We can begin to get to know ourselves better by reflecting on some questions such as:
1.) What are our regrets and mistakes?
There is no such thing as a perfect person. To be human is to be imperfect, to be imperfect means we make mistakes and to make mistakes means we have regrets.
Regret is the wish that things were other than they are. But they aren’t. This thing happened, and it’s regrettable. We must accept that we are imperfect. Our imperfections are not crimes. We are not guilty criminals worthy of punishment. We can choose to replace our excessive guilt with the regret that we aren’t perfect, which only confirms our humanity. There is no way to prevent imperfect human beings from being imperfect. We can take reasonable precautions, but beyond a certain point, our good intention to ‘prevent’ becomes counter-productive. All humans, have limitations and make mistakes. Coming to accept both our assets and liabilities is a key to open the door of self discovery.
2.) What do we see when we look at ourself in the mirror?
Many people wish that they were better than they are. Here’s what’s wrong with it: “When we say life will better if __” or “I will be better when___”, we imply we are worse now. When we feel lesser, it’s difficult to strive to achieve our best. This desire sets us up to feel that we are not good enough. We feel inadequate when comparing ourself to others. We imagine that we will respect ourselves more after we have what others have obtained.
In reality, no one can take away our self-respect, but us. Self-respect is not contingent on our ability to be a perfect. Self-respