Developing Self is an Art

Prevention is better than cure. And the best way to overcome depression or any other pathology is positive psychology. We get what we focus on, so why not shift our thoughts on health and our ideals. And besides, we have everything to gain as our character grows. Magnanimous personalities readily attract the things they want in life. Developing ourselves is a skill set just like any other. Think of developing yourself like you would go about creating art. Creating self is fun. Just like creating art and music, the learning curve can be challenging at first but once you build a foundation the rest is easy. 

Remember when you took up painting for the first time? You know, you had to incorporate the rules of your new interest, you experimented with different mediums and became more comfortable in your style, you eventually disciplined yourself, and before long others began commenting on your progress. The process to developing character is the same. 


Anything worthwhile takes time. Developing self is a life long journey. And investing in your mental health is the most important allocation of your resources. True success may be measured in a single event but there is always a story and person of character committed to their achievement. So, if it’s true then why not start and commit to your definition of success? And this is the problem, most do not even know what success story they would like to write for themselves. The aim of this article is to begin thinking about your success story and hone habits that will actually help you achieve. The habits we choose determine the quality of our life, what are the habits that are going to produce our definition of success? Below are over 20 reflective questions, mostly ‘how can I…’ to challenge yourself become better. Take it easy. I recommend one question a day for a month period of time.  Remember it is quality over quantity. 

  1. How can I laugh at myself more? I mean come on! Relax. I am not that cool. Nobody likes a stiff. Let down my guard, don’t be defensive and learn to take feedback and sit with being an idiot. It is okay being wrong as long as it is a learning point and a chance to improve self. 
  2. How can I be my biggest fan? Go with it. I trust me and my judgement. Usually my first intuition is the best decision. 
  3. How can I accept me? What do I like about my personality?  I want to l accept myself in the current moment – this is harder than I may think. Although I already have a list in my head with reasons why I am not unlovable, how can I begin to appreciate myself as I am?
  4. How can I focus less on my appearance? 
  5. How can I be more intentional with my social media time? I recognize I’m too cool for school and don’t waste time checking Facebook out because I have better things to do with my time.
  6. How can I lift and praise others and be genuine about it? In conversations I shift my weight around to learn about other’s passions rather than aggrandizing myself.
  7. How can I confront my next conflict with more optimism? I want to be known as the one who can solve their problems and lead others to victory. 
  8. How can I practice confidence while standing in my independence?
  9. How can I give myself more permission to take initiative and create positive change?
  10. How can I feel happy in this moment?
  11. How can I focus on my successes? 
  12. How am I a radical and a maverick in changing old ways of thinking to being more advanced?
  13. How can I push ridged boundaries that obstruct growth?
  14. How can I be more tolerable and approachable to other perspectives?
  15. What are my strengths? How can I use my strengths more efficiently?
  16. Where can I shift my mental energy and spend more on eat healthy, exercise, accept yourself as you are?
  17. Where can I spend more of my energy helping lift others up and avoid making other’s feel inferior. I’m happy when other succeed and get good stuff because that means I can to. 
  18. Where have I done things right where I worked smarter and not harder?
  19. Why do I believe good things will come to me? How am I lovable?
  20. When have I seen me accomplish things because of hard work?
  21. What can I do today with something that I am avoiding?

Before you become discourage with these heavy questions, remember this is a journey not a destination. Progress is happiness and as long as we a better today than we were yesterday than our self-esteem improves because our worth grows. I would be happy to offer expert therapeutic one-on-one assistance. Please reach out and schedule an appointment with me today at (801) 810-8309. ryan@holladayfamilies.com.

Written by Ryan Smith, MS, LAMFT, Therapist at Holladay Center for Couples and Families

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