STRANGE MEASURING STICKS
A Guide To Healthier Self-Evaluation
Self-evaluation is a vital part of being committed to a life of curiosity. It is the desire never to complete your learning journey and instead seek new opportunities to develop yourself.
What Is Self-Evaluation?
Self-evaluation is the ability to take a step back from your subconscious everyday actions and assess who you are becoming.
It is a process used to identify both strengths and weaknesses in yourself. It is reflecting on your life and asking questions such as:
Where have you excelled?
What achievements are you most proud of?
Where do you feel you need more support?
What goals do you wish to accomplish?
Are you on the right path to achieving those goals?
Why Is Self-Evaluation Important?
A study by the Harvard Business School found that there is a powerful connection between learning and self-reflection.
The human mind has the incredible capacity to think of one's own thoughts. To examine one's experiences and learn from them.
American philosopher, and psychologist, John Dewey said: “We do not learn from experience … we learn from reflecting on experience.”
Without self-reflection, it is easy to become stagnate in our life. To settle into the status quo and not notice as our lives pass us by.
Also, we come into contact with different influences and factors at different points in our lives. We consistently interact with family, society, and friends. As we grow older, they begin to influence how we think.
Self-evaluation will help you sort through which influences you adhere to due to preference versus what influences you might be carrying subconsciously that no longer serve you well.
How self-evaluation can go wrong!
Growing up is pretty crazy. The small things we attach our egos to can stay with us for years.
I want to share an example with you. It's a bit gross but a worthy illustration, so please bear with me.
My mom is the ultimate DIY’er.
Not the cute Pinterest type.
The McGeyver type.
You know, the type who uses a paper clip, a toothpick, and a wad of gum to make a T.V. Antenna that reaches aliens on Mars? Yea, that type.
She is an innovative genius.
She is also incredibly tough.
So one day, when she had an ingrown toenail. ( I warned you it would be a little gross.) She decided to take care of it herself.
When I was about seven, I went to ask her something. I honestly can’t remember why I went into her bedroom that day. But when I saw her toe bleeding, I naturally asked what was wrong. And she told me she was removing her ingrown toenail.
That's it, just a simple exchange.
Still, I could see the pain on her face and the blood on the tissues, and let me tell you...
Somehow, because of this random, seemingly insignificant moment, being able to remove an ingrown toenail without the help of any anesthesia or medical professionals became my standard for success.
This carried into my adult life!!
I would subconsciously think to myself, your mom can remove her toenail, and you’re crying over a scraped knee?
Your mom can cut into her skin without painkillers, and you can’t even handle a final exam?
Your mom can literally perform surgery on herself, and you can't even get to work on time?
Your mom can. You can’t.
Your mom can. You can’t.
Your mom can. You can’t.
Over and over again, this tiny memory replayed in my mind and became the thing I would measure my strength against.
A toenail! How did that become my barometer?
I know it sounds ridiculous, but these are the types of lies we are in danger of believing about ourselves.
This is why practicing self-reflection and learning how to practice it healthily is imperative.
How Can We Use Self-Evaluation Healthily?
1.) Seek wise counsel.
This can be from a therapist or people in your life who you trust and who are willing to be open and honest with you.
2.) Work through self-reflection questions.
You can start with the ones from this article or create your own.
3.) Pray if you feel comfortable.
There is no one more capable of showing you a true reflection of yourself than the one who created you!
4.) Read books and experiment with new ideas.
Don't take people's word for it. Research new methods and try them yourself! See what works for you and what doesn't. We are all different. We have different genetics, experiences, gifts, and goals. There is no one-size-fits-all with anything in this life.
5.) Review past goals and thoughts.
Crack open some old journals. Scroll old social media memories. Spend some time with the person you used to be, so you can see how far you have come and if you are heading in the direction you had hoped.
Self-evaluation is important.
It helped me realize the cold hard truth that I will probably never be able to remove my own toenail.
I would either puke or pass out.
I’m not that type of strong.
But it also helped me realize that I do not want to be this type of strong. Bring on the anesthetic, please.
I am, however, the:
Write a book type of strong.
Offer forgiveness to those who hurt me type of strong.
Hold the pain of someone else and allow them the freedom to explore their feelings type of strong.
Encourage the dreams of others type of strong.
Self-evaluation helped me realize that I had been holding my strength up to the wrong measuring stick for far too long.
I hope this article helps you to learn from my mistakes.
Maybe a good self-evaluation practice for you to try is to ask yourself if there are any strange ideas that have followed you from childhood.
Is there a time that someone said something to you in a developmental stage of your life that somehow became a subconscious but very real (and possibly a bit outlandish) measuring stick for you?
Let’s bring it out into the open.
Let’s examine it.
Let’s surrender it.
Let’s find a more accurate way of evaluating who you are and who God created you to be.
P.S. This is my favorite song to play while I practice self-evaluation. I hope you enjoy it too!