Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: #A-Z Challenge

“The best way is to understand yourself, and then you will understand everything. So when you try hard to make your own way, you will help others, and you will be helped by others. Before you make your own way you cannot help anyone, and no one can help you.”

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice by Shunryu Suzuki

I won’t go so far as to suggest that you have multiple personalities, but there is certainly more to you than meets the eye!

The Johari Window

This simple little graphic was developed back in 1955 by two psychologists, first names Joe and Harry, who were studying group dynamics.

There are four quadrants, all the same size. The labels in the quadrants differ a little depending on how the model is used but essentially they are:

Your Public Self

What you know about yourself
that others also know

Your Private Self

What you know about yourself
that others do not know

Your Blind Self

What others know about you that
you do not know about yourself

Your Unknown Self

What no one knows about you,
including you

The Johari Window is used primarily to think about relationships in a group or between groups. The goal in a group setting is to expand the quadrant of Your Public Self so that the group can function most effectively.

But for our purposes, for the goal of self-understanding, it is the Blind Self and the Unknown Self that need to be brought into the light.

Why Not Leave Well Enough Alone?

This entire A-Z series of blog posts has been a mini-curriculum in self-understanding. It has been validating, I hope, but maybe also a bit challenging? When we start mucking about with trying to figure out what stories we are telling ourselves, or why we resist the changes that we claim to want, it is reasonable to ask ourselves if it wouldn’t be better to focus on our Public and Private selves and forget the rest.

I can’t do that and, if you’re a member of the Profound Journey tribe, neither can you. The alternative to an intentional life is a life lived on autopilot. When we are unaware of the thoughts and feelings behind our behaviours, we’re never fully present in our own lives or in our relationships. Self-improvement goals are impossible to achieve, and denial and blame take the place of meaningful conversations and positive, forward motion.

The Many Benefits of Self-Understanding

Working at self-understanding provides us with so many life-enriching benefits. 

If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.

Jiddu Krishnamurti
We:

  • learn to recognize, appreciate, and enhance our positive qualities and strengths.
  • have an easier time making changes in the direction of a happier life because we know which thoughts and feelings trip us up, and we’ve learned how to deal with them.
  • are more likely to have compassion for ourselves and others, since we have an up close and personal understanding of life’s challenges.
  • are able to develop and maintain successful relationships. We know ourselves well enough to know what we want from a relationship and what we have to offer.
  • make better decisions. We are aware of our own cognitive biases and thought patterns and have learned to question any destructive beliefs. And we are able to listen to others’ opinions without feeling defensive.
  • feel peaceful. Matthieu Ricard said, “We deal with our mind from morning till evening, and it can be our best friend or our worst enemy.” It just doesn’t make sense to pitch ourselves into battle day after day.
  • become ourselves. From a book that I must read, The Art of Talking to Yourself, Vironika Tugaleva writes, “If you can stop trying so hard to become who you think you should be, and instead commit to understanding and nourishing yourself, you will bloom into whatever kind of person you are.”

An End But Not Really

The A-Z challenge is done. I sincerely thank all readers. I’d like to think that I’d do this kind of reflecting and writing even without readers, but I’m fooling myself. This blog wouldn’t exist if there weren’t people who wanted to read it.

Double gratitude goes to those who commented, publicly or privately. Your openness, thoughtfulness and wisdom enriched each post. Several readers have said how much they enjoyed reading both the posts and the comments. Together they were a conversation, which is exactly what I’ve always wanted Profound Journey to be.

In the first post of this series, I quoted Thomas Moore who wrote,

“Your very purpose in life is to age, to become what you are; essentially, to unfold and let your inborn nature be revealed.”

I believe that unfolding to reveal our inborn natures is the very definition of our individual profound journeys. Because of that belief, this series, and your comments, you can expect to see more posts about different aspects of self-understanding. Anticipate more short posts so that there is mental space for your personal reflections rather than just the words of the experts. Shiraz is working on making it even easier to leave comments whenever you wish, and on giving you an email alerting you when there’s a reply to your comment rather than to all comments.

