“The longest journey is the journey inwards.” by Dag Hammarskjold
The word journey is a metaphor for time and life. We move through our days, weeks, months, and years with ourselves as our constant companions. The journey inwards refers to our inner self, feelings, thoughts, hopes, dreams, and goals. Going inward means getting to know and understand ourselves. “The Greek philosopher Socrates teaches “Know Thyself” and encourages humans to search for self-understanding because the most important relationship we will ever have is with ourselves.
Self-relationship is the foundation of everything else: how we select a career path, choose life partners, make and keep friendships, how we parent, and how rich and fulfilling our experiences can be. A strong self-relationship enhances resiliency, drives optimism and hope. Like having your best friend with you to cheer your on, it provides resiliency and a guardrail for the most challenging times in our lives.
At the beginning of a new year, I set the intention to reconnect with my inner self and to strengthen my self-relationship. Connecting with myself provides the clarity that I need to continue moving in the right direction.
Here are 3 steps to developing a solid relationship with ourselves.
- Develop self-awareness and a willingness to know yourself.
One of the best ways to know yourself is to identify your core character strengths and values. You can take a free survey that can help you identify your top character strengths at www.Viacharacter.org https://viacharacter.org/
- Accept and love yourself by practicing self-compassion, self-love, self-empathy, gratitude, and joy. The simple practice of a daily 5-minute gratitude practice has been proven to improve positive emotions, including self-love, empathy, and compassion.
- Use our gifts and talents to move towards achieving meaningful things in your life.
Allowing yourself to practice what feeds your soul and fills you with joy moves you towards meaning and fulfillment, the ultimate human destination.
The journey inwards can start with the smallest step, an acknowledgment that you are doing your best, a thought of encouragement and hope, and an inner smile; becoming a friend to yourself is worth the effort and will unlock long-term happiness.