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An Interactive Guide to Overcoming Challenges with Gratitude.

Personal Note:

I welcome you to this journey of self-awareness. It is fair to say that I have been somewhat obsessive about learning. After attaining a BS in biochemistry and then an MS in organic chemistry, I felt a strong need to enhance my knowledge of psychology and human interaction, so I attained a MA in counseling psychology as I was teaching chemistry at a University. I have read thousands of books and publications covering topics including chemistry, health science, psychology, religion, and business, to name a few. With all this exploration, I consistently forgot to revisit the root of myself. I misunderstood the purpose of my explorations and the purpose of myself.  

I thought I wanted to keep learning, but I wanted to avoid facing myself. My racing thoughts caused me to overlook the other dimensions of myself. Then, I realized that it was not just me. Most people entrap themselves within physical, emotional, or spiritual dimensions. Of course, I rationalized their choices to be significantly less reasonable than my own. It was easy to accept my entitlement to get what I wanted and think how I wanted.

Molding to the standards of social conformity, blindly accepting the entitlement of materialistic standards, and remaining confined within an isolated self-perception are all components of a lack of self-awareness. This book is a blunt presentation of what inhibits self-awareness within the current challenges of social conformity. My goal is to enlighten your pathway toward self-awareness. I hope you will be motivated to facilitate an honest and genuine love for yourself so you can share that love with the people around you.


You are the most compelling example of the human self. Therefore, I recommend that you utilize yourself as your primary reference as you read this book. Continue assessing perceptions you have of yourself, and feel free to reference these perceptions with the people around you. With a better grasp of your human self, it is possible to explore the complex world in which you live. Although personal desires, socioeconomic structures, and standards of social conformity consistently and subconsciously motivate the avoidance of true self-awareness, I am confident that you will one day surpass these challenges. There is a calling to surpass personal limitations to enhance the world, and I believe we all have the potential to achieve this goal. With knowledge and awareness of the physical, emotional, rational, and spiritual dimensions of yourself, you will be equipped with the tools to enhance yourself and bring positivity to those around you.

Whether you have identified as Generation X, Y, Z, or a cool synonym thereof, we can all agree that social expectations have evolved at an overwhelming pace. With the help of this book, I invite you to explore yourself, your connection with others, and your goals within the context of your existence.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the author.

Chapter Index:

CHAPTER 1:  Being Grateful for the Challenge

This chapter introduces the actions and perceptions of gratitude as well as the social trends of itemizing and desiring too much. There is an exploration of the social norms of teenage rebellion (and a lack of gratitude) within my personal challenge of developing a brain tumor and epilepsy.

CHAPTER 2: Self-Awareness (or Lack Thereof)

Explores the depth of awareness you have for yourself and others. I also explain the differences between my teenage agendas and childhood ambitions in relation to achieving self-awareness. 

CHAPTER 3: The Roadmaps for Self Understanding

Presents an applicable model based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of development as well as the four foundations of self-awareness. Continues my personal story of how epilepsy affected college and study abroad opportunities.

CHAPTER 4: Starting (or Restarting) Your Journey

Provides additional motivation for personal growth related to the provided roadmaps for personal development

CHAPTER 5: Challenges within the Journey

This chapter introduces additional challenges inhibiting individuals from attaining an honest level of self-awareness as my personal journey continues into graduate school.

CHAPTER 6: Physical Well-Being

Explores social standards related to exercise, dieting, and alcohol as well as the connections such challenges may impose on others. Presents the start of psychology education before the surgery removing my brain tumor.

CHAPTER 7: Emotional Growth

Discusses a potential pathway for finding the true meaning of psychological awareness in the context of today’s social norms as well as my strong desire to discuss the topic!

CHAPTER 8: Rational Thinking

The application of problem-solving methods may help you to remain trapped within, or find a pathway from, the daunting process of rational analysis. Discusses my irrational denial of assistance for my epilepsy followed by an experience that required acceptance.

CHAPTER 9: Spirituality

Presents common inhibitions as well as the magnificent potential of spirituality. Prayer and meditation are discussed in detail, and the goal of continuous growth is regenerated throughout the chapter. Most importantly, applications of spirituality within daily practices is discussed.

CHAPTER 10: Overcoming the Challenge

“With awareness of yourself and the challenges of social conformity, it is possible to achieve freedom from social conformity. Identify the challenges that distract you from completely loving yourself. Once these are identified, do what is necessary to overcome these challenges, and honestly, fully, and completely love yourself.”

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” – Gilbert C. Chesterton

CHAPTER 1: Being Grateful for the Challenge

I have chosen to write this book to overcome the challenges of social conformity. I want to help you build a deeper understanding of who you are as a person. I hope to inspire a greater awareness of societal influences.

Do you ever feel like you are required to sacrifice your personal wellbeing to fit in?

Do you ever feel trapped within the negativity of your surroundings?

Do you overlook the consequences of giving in to social expectations?

Do you ever feel disconnected from your spiritual pathway?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this book could help lead you back to prioritizing your personal wellbeing. This book guides you toward an understanding of your emotions, as well as the people and the thoughts that likely influence these emotions. We will take a step back and assess the factors influencing our actions and choices each day. We will work together to continue a pathway of spiritual growth.

Too often, we sacrifice our personal wellbeing, feel trapped within the negativity of our surroundings, and overlook the rational consequences of social expectations. The goal is to build a deeper understanding of yourself, and the factors that influence your habits, feelings, and thoughts. I hope to motivate you to find, experience, and create more gratitude for yourself and your life experiences. Throughout the book, there will be several opportunities to reframe your challenges. I hope to guide you through the process of recognizing, understanding, and conquering the challenges you face.

Our ancestors once faced the challenge of obtaining food and water necessary for survival. Communities and families would organize long journeys to obtain the clean water and other resources needed to live. Week-long hunting or gathering expeditions hopefully led to sustaining enough food for the community to make it through the winter months. Eventually evolutions within farming and food storage led to more dependable food supplies and less pressure on the community. With organization and social networking, they were able to overcome the challenge of achieving sustainable food sources. 

As cultures developed to their current levels of ingenuity, they overcame a phenomenal list of challenges. Each day I am grateful that varieties of quality foods available for me to purchase at the local grocery store. I am grateful that I have purified running water, a roof over my head, clean air to breathe, multiple transportation options, and access to medical services. With these resources, sometimes I wonder how I perceive anything to be a challenge. I wonder what causes me to overlook the most crucial necessities that are readily available for me.

Consider the aspects of your life for which you are grateful. It is easy to focus on itemizing material THINGS. Things are not helpful for long-term gratitude. Rather than listing the make and model of your favorite vehicle, instead list something more like ‘readily available transportation’. I have included the current version of my gratitude list in the appendix.

One of the specific items on my list is ‘my mind’. Without it, it would be impossible to write this book. I am grateful for the motivation engrained within it. I am fascinated by the transformations of growth, trauma, and recovery my mind has experienced. I am thankful to be able to continue to research and write as my mind has evolved.

The benefits of gratitude have been clarified by several researchers, but researchers Joel Wong and Joshua Brown have recently uncovered some valuable scientific information..

Join Question the Norm

We would like you to join us on a fulfilling exploration of self awareness and gratitude. Please login here or register here for full access to the book. I look forward to engaging in meaningful conversations about the goals you have set, the gratitude you share, and the challenges overcome. I would love to hear your feedback on how the guided questions impacted your journey towards self-awareness.

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