If you haven’t joined the tribe and would like to, we would love to have you. Soon, there will be a signup box in every post. For now, please go to the purple subscribe button at the top right of this post or of the homepage and sign up there.

We’re supposed to do a reflection post about the A-Z challenge next Monday. I won’t be doing that. After today, I return to regular posting which is early every Thursday morning (in Canada). I hope you’ll join me for my reflections this Thursday. There are some people I want you to meet.

So, do you think it’s possible to ever fully understand yourself?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join the tribe:

59 comments

  1. Hi Karen,

    I’ve really enjoyed what you did with the A-Z Challenge – a marvellous job! And I loved reading the comments and responses. What a great community of souls you have here on Profound Journey!
    I love the direction you are taking us, too.
    I don’t know if anyone can ever fully understand themselves. It would be hard to always successfully navigate around our inherent perception bias. Which is why we need input and feedback from others, who can see us more objectively. If only we are perceptive enough to realize this gift. Damn, there’s my 2018 word, twice! Perceive.
    Anyways, congratulations my friend – you nailed it.

    Deb
    p.s. tell Shiraz I love the autofill feature on the comment box. Saves me a lot of typing!!! Also, I don’t mind being notified of everyone else’s comments. I like reading what others have to say.

    1. Thanks, Deb. And great use of your 2018 word!
      I will definitely pass along your compliments to Shiraz. Poor guy, he’s probably feeling pretty beleaguered right now by the long email I’ve given him of stuff I want fixed or changed. He could do with hearing some good news. I need to remember that my perception of what absolutely must be done isn’t the same as his or yours. (I tried to get your word in there, but perhaps not as effectively.)

  2. Hi Karen a great post to end your AtoZ Challenge with and I found the Johari Window very interesting. I too would be very interested in the Blind Self – we never really see ourselves as others see us and the Unknown Self where there is more for us to discover. So pleased we connected during this challenge and I will be a regular visitor to your blog. Well done and congratulations on very high quality writing I looked forward every day to reading your next instalment. See you at Midlife Share the Love Party on Wednesday.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

    1. Hi Sue, I too am delighted that we have connected through this challenge, and I look forward to reading and commenting on your blog for many years to come. I’m delighted to hear that you are interested in more posts on self-understanding, although I’m not surprised. Really, that’s what your blog is all about too.
      See you on Wednesday at the Midlife Share the Love, on Thursday here, and on your blog whenever your next post is scheduled.

  3. It’s interesting to think that we have an unknown self that is still waiting for us to discover. I like the idea that there is more of me to come – that I have undelved depths. Midlife and blogging is opening me up to new thoughts and new pathways – so who knows where I’ll end up? Congrats on finishing the AtoZ Karen – I’ll be back for your Thursday round up – and mine will be next Monday.

    Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au
    Z for Zero in on your target

    1. Oh, there’s so much more of you to come, Leanne… and it’s gonna be good!
      Congratulations to you as well. I will see you on Wednesday for the Midlife Party, on Thursday, next Monday and so on and so on.

      1. Hi Karen – well here we are at #MLSTL and it’s great to have you. I joined your subscriber list and received your e-book. It was perfect timing because I was just finishing my first ever e-book of my posts from the AtoZ – it was good to have something to compare mine with and yours was really interesting.

        Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM xx
        Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au

  4. I’ve so enjoyed your daily posts, Karen. My spiritual life helps me discover the hidden side of myself – both the positive and the negative. When I am open to my higher power’s messages (I call him God) then I have a loving teacher and leader guiding me to be a better person. The still small voice within me is that guide and when I can ‘hear’ it, I am on the right path. I also find my hidden side when I read God’s word, in addition to some inspirational writers, like you. When I have a brutal voice speaking to me and putting me down, it is not the loving guidance of my Teacher. I usually know I’m onto something more positive when that happens and the negative side of life is trying to hold me back. Sometimes I engage in full fledged battles! I also depend on other people – often friends but not always – to help me see my hidden side. Thought provoking post as usual!

