People have cherished the desire to lead a meaningful life filled with happiness and good health since the beginning of time.
The Ancient Greeks believed that self-awareness was the key to all wisdom and the foundation for happiness. When the philosopher Socrates was asked about the meaning of life, he replied: “Know Thyself”. Along with other Greek philosophers, he firmly believed that to make decisions that improve your happiness, you must first have a true understanding of yourself.
What does this mean in practice?
Interacting with ourselves, the people around us and our work is often very inspiring, but can also be confrontational, problematic and stressful. Most of us have learned from experience that it is far from easy to fulfil our dreams or to accept that they are in fact unattainable.
Whether we realize it or not, our choices are influenced by our upbringing, education, circumstances and social conventions. Furthermore, there is little to no room for our real self – our ‘ego’ in the true sense of the word – simply because we give it insufficient consideration. Hence, it is highly likely that we will at some point feel dissatisfied with how our life has turned out. Besides that, we will come face to face with the consequences of our (often unhealthy) lifestyle.
Before we can make lasting improvements, we first need to gain insight into – and accept – our attitude to life and explore the possibilities for change. Some questions that can help you with self-reflection include:
- Who am I, and who do I want to be?
- What am and could I be capable of?
- Do I regard my life as meaningful?
- If not, how can I add meaning to my life (bearing in mind that problems are an inherent part of life; the only certainties in an otherwise uncertain existence are finiteness, suffering, passion, fate, and disaster)?
It helps to think carefully about how far you want to go in actively examining and shaping areas of your life such as:
- Personal growth
- The art of living
- Behavioural change
- Thinking in terms of solutions
- Convictions (personal belief system)
If you are pretty indifferent about these issues, then you are not yet ready to take conscious control of your life. However, you are increasingly likely to feel like a pawn at the mercy of other people or your circumstances.
If on the other hand, you do have the necessary intrinsic motivation, regular self-reflection will strengthen your bond with the above-mentioned aspects of your life and will stimulate you to actively pursue a lifestyle that will improve your happiness.
More info: Sprousebros
Take your time
Generally speaking, it can take days, weeks or even months to achieve lasting results, but the more self-awareness you have, the faster this will happen.
The StressChecker Company’s products support people in gaining greater self-awareness by monitoring how their living habits and circumstances impact on their stress level and vitality. This helps them to make effective and sustainable lifestyle changes for long-term happiness.
Author: Paul Pannevis
(CEO The StressChecker Company)