• Malachi Moore

Discerning Self-Discernment

In the process of writing these articles, I find myself having to stop from time to time—for as long or as brief as need be— from the result of what I am typically encouraging. Self-discernment has, for a long time, consciously and unconsciously been a part of my daily routine. How that has looked throughout the various stages of my life, meaning, how I’ve conceptualized the practice itself, has sometimes completely differed from what I would like to call an ideal, healthy relationship with myself however, and to recall such times when toxic delusions governed my own self-worth almost makes the process, at times, seem to be fruitless. What’s the point of acknowledging the past error of my ways, how I spoke to myself and others, if the end result is me feeling down in the present?

It’s typically around this time where I have to remind myself, habitually, the distinct difference between discernment and judgement. Judgment is an opinion; it is a criticism, a censure and power that we give ourselves to compare or decide some fabricated proclamation about others and—especially when judging ourselves—feeds the ego’s deception of being worse than someone or something else.

Discernment is a more personal and conscious approach. It’s the cognitive ability of a person to distinguish what is appropriate and, when practiced, the fastest route to distinguishing the difference between the two. Ultimately, the intentions from the beginning are geared towards making good choices for ourselves and for others around us. Personally, discerning the past has allowed me to see how I’ve conducted myself within every setting I so choose to put under the microscope. The outcome is always a revelation, and sometimes too much to digest; soon, the impulse to self-deprecate is right there in my reflection.

And so, those judgmental thoughts are almost perpetually there, and I don’t think that I will ever be assertive in my saying that they will dissipate over time. It is then what you do with those feelings that are the next crucial step towards progression, and more importantly, away from disparagement.

Oftentimes I forget that my own self-projection, both how I present myself to others and how it is perceived— and how those two directly affect one another— is constantly changing. We live out our daily lives, perhaps not particularly satisfied with certain aspects or traits of ourselves, not conscious to the organic reshaping our minds force on us to feel protected. Through circumstance, this ‘self’ can become affected, broken, and maybe even destroyed. The most important notion to hold on to however, is that no matter what, we evolve from what we were before; and that power has always been accessible.

Finally, just barely able to grasp this concept, the dissimilarity between judging myself and practicing discernment has become transparent. It provides me with the patience that I require in order to be content with who I am now, at this very moment, in order to see clearly and to work on things that ultimately benefit my core, rather than what is expected or deemed conventional of a Black man in today’s society.

Now, I know who I am. I am able to be there for myself when comfort is needed and continually strive to reach a destination where my projected-self is most authentically connected to my core being. The experiment has since allowed me to step out of that ‘comfort zone’ our minds love to keep us in. What would you dream of if your self-worth wasn’t at stake?

This entry is for those who, like myself, can sometimes get caught up in nasty, old habits when practicing self-growth. It is by no means an effortless task, though something I would advertise as mandatory, and worthwhile to all that persist. Below, I’ve provided a link to a list of some of my favorite Ted Talks to remind myself of the winding undertaking. There are ten videos from an array of speakers that touch on all that goes into our self-worth.

Ultimately what I’ve made peace with, is no matter how content we are as individuals, regardless of where we are in life or what circumstances we are under, there will always be an opportunity presented to judge something about ourselves. That is not to say that these impulses should be seen as insignificant, but instead of questioning or feeling bad as to why you feel this way, perhaps instead remind yourself that worrying comes from a place of caring, and that in itself is what makes the process of self-discerning all the more beautiful. Deep down you’ve already decided that you love yourself. And from there, the hard part is already over.

Here are some Ted Talks for when you're feeling down.

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