    1. Thank you, Molly. And thank you for your thought-provoking comment. I love your surety that a brutal inner voice is not the voice you ever need listen to, and your positivity that it is often a sign of good things to come as long as you don’t listen!
      I appreciate your support, encouragement, and frequent comments throughout the A-Z series.

  5. Nice to see you at the Finish Line, Karen! A heartfelt congratulations to you! You’ve not only completed this challenge, you’ve deeply engaged your readers and helped us to think, dialogue, reflect, revise and rethink along the way. Brilliantly done!
    Thank you for sharing the Johari Model with us. It is very revealing and thought-provoking.
    I look forward to continuing to follow your research in this area. And I look forward to seeing the additions that Shiraz makes for your site.

    1. And you, Donna. It was quite the month, especially for you with your travels in the midst of it. Eesh. You’re a better woman than I am. I don’t think I would have even started the challenge under your circumstances, never mind finished it!

      1. Never underestimate the power of stubbornness! When I first committed to the Challenge, I told myself that I would simply drop out if things got to be crazy. Who was I kidding? Had I met myself before??

  6. Congratulations Karen. Your posts were truly amazing right to the end. BTW I would like to know those things that other people know about me, that I don’t. How do I find out?

    1. Thanks, Fran. The usual way to find out what other people know about you that you don’t know about yourself is through 360 degree assessments, the kinds of things that happen in workplaces not during retirement.
      Once retired, I think the only way is heartfelt conversation with trusted friends, preferably someone who wants the same thing from you so it doesn’t feel one-sided.

  7. Karen – great final post. Your approach with starting with a quote and then exploring the topic was really powerful. And the conversation generated each time equally so… I followed a few new people through this whole event!

    The question that really resonated with me in this post was “why do we resist the changes that we claim we want?” Oh yeah! You followed this with becoming aware of thoughts and feelings behind the behaviors. That is where I am currently doing more self-understanding.

    I’ve been re-looking at Johnson’s Spiritual Strengths recently because of his focus on the thinking process. Have you ever looked into his work? His articulation of the thought process is: Beliefs, Perceiving (senses), Thinking (cognitive rationalization/ bias), Feeling (emotional response), Deciding (choice,) and Action (behavior). Much of this happens in nano-seconds. He claims you have an innate strength (with its associated shadows) as each stage. It’s been fascinating learning…trying to make more on my unknown known.

    Anyway, congratulations on both completing…and IMHO having the best conversations in the comments. Not that we doing any comparison stuff here. 🙂

    1. Thanks for letting me know about Johnson’s work, Pat. I can always count on you to be reading and studying something interesting. I hadn’t heard of Johnson but will definitely take a look. Or if you have notes, please do share 🙂
      And thanks for being a big part of those best conversations. It’s people like you – seekers – that make Profound Journey so meaningful to me and, from what people are saying, to others.

  8. Well, you won’t be getting rid of me. Something about the way you think and talk resonates with me. I’ve always felt I had time to make things work but now, with aging, I realize I really don’t (and what the heck does ‘make things work’ mean anyway?). I have enjoyed reading your thoughts on all of this and will continue.

  9. Hey Karen — in answer to your question — simply put – no. Given my constant reinvention of ‘myself’ – I doubt I’ll ever fully understand me. But I do think, honestly, that I take breaks from attempting it. Your blog is a wonderful opportunity to reflect and ‘dig deeper’ when I have the energy and inclination. Thanks so much for sharing your insight and for willingness to challenge.

    1. Thanks, Janet. I very much enjoy the insights from your blog as well, and the challenges you offer.
      I believe that constant reinvention is a vital part of self-understanding, with each reinvention turning us a little closer to our authentic selves. I also believe that sometimes we need to just be and relax. Reflection is vital but it’s exhausting and definitely not a 24/7 activity.

