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From our readers…The value of self-knowledge


Have you thought about what would bring joy into your life? Do you wake up excited to start the day ahead? Knowing yourself is the foundation of self-care and the basis for your relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and loved ones. Taking the time to know yourself and reflecting on how you handle situations that arise in your life is important for your own self-growth. By coming to know yourself, and what brings you joy, you can positively enhance life for yourself and for those around you.

Your own thoughts play an important part in shaping your world. You are creating your own life, moment to moment, with your thoughts. Pay attention: What are you thinking about today? Is it in your best interest? Take care of yourself by thinking only the best for yourself and those around you.

Are you prone to worry about your life? This may create stress and more things to worry about. Break the cycle of worry by changing your thoughts. The perception of an event can influence the amount of stress a situation may cause. One person may see the “silver lining” in any situation, another person may see a tragedy. By focusing on the positive in our lives, a positive feeling will grow.

Let’s use Stringer’s and Gent’s (2004) model of “Look, Think and Act” as a tool to help you better know yourself.


Take a look at your own life and people that you encounter in the workplace. How are you feeling about your present situation in your personal and professional life?


Some questions to consider include the following:

  • Are you happy with your job, your relationships, your living situation?
  • Do you consider yourself to be a positive or negative person?
  • Are you excited to start your day?
  • How are you observing the events around you?
  • How do you feel if you receive a difficult assignment at work?
  • Are you able to see a “silver lining” in any situation?
  • Do you see the glass as half full or half empty?
  • What would you like to add more of in your life?


As a way to know yourself, list each area of your life: career, spirituality, abundance, education, health, family, friends, romance, adventure, travel, and fun. Are there any of these areas that you would like to have more of in your life? Begin with one area and decide how you would like to work towards this goal.

Start with something easy. For example, if you would like a more positive workplace, what is one thing you could do to create this for yourself? You could start by making a list of the positive, supportive people in your workplace. You may want to acknowledge them with a phone call, a card, a compliment, a letter, or a special thought or blessing.

If there are people in your workplace who are not as supportive, think about one thing about them that is positive. It may be their hair style, their way of doing a procedure, or something else. Let them know that you appreciate this positive point. When you are at a meeting, silently go around the room and think of one positive trait about each person. Begin to recognize the positive in yourself and in others.

Daily affirmation

Consider starting your day by speaking or thinking the following:
As I start my day today
I am ready for whatever life may bring. I am in the right place at the right time.
I am able to accomplish all that needs to be done.
I give thanks for all of the good in my life.

Next step

Form a group of positive thinkers in your workplace to help lift each other up. You may want to think of a name for your group. If people slip into complaining, gossiping, worrying, or focusing on the negative, gently remind them to turn thoughts around.

When you are in a meeting, take the time to go around the room and have each person say to the person next to them one thing that they appreciate about the other person. This can start the meeting on a wonderful note.

Enjoy creating your positive environment. Please share what you have done to make a change in your work environment by sending your stories to caringforself@aol.com.

Cynthia Brown completed a postdoctoral clinical research fellowship in complementary and alternative therapies at the University of Virginia. She has taught nursing at the graduate and undergraduate level and currently works as a hospice community educator in Charlottesville, Virginia and as an adjunct online visiting professor at Chamberlain College of Nursing.

From our readers gives nurses the opportunity to share experiences that would be helpful to their nurse colleagues. Because of this format, the stories have been minimally edited. If you would like to submit an article for From our readers, click here.

Selected resources

Brown C, Dalton Caring for Self: Positive Thoughts and Uplifting Music. 2004. Available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/cynthiabrown. Accessed Nov. 11, 2011.

Stringer E, Genat W. Action Research in Health. Columbus, OH: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall; 2004.

Wiseman R. The Luck Factor: The Four Essential Principles. New York: Miramax Books; 2003.

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