There are three gifts you deserve to give yourself.
Nothing will be harder to do. But nothing will be more worthwhile.
It took me 30 years to figure them out…
Self-awareness. Self-love. Self-control.
This type of “self-ishness” is a rite of passage for all of us, a precursor to happiness and a prerequisite for success.
The hardest person to be honest with is yourself, especially as life moves fast and aspirations move faster. Looking deep is much more difficult than looking far.
I’ve learned that most of us think we’re either much better or much worse than we really are… self diagnosis is not a God-given talent. We’re too distracted by cultural norms or diverted by others’ expectations.
Self-Awareness is learning and understanding our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, limits and boundaries, wants and needs. It’s the simplest sounding, but most complex skill we can learn.
Knowing yourself is the first step to finding your Purpose and unleashing your passions.
And it’s a never-ending process… self-discovery and personal evolution should be a daily ritual.
Most folks think I’m pretty into myself… Individual infatuation combined with personal adulation. And for the most part, I’ve tiptoed the line between confidence and cockiness my entire life.
But I didn’t love myself.
I still remember having a conversation with a good friend during a tough time just a year ago, and feeling my eyes start to water when he said “Brother, you need to love yourself.”
Underneath the outer façade, and unknown even to me, I was consumed by insecurities. Some were misguided, some based on failures, and others the result of a conflict between who I was and who I was “supposed” to be… A messy inbreeding of fantasy and reality, with no room left for dreams.
When we peel away all the layers, and look deep within ourselves, we realize that fear and insecurity is what holds us captive.
Self-love is accepting and appreciating yourself for who you are, in spite of faults and flaws and in favor of respect and responsibility.
This isn’t conceit. Narcissism is actually the opposite of self-love; it’s based on inferiority and fiction.
Self-love is unconditional, genuine, and honest.
And it’s a precondition for a lasting relationship. You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else. Otherwise, the love you give them is in place of the love you owe yourself… not in addition.
This is the hardest one for me. I can become fixated on things and be a little OCD at times. The same ravenous appetite and ambition that pushes me in the workplace, if left unchecked, can wreak havoc on my personal life.
I’ve learned that the art of restraint, however, can elevate us to a higher level.
Self-control is a Super Power.
This can be as simple as passing up a second helping of your evening meal or holding yourself back from systemically stalking your ex, or as serious as resisting the temptation of harmful addictions.
If you can control Self, you’ve tamed the wildest beast you’ll ever meet.
Mastering the 3 “Selfs” is a lifelong mission. I’m a work in progress and I fail often. Learning, loving, and limiting ourselves is not easy.
But this constant pursuit has already helped me both personally and professionally. The “gifts” are the beginning… the reward is peace of mind, calmness of heart, and clarity of purpose.
Be “self”-ish today.