  10. Hi Karen! Congratulations again on not only finishing the challenge but doing it is such a “profound” way. ” 🙂 And I completely agree that the most amazing and fulfilling journey any of us will ever take during this lifetime is the one we make toward greater self -awareness. I’ve enjoyed connecting with you and walking in that direction. I’m looking forward to where and how deep we can all go from here. ~Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy,
      I appreciate your comments, especially since I view you as a thoughtful, intelligent woman who has been on this journey for a bit. I’m looking forward to the group of us going further and deeper.

  11. Hi Karen. I had never heard of the Johari Window before. It really is true about which quadrants we spend the most time on. It’s interesting that most people try to figure out their spouse or best friend with such gusto, and leave their interior life untapped. You’ve done a wonderful job of calling to our attention the many aspects that make us up as individuals, as well as how we can understand ourselves better, and even improve. It has been so wonderful to read each of your A to Z posts. Each has been thought-provoking and, yes-profound.
    Facing Cancer with Grace – Zero in on Self-Care

    1. Thank you, Heather. A few friends gently mocked when I came up with the name Profound Journey for my site. They thought ‘journey’ too cliched, and ‘profound’ a bit of a stretch. The name came to me in an interesting way. I was in full-blown burnout and exhausted to the bone. I’d grabbed a handful of magnetic poetry words from a box and thrown them on a magnetic whiteboard I have in my studio. I’d moved the words around to make up appealing expressions and one of the ones I came up with was “profound journey please.”
      Months later, I was sitting in my studio looking for a name for my site and finding that everything I was interested in was already taken by someone who was prepared to sell it to me for a few thousand dollars. Then I glanced over at the whiteboard and there it was.
      It’s feeling like a profound journey now, and if the posts felt profound to you, then I’m very happy.

  12. Beautiful. Loved reading about the Johari window. There’s so much the A-Z teaches me every single time. I learnt Akismet. Followed you here and learnt about Johari! Congratulations on the challenge.

    Cheers,
    Deepa
    2018: A-Z

  13. Thank you for making this month enormously interesting, Karen. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do the challenge this year, now I’m glad I did, thanks in large part to you.
    There is still a lot I have to discover about myself. I’m sure of it. A reader of mine who read a short story years ago, took apart a certain paragraph, letting me know how it made her feel and how she imagined I must’ve felt when I wrote it (it had to do with a man traveling solo through Europe after losing his wife). As I read the comment, I realized that was not how I felt when I wrote the story, but her interpretation of how I must’ve felt told me something about a part of myself I probably hadn’t been aware of until that time. So, yes, I absolutely agree, there are so many parts to us, and many of those parts haven’t fully developed yet. Life is a learning process.
    I look forward to keeping in touch, Karen. Thank you, and enjoy some rest at the end of a successful A-Z Challenge.

    1. Thank you so much, Silvia. I really appreciate your kind words.
      What an interesting experience you had with your friend’s interpretation of your short story. It makes me think that the Zen master was right when he told Natalie Goldberg, “If you go deep enough in your writing, it will take you everywhere.”
      I’m very excited to discover where we’ll go and I’m glad we’re on the journey together.

  14. The Johari Window is something I hadn’t heard of, and it makes a lot of sense. Super-impressed with your achievement in The A to Z, such a lot of work has gone into it. Congratulations!

  15. Congrats on getting to the finish line with a flourish! I must admit that I seldom read nonfiction but your posts have introduced me to a lot of intriguing books and fascinating concepts. The Johari Window is such an interesting way to think about all of the different facets of ourselves. As a member of the Profound Journey tribe, I love the insights and challenges you put forth and your encouragement to search for and embrace self-understanding.

