fandangle self development thing constantly, and spent a few good years thinking “What is self development about?” before I actually did something to learn about it. I’m here to make that process easier for you.
The dictionary defines self development as the process by which a person’s character or abilities are gradually developed. My opinion is that it goes a lot deeper than this statement will have you believe.
FROM SELF AWARENESS WE EXPAND
A huge part of self development is creating self awareness.
It’s becoming aware of your strengths and weaknesses and learning that it’s ok to choose to love and accept yourself exactly as you are…..
But simultaneously, wanting to change yourself, so that you can become the best you that you can be!
The idea includes many different areas of life, from simply learning new skills and expertise, to developing a greater level of emotional intelligence, to learning and implementing healthier physical behaviours and routines, which may include anything from diet to exercise even to sleep routines and so, so much more!
From awareness of self, and where we perceive our greatest weaknesses are in our lives, we can then develop those traits and expand into a new and improved way of being, existing and behaving.
SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT FOR A BETTER LIFE
The spiritually minded community, which is the area where I reside, would explain self development as the improvement of all aspects of the self, with a foundation of the following:
- The physical self
- The emotional self
- The mental self, and
- The spiritual self
The above “legs of the table” are believed to need to be developed simultaneously for the best health and lifestyle – if one lags behind, the rest of your life can get chaotic because the table gets unbalanced with one leg getting longer or shorter than the others.
These “legs” can be broken down into smaller subcategories for a better understanding of the importance of working towards a better you, and a better life.
THE PHYSICAL SELF
The physical self can be broken down into many parts, much more than just the physical body, but by all the physical things we can touch.
The aspect of the physical body is, of course, of extreme importance, because if we don’t look after our bodies as our temple, then we won’t be here long to care about the other stuff!
With the physical, we are talking also about financial health; how we relate to our family and whether we are on good speaking terms with them; how we live in our homes and whether we keep a clean and comfortable space etc.
THE EMOTIONAL SELF
It is so important to note here, that the emotional aspect is not just about how we feel in the present, although that is pertinent; if we regularly feel angry or frustrated, to a degree that it affects our relationships and creates tense situations that needn’t have otherwise been tense, that is a problem, however, we are talking about the fluid nature of emotions as well.
Our emotions, as part of our human nature, go up and down consistently. Emotions were never designed to be a monotonous drone of the same thing.
But we tend to have a regular level of emotion, a “home base” which can be likened to an individual’s “neutral”, and part of the spiritual self development model is to lift and increase your home base emotion, so that you can feel happier more frequently.
The other aspect of emotional self-improvement is to develop your emotional intelligence which includes the ability to respond in a healthy manner to triggers which previously would’ve had you react badly.
THE MENTAL SELF
Mental mastery can be a really challenging part of self development!
This can tie in with the emotional development, by how we respond or react to negative stimuli, within our thoughts. For example, if you were driving to work, and someone cut you off, would your thought processes stay negative and affect your entire day, or would you think “Wow! I was so lucky that driver missed me!” and carry on throughout your day feeling blessed that you made it to work?
Mental mastery is about learning to master our thoughts; learning to control them so that they don’t control us!
It’s about our beliefs as well. How do we think about the world, our finances, our jobs? Self development is about changing our perception on our negative beliefs and starting to use our thoughts in a more empowering manner, because our thoughts are the cornerstone of creating the life that we live.
THE SPIRITUAL SELF
The spiritual self is about the unseen aspects of our self, including our spirituality and how we use (or deny) our other senses, such as our intuition.
This is all about how we see ourselves and our inner connection with who we are and how our inner self gains access to a greater awareness of who we are; our shadows, triggers and unhealed parts of our self; the wounds which we carry around unhealed creating subconscious scripts in our energy and our being, causing the negative reactions of our bodies, emotions and minds.
The spiritual self is also about a wider comprehension of the universe and unity consciousness. The understanding that no matter what your specific beliefs, that there is something out there larger than us and the acknowledgement that it is a part of us!
YOUR IMAGINATION IS THE LIMIT
So when you ask yourself “what is self development about?”, it is entirely up to you!
Whatever your spiritual beliefs, and how you define it, self development truly is a huge area for contemplation, one which has no real limitations on how you can work this to your advantage.
Well, the only limitation is your very own imagination! So get a magnifying glass out, and take a good look at yourself and the areas you feel you could have done better:
- Did you eat well today?
- Did your emotions run away from you for no reason?
- Did you find yourself down the barrel of another negative thought loop?
- Did you allow your intuition to guide you?
YOU CAN DECIDE
There is a whole world of possibility out there once you have the courage to build your self awareness, and then start to recognise and acknowledge that how you’ve always been doesn’t necessarily equate to how you will always be.
It’s always your choice as to how you want your life to be.
It’s not a short road, in fact, it’s a lifetime journey, but the more effort you put into developing your self, the more changes you will see in your external world over time.
Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.