Becoming a better person is something of great interest to me but focusing so intently on improvement isn’t necessarily the best way to approach personal development.
“There are things about ourselves that we need to get rid of; there are things we need to change. But at the same time, we do not need to become too desperate, too ruthless, too combative. Along the way to usefulness and happiness, many of those things will change themselves, and the others can be worked on as we go. The first thing we need to do is recognize and trust our own Inner Nature, and not lose sight of it. For within the Ugly Duckling is the Swan, inside the Bouncy Tigger is the Rescuer who knows the Way, and in each of us is something Special that we need to keep.” – from The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
This is by far my favourite quote of all time. I tend to be too hard on myself when I make a mistake or do or say something that I later regret. It isn’t that I want to be perfect so much as I hate the idea of hurting other people even unintentionally.
Conscientiousness can be a wondeful character trait. Like anything, though, it can be taken too far. Reading this quote – indeed, the entire book – was like coming home after a long afternoon outdoors in the middle of January, peeling off several layers of cold, damp, wool clothing, inhaling a big gulp of warm air and suddenly realizing how heavy your arms and legs felt wrapped in all of those layers.
This has been one of my most important lessons of 2010. I’ve by no means finished learning to take everything a little less seriously but I am growing better at noticing when I’m being too hard on myself. It turns out that grace isn’t just something one has for other people! 😉
What was the most important thing that you learned in 2010? How do you go about making healthier decisions or growing emotionally, psychologically, or spiritually?