  16. Congratulations and well done, Karen! Now you can take a well-deserved break. I haven’t heard of the Johari window before. Thanks for sharing it here.

    1. Thanks, Natalie. I really did enjoy the challenge and didn’t find it overly onerous until the last week or so. I must admit that I’m looking forward to some time away from the computer and out in the sunshine. The steel rod that has developed in my neck will thank me.

  17. Congratulations on doing an excellent job with your posts and completing the A-Z Challenge, Karen!

    While I – and maybe many others – think I understand myself, for some reason, we might keep surprising ourselves throughout life, by making a certain decision or taking an unexpected turn. That’s what keeps life interesting! 🙂 I’d love to find out more about the Your Blind Self and Your Unknown Self quadrants. Not many of us would probably jump on the occasion to learn what others think about us, or we might come off as egocentric…

    On a different note: where in Canada are you located?

    1. Hi Liesbet,
      It’s good that we can surprise ourselves because you’re right, life would be tedious otherwise.
      I’m in southern Ontario, in a rural area about an hour and a half east of Toronto. Are you coming for a visit? You’d be most welcome!

      1. I had a feeling you live in Eastern Canada, based on the time zone of your posts. One summer, we will be heading your way, but not this one! We had to pick east or west, and we wanted to remain west longer, since there is much to be explored by us in the Pacific Northwest and the Western USA. 🙂

  18. well Karen another profound post – you certainly are good at your research and I love what you come up with and how you put it together,- there is a lot to think deeply about – like the johari window and for that I am grateful. I am often taken aback when I learn how I am seen by others and in those moments I think gosh I don’t know myself at all . but something else I have learnt here is that we all filter the other person thru our own perceptions and so I am coming to understand that I am a little of how others see me and a little of what I perceive and a lot of what I do not know. it is a journey ( cliche I know but so fitting) and the quest of self is an honourable undertaking. it really helps to have these meeting places to share our insights with each other . thank you Karen – thank you very much

    1. Thank you, Sandra. I love to research and appreciate you acknowledging that. I notice you’ve subscribed to Profound Journey. Welcome to the tribe! I look forward to reading your blog and to chatting with you here as we all engage in that quest of self.

  19. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you (and myself!) through this last month. Thank you for your research and presentation; it felt like participating in a month-long self-awareness seminar. Good job!

  20. Congratulations on reaching the finish line to a challenging month. You really hit a grand slam with this series of posts. They were rich and dense and thought-provoking – a profound journey indeed!!

    The Blind Self is the one that intrigues me the most … trying to gain insight into how people see us in ways we don’t see ourselves.

    I suspect the Unknown Self is the one that only comes out in times of great crisis. It’s the self that shows what we’re really made of when the going gets very bad. Some people show amazing bravery and heroism. Others fall completely apart.
    This is the self I hope never gets tested – mostly because I worry that in fact I’m not made of the Right Stuff.

    1. Thanks, Joanne, and armfuls of bouquets to you for your interesting and thoughtful comments and your unrelenting support and encouragement. I appreciate both more than you can know.

      I’ll do some research, see if there are ways to know your Blind Self other than through the 360 degree assessments that I mentioned to Fran. They’re great, but tend to be confined to workplaces where individual comments can be rendered anonymous.

      I think you’re probably right about the Unknown Self coming out in times of crisis (and I imagine you’d do just fine), but I also think of the Unknown Self as including our shadows and they show up much, much more often. Shadows are particularly important at our age as we try to uncover our authentic selves so I’ve obtained half a dozen books on the topic and will start reading. Anticipate some shadow posts, maybe even a small shadow series, down the road.

      1. This whole concept of a shadow self is an interesting one. It makes me think of when I first retired and I had some counselling provided to me with an HR firm as part of my retirement package.

        To make a long story short, the counsellor recommended that I direct my attention to exploring what creativity meant to me. She positioned it as discovering a self I didn’t know – a self that was there and never allowed to come out and play.

