How to Complete a Self-Appraisal

Good morning on this fine and clear day! May you have clarity and goodness in your day today!

Yesterday, I received an email from a dear friend who reads my blog, questioning things which I plan to address in today’s blog. For example, they asked about what to list out. I hope I have addressed that fully in this post. Then, the question was raised, what is honesty? I will further discuss that also.

So, how do you do a self-appraisal?

First, you gather willingness… willingness to look at yourself honestly. When I say honestly, I mean looking at your positive points first and giving yourself full credit for all your positive traits, all the positive ways in which you treat others and yourself. We often shy away from being honest about who we are, having been told that is conceited to do so. But we need to objectively assess who we are in our totality. We do this not to brag about ourselves, rather, to humbly look at who we are in our totality.

On the negative side, being honest means being willing to admit you screwed up when you did, that you treated others or yourself poorly. It is embarrassing to admit these things about ourselves, and that is part of being willing to be honest…

For example, I find myself sometimes acting in a very selfish manner, thinking of myself when I could be considering the other. In those situations, I seem to do things for others because there is something in it for me, before I give with no thought of what I’ll get out of it – giving without expecting or wanting in return.  That’s somewhat embarrassing to say, yet, it is honest.

What I do with that information, that realization, is to be aware in the future of when I start to do something for another. I can assess my motives and change them, as indicated, come at it from a different angle.

It is important to add gentleness and compassion when you look at your negative side, the side that needs improvement, or else you would beat yourself up unmercifully. Having said these things, let’s start with how to do the appraisal…

After becoming willing to get honest, list out your positive qualities and traits on a piece of paper. List them all out. Get generous with yourself. No one else is going to see this, so brag about yourself to yourself only. Be loud and proud on paper. Then sit with, “be” with, this list of traits. Let it sink in that this is you that you have listed out in all your goodness and glory. Get comfortable with feeling the light from seeing your good qualities and traits. You are trying to counteract any negative things you have been told throughout your life.

Now, take the past week and list out every good deed, kindness, and generous thing you did during the week. List it all out. If you had a kind thought about someone, list that out, too. Then allow this to sink in for a few days. Bask in your goodness. Know that at your core, you are light.

Next, turn your attention to your negative side, the side that needs improvement. We all have one, you know. List all the negative things about yourself that you do not like. Include the negative things you tell yourself. Consider the past week and list out all the mean, nasty, and unkind things you did or thought during that time. Don’t hold back, yet do not beat yourself up. Do it honestly, from an objective viewpoint.

Consider each point and look at each with compassion for yourself, a wounded person so much so that it led you to act in a negative manner. Now, right all wrongs. This may mean apologizing to some people. If this is the case, get humble yet not subservient. Drop the hostility, the defiance. Apologize with your heart and soul. Sometimes, apology is not advised; this is when it would hurt the other person more, cause them damage in some way.

When you have completed your self-appraisal, you will feel a cleanness about yourself. You will be right with the world and yourself. Resolve to keep an active and current eye on your behaviors, celebrating yourself for your wins and correcting the negative as you move through each day.

I hope this clarifies your questions, dear friend. Thank you again for raising them. : ) And I hope for all of you that by doing a self-appraisal, you find more freedom and peace. Leave a comment if you found this to be useful for you.

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Finding Compassion in Sobriety and Sobriety in Compassion

Very interesting the search terms that were used yesterday to find my site. Two of ten known ones were about how to show compassion and six of the ten were about sobriety. I was planning on continuing today with compassion, so that’s why it’s interesting what showed up in the results.

Over half counted were interested in sobriety, so I will include sobriety in my discussion… I am always happy to talk about sobriety because it is such an awesome addition to the journey.

Compassion is another one of the actions you can take that will help to push open the gates of your heart. That compassion, once you learn how to do it, is needed for both others and yourself. It’s a double -laned highway on the way to forgiveness. Through forgiveness, you will find peace. I am jumping ahead. Let me refocus…

As you develop new ways to be in the world for others and yourself, consider adding compassion to the tools you use to promote peace within. I found I had no clue what compassion was nor how to show it until I was a few years into sobriety.  At some point, I began to notice the wonderful feeling of goodwill I had toward others, where my heart went out to them in a truly genuine way.

Without sobriety, I was too into myself… my fears, my ego, myself. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself to be much concerned with what was going on with you. I am talking about concern that was more than superficial. I am talking about concern that makes me want to hear more of your plight, in an effort to determine how I can be of service to you.

This same concern for others that I show has to be shown to myself, also, in order for me to stay sober and to find more peace in my life. The same is true for you. You have to start learning to show yourself compassion in situations, for example, where you behaved badly because of some wound that was touched, some chord that was struck.

