Recently, I was perusing the dictionary because I wanted to see what it said about this word “understanding.” Some synonyms shared were: comprehend, absorb, appreciate, identify with, empathize, be familiar with, and value. And in the context of personal growth, to understand is to be willing to empathize with others, be in tune with our emotional selves, and to value individual differences – even when we don’t agree with them. Thus the process of understanding involves a high level of mental, emotional, and spiritual awareness.
To comprehend, we use our mind, to empathize, we use our emotion, and to appreciate, we must tap into our heart (which houses our spirit). When one or more of these perspectives is under-represented, it is a challenge to have understanding and when all three converge, we experience peace… and authentic understanding. We live out what I refer to as Growth in Motion™!! I’m encouraging you start now while you’re a college student and this lifestyle will support you through graduation and for many years to come.
Growth in Motion™!! = Self Care + Self Empowerment + Self Knowledge + Self Direction
Throughout my life – starting even before college – I can think of many opportunities where I had to choose to understand situations I’ve been going through or to view them as the other person’s problem. Many times, I decided that it was the other person’s problem. More often, however, I decided to make a huge effort to dig, excavate, or get underneath and “understand” what was actually going on in an objective way. This has cost me a lot of restless days and nights, tears, and sweat over the years but after having experienced life in this way, I’ve grown to appreciate the upsets, arguments, and misunderstandings from a perspective of insight and wisdom. And in viewing life from this perspective, I have experienced a lot of personal growth and understanding.
Take care of yourself in a way that helps you experience a better understanding of yourself. A few ways to do this are to answer the following:
What I appreciate about _____ is ______. By completing this exercise, you will begin to reveal a sense of gratitude for the people, places, and things in your life. By focusing on what you appreciate, it lightens the load of the problems or circumstances that weigh you down, like your argument with your boyfriend last night! It also helps you to becoming more accepting of others and their differences.
What makes me happy? To prepare yourself, find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Then, take several full and deep breaths to help relax your mind and body. When answering this question, allow whatever comes to mind and express it on paper, even if it appears to be unfamiliar. I have found that this exercise can bring up some ideas and things that have been buried for years! For example, I forgot just how good I feel when I jump rope! As a result of completing this exercise, I have returned to this fun childhood experience. I also discovered that I enjoy writing and use it for healing and self expression. And after that particular writing session with myself, I decided to create this blog entry! So, get your paper and pen and allow your creative juices to flow! (Note: if you don’t enjoy writing, get a tape recorder and speak into it or if you prefer to draw or sing, take out your color pencils, paints, or recorder and have fun!)
Remember to spend time alone with yourself – yes, between classes, ex-curricular activities and having a life – to gain a better understanding of your likes, dislikes, and what really makes you happy. You will feel more compassion and internal peace. You might be surprised at how much more you enjoy the rest of life.
Take Care of Yourself,
“Living a Growth in Motion™ lifestyle!”