        After experimenting with a lot of different things, the result of that conversation is that I eventually picked up a camera, started a blog, and began seeking out new things to explore and inspire me to write about.

        We tend to think of shadows as dark and vaguely dangerous or threatening rather than considering they may be really be opportunities – albeit ones that come with significant mental shifts in perception.

        1. I understand why Jung chose shadow as the name for our unconscious self – it has the right air of mystery and unknowingness to it. But in many ways, it is unfortunate because, as you say, it’s more clearly associated with danger and darkness.
          How wise of you to access the counselling that was offered, and how wise of the counsellor to encourage you to explore your creativity. Without that you might not have your wonderfully creative “life lived full” and we definitely wouldn’t have the pleasure of your photographs or your words and the inspiration, shifts in perception, and insights that they bring.
          One of the many things I love about this stage of life is that it is such an interesting one and we have the time to engage with it and explore. I try to remind myself to stay grateful for that.

  21. Hi Karen,

    So glad to know your normal posting schedule. I’ve actually been wondering how often you generally post! You did an incredible job of posting interesting, important information all month. It’s half of what you’d generally put together in a year. Wow! And the comments and discussions have been fascinating to read. I don’t know how much “real life” you were able to fit in, but I applaud you on a highly successful A to Z. I’m so impressed! And now I’m glad you’ll have some time to rest and enjoy your beautiful property, and enter into communication.

    I became familiar with the Johari window earlier this year, as it appeared in a book I edited for a client. She used it as inspiration to create her own quadrants. (Funny how these things come full circle…)

    Oh goodness, as far as your question goes about ever fully understanding yourself… I imagine not. We evolve and change and grow, both as a result of our internal compass and guidance shifting depending on where we are in life and our relationship to others, and as a result of external forces—societal shifts, emergencies, experiences, the media we engage in.

    I think we probably try to overcomplicate things in understanding who we are, seeking to capture all the nuance and intricacy of self. Perhaps simplicity is where the truth of a “full understanding” lies, and the rest is all just extra fluff. As one friend of mine likes to say, “It took me four decades to realize that we’re human beings, not human doings.” Perhaps the more we strive to do, the more we miss out on the essence of “being” and the true nature of self. (By this paragraph, I don’t mean the self-awareness that you mention in the article, and the benefits that it brings—which I agree with, but more of a concept of self-construction and identity.)

    I think I’d like to know the Blind Self. I’ve been thinking lately about the spark that others see in me, or that I see in others, that are hard to see in ourselves. It would be nice to capture some of that. It’s something I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how to put down in words… that view of possibility that others see within us, but we can’t yet capture in ourselves. At the same time, I’m sure there are some judgments in the Blind Self that I would rather not add to my inner monologue! ;P

    Hmmm… great question and post, as always!! I look forward to reading you on Thursdays, and I always enjoy reading through the comment threads and thoughts from all those in this Profound Journey tribe!

    ~Alana

    PS: I caught your email in my spam and replied yesterday! Hopefully you received my response. If not, it may be hanging out in your spam. 🙂

    1. Hi Alana. I appreciate your thoughtful and thought-provoking comments.

      I agree that we do evolve and change and grow, but wonder if that has to be incompatible with the concept of an essential self? As I age, and as I read and study this concept, I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t a core to me that is completely independent of my relationship to others and all possible external forces. I wonder if my task in this last third of my life is to find that core because that’s precisely what will take me to the simplicity of my life after the personas have been stripped away. And in that simplicity, to wisdom.

      I’m not sure I’m making much sense. I’m very, very tired. ‘Real life’ didn’t happen all that often during the challenge. But I’m definitely looking forward to exploring these questions in much greater depth as the weeks and months go by.

