As a child, I was always taught about the importance of living for the sake of others through service and compassion. The idea that we are all created for a purpose greater than ourselves was instilled in me time and time again. But discovering the self-awareness and a concrete sense of self-worth that would be necessary to fuel me on a forward trajectory, is a journey that began many years later and is one I continue to pursue every day.
Global Peace Foundation Malaysia recently led two Global Peace Volunteer (GPV) workshops, focusing on raising a generation of moral and innovative leaders, with the themes of “The Life-Path Map” and “Path to Purpose.” The workshops focused on the need to nurture and raise the self in order to best initiate positive change in the world around us.
In the presentation from GPF Malaysia CEO, Dr. Teh Su Thye, he told participants of three imperative spheres of focus: the self, relationships and the world. In his analogy, one must start from the self, like the roots of a tree, in order to create a solid and healthy base. With time and continued nourishment, the roots and life of the tree will continue to grow until its full potential is reached.
Dr. Thye went on to explain that there are two essential components of the first sphere: self-discovery and self-growth. The path to self-discovery is a life long journey that begins from a young age, yet is also one that can be painful and challenging. In a world where grades, extracurricular achievements, certificates and accolades are markers of one’s success, the pressure to be the best can be overwhelming. The pressure to meet certain worldly expectations can weigh on the growth of young children. But with a deep sense of self-worth, rooted in the values and love of a Greater Power, this weight may be more bearable. These words of wisdom are something I wish I could have understood as a young person in elementary school, middle school, high school or even college.
According to one GPV workshop participant, Dr. Thye also added that with self-discovery and self-growth, we’ll also eventually learn to love and accept ourselves as people with flaws and gifts. This idea of self-love and grace is something that I only recently have started to understand. Through this sense of grace and ability to let myself be loved as God intended, I feel that I have come to a new crossroads where life has presented me with new purpose, new focus and drive.
To care for oneself and to continue to fuel the needs and passion in one’s life is not a selfish endeavor. As GPV is working with the youth of Malaysia, this journey to self-discovery and self-growth is essential to establishing deep roots in principles that will forge a path to greater change in the world.
Without self-love, self-awareness and self-acceptance, it would be impossible to remain steadfast on a forward trajectory to making a conscious difference. No matter where we are in life, sometimes we need to just slow down and reevaluate the important things in life, starting with myself.
“Sometimes, we may just drive too fast and lose our way. At that point, we need to press the brakes and slow down, check the GPS or ask the people around whether we are on the right track. Sometimes we need to pause our journey to reflect and plan. To rest is to prepare for another journey.” – Rayyan, GPV Workshop Participant
The service and support for personal growth that the Global Peace Volunteers is providing to the youth leaders of Malaysia is something priceless. It is giving them tools that will last a lifetime. As someone that has only begun the journey myself, there’s hope this is something the youth of this generation can embrace for years to come.
MIC is a blogger for the Global Peace Foundation