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Finding the Motivation to Change

Become the person you want to be by positively engaging who you are now.

Source: Lukas/Pexels

Troubled? Feel stuck and stymied? Worse yet, do you feel unmotivated or lack the commitment to change? Whatever your struggles, the best place to begin is often with compassionate self-awareness, a combination of self-compassion and self-awareness.

By getting to know yourself better, you can identify what you’d like to change. Then you can consider how to go about making that happen. But it takes courage to face overwhelming feelings, negative self-perceptions, or consider some unknown territory that you’d like to explore (such as a new career or a new relationship). Finding that courage is where developing compassionate self-awareness comes it. It is an increased understanding of yourself that includes wanting good things for you.

The exercise below can help stoke your desire for personal growth and your commitment to act on that desire. As suggested below, reflect separately on your strengths and weaknesses; and practice reflecting on and repeating the following three statements:

I embody strengths. Embrace this, as it will empower you. Name the strengths that you see in yourself. For instance, you might note that you are a hard worker, empathic, or a good musician. Remember times when you’ve called upon your strengths, allowing yourself to enjoy the good feelings that they have brought. And, finally, practice calling upon them in your current life.

I embody human weaknesses. Embrace this, as it will keep you humble. But, remember that having weaknesses is part of being human. Just like you, all people have their own weaknesses and failures. If you tend to be self-critical, it is essential that you do not give more time to thinking about this than you do to thinking about your strengths and successes.

And most importantly:

I am a combination of my strongest and weakest qualities, and everything in between. Embrace this, as it will feed your sense of balance, self-acceptance, and well-being.

This exercise is complex. You may need to spend extra time with certain parts of it before you are able to fully engage in them. But with practice, you will hopefully improve your ability to balance awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. That will lead to a greater sense of self-acceptance. And when you are accepting of yourself in times of distress, you will naturally feel self-compassion and a desire to help yourself.

Succinctly stated, by developing compassionate self-awareness, you are learning to maintain a more positive relationship with yourself even during stressful times. So, as you develop this skill, you will find that you are not only motivated to reach your goals, but you are able to support and encourage yourself to move toward them.

If you would like to learn more about this approach, check out this brief video.

More from Leslie Becker-Phelps Ph.D.
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