      And yes, I did ultimately land on putting up a single post on Thursdays. For the first several months of blogging I posted 3-5 articles every Thursday. But I found that I was spending so much time at my computer, I didn’t have time to have the experiences or the downtime that would render my posts meaningful and helpful to others or even to myself. I also found that my readers didn’t enjoy ploughing through multiple posts. One, occasionally two, posts a week works really well for me and for my readers, although sometimes I am tempted to post more frequently simply because writing for the purposes of sharing does such a wonderful job of concentrating my mind!

  22. I am always surprised when others see me in a totally different way than I see myself. Years ago I was dating someone who described me in a certain way, I was discussing his thoughts with my therapist who made the comment that maybe he actually was seeing the real me. I felt like neither the boyfriend or the therapist knew me very well. It is hard to tell which of the three of us was right.

    1. Hi Victoria. Maybe you all were.

      I’d never want to discount what I believe about myself and simply assume that everyone else knows me better than I know me. I think if we’re reflective, self-aware people, it can’t possibly be true that we don’t know ourselves at all.

      At the same time, just as we see qualities – positive or negative – in our friends that they may be unaware of, so too we have to accept that those qualities are in us. In fact, in the article I wrote about your shadow – https://profoundjourney.com/your-shadow-unknown-woman-a-z-challenge/ – one of the signs that you possess a certain characteristic is that you see it and are annoyed by it or admiring of it in another person.

      An exercise I’ve tried that you might find worthwhile is to think about the way your boyfriend described you and to try to objectively look for examples that support his description. I’m guessing you didn’t like the description much, but as we age, a big part of our job is to accept all of our parts. Maybe you’ll find out that you do have whatever quality he described and you can say to yourself, “So what?” It could be wonderfully freeing to be okay with whatever that is.

  23. Fully understand? I’m not sure. But come pretty close? Absolutely! I think it’s just a matter of digging deep into our souls. Now there’s the trick. First time to your blog and added it to my reader. We could all use a bit of Zen and empowerment, no? Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Bren,
      Welcome to the tribe! I’m so glad you’ve chosen us.
      And I’m with you,Bren. I remember a professor of mine saying, “You may not achieve your goal, but you damn well need to try.” We’re sure won’t get to self-understanding without making an effort. And we might not get there without some help from our friends. Looking forward to journeying there together 🙂

  24. Congratulations on making it through the alphabet, Karen. I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts.

    On your Z topic, I have no idea how accurate I am in how others perceive me, but I think as I’ve aged I’ve learnt to be more accepting of me. These days I am much more me, so I like to believe both I and other people have learnt more about me.

    1. Hi AJ. Thanks for your perspective. It’s good to hear that you’re feeling more ‘you’ these days. I’m feeling similarly and wasn’t sure if it was just a figment of my imagination. If it is, good to know that it’s shared 🙂

  25. I love the Krishnamurti quote above: “If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.”

    Karen, this A to Z series on self-understanding has been excellent. Your topics were deep and thought-provoking, and the comments equally fascinating. Each of the quotes that you used to start each piece was perfect, and how did you manage to match the book titles to the letter of the day, while also connecting the quotes so well to the topic you wrote on??? Finally, I don’t think I have mentioned this before, but I really like the images that you use to illustrate/illuminate each theme. The photos are beautiful. Thanks for writing this series.

    Jude

    1. Thank you, Jude. Your thoughtfulness is truly appreciated and your noticing of specifics – like photo choices – is gratifying. I have notes on dozens of books that I have read so it was relatively easy to find a book to match the letter of the alphabet. My choice of quote then determined the topic for that day’s reflection. The whole experience really was a lot of fun.

  26. I have often heard of self-awareness, but not self-understanding. I think if you only look at the Public and Private areas of yourself then that would be self-awareness, but you really have to dig deeper for a self-understanding.
    Thanks for informative post, and congrats on finishing the challenge!

    1. Hi Jen, Thanks for stopping by. I agree with you about the distinction between self-awareness and self-understanding. The research literature doesn’t explicitly state that self-understanding has to go beyond the Public and Private areas, but it makes sense to me too that it would.

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