In that situation, if you can recognize that you were a wounded person in the moment you erred, needing some love and understanding, triggered to return to an original wound, then you can offer yourself compassion. Even, especially, offer yourself compassion for the ways in which you err against yourself with your negative self-talk, the criticisms, and beating-yourself-up.

This is virtually impossible to do if you are drinking and drugging, which is why sobriety becomes so important. You see, once you realize you have a wound that needs to be healed, the pain from that wound is exposed to the light and the pain may be intense. You want to deaden that pain, and perhaps use substances to do so.

But deadening the pain only prolongs the process you need to go through to heal and get to the other side of your angst. I experienced many times, again and again, that by exposing my pain and being willing to look at it, and to feel it, that it dissipated, resolved. I’m not saying the pain wasn’t excruciating at times, because it was and I wanted desperately to drink or dull the pain in some way or another.

Yet, my sobriety was my number one concern and I did not want to go back to the horror of my last several months of drinking. I did a LOT of journalling, brisk walking, and attending meetings of my support group. I did that for the first year and a half of sobriety. It helped. I also had a CD of soothing music, classical banjo and guitar, and I played it non-stop in the evening and night to soothe me.

I was showing myself compassion at the time, but didn’t know it as such.

You, too, can begin to become aware of how to treat yourself and your wounds, with great compassion. It will add to your sobriety, and your sobriety will add to your ability to show compassion to yourself. It feels really good. I invite you to try it for yourself.

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Compassion in Sobriety – Part 2

The second part of the definition of compassion states that it is sympathy or sorrow shown toward another or others. I propose that this definition be expanded to include ourselves.

Our first thought may be, “this is selfish.” But if you think about it, why shouldn’t we each have access to the same sorrow and sympathy to which others have access, when it comes to our realizations about our downfalls and the wounds behind them?

By showing ourselves compassion in this case, we allow the grieving process to begin. If we grieve about our downfalls and the wound(s) associated with it, if there is a wound, we avoid going into self-pity. Thus, we keep ourselves from playing small.

Instead, we can step into being with our humanness. In other words, we see our flaws, our errors, and we take action to correct them, to improve the traits that need improvement.

When we’re in self-pity, we cannot take action. We become paralyzed because all of our energy is going into ourselves. This is when selfishness applies. Having spent most of my life in self-pity, I can now see that it was very selfish of me and it definitely kept me playing small.

The issue of playing small is one which I just learned about in a two-day intensive workshop called Double Your Practice in 90 Days, conducted by Jesse Koren and Sharla Jacobs. This seminar is part of a series referred to as Rejuvenate Training. I had the revelation that, in regard to my efforts in marketing myself as a speaker and a coach, I am playing small, rather than standing tall in the gifts that God has given me.

One such gift is the ability to see the details within the whole picture. It is that gift which allows me to see these details about how compassion aids the journey to sobriety and peace, while holding a space for the overall desire for sobriety and peace. And I have also been given the gift of being able to articulate my thoughts in writing, and then, in speech. So, coming from the space of wanting to be useful to others, I write and I will speak.

It has been fear that has kept me from doing more than the planning stage of my new endeavors to be a speaker and a coach, kept me from making calls to schedule talks, for example. I am afraid of the attention I may get, afraid of rejection, afraid I don’t know what I’m talking about.  These are the fears which hold me back. They are false evidence appearing real.

What can I do about it? I can apply compassion for that hurt child whose history includes the experiences which resulted in these feelings. I can experience the sorrow and grief I feel over the loss of a happy childhood. I can get angry over the rejection, the false statements.

In the end, when I’ve gone through the grieving process, I can get to a place of peace about it, a place of acceptance. And this allows me to heal, so that I can show up for myself in the world. When I can show up for myself, then I can show up for you, and I am able to become of service to you. It becomes a continual dance between showing up for each other and ourselves that is beautiful and evokes peace. So, tell me, why would showing yourself compassion be selfish?

Today, look at the list you created yesterday. Look at each way in which you feel sorry for yourself and figure out why doing that makes you small. Then trace that wound that leads you to be small, back to its origin. When you discover what that is, determine what feelings you are experiencing because of it. Apply compassion. Let yourself feel sympathy and sorrow for yourself and the person who endured the wound(s), and who experiences those feelings. 

This seems like a lengthy process. At first it may feel awkward and clumsy, and it may take time to do. With practice, it becomes easier and less time-consuming. I invite you to try it. It will further your sobriety and will contribute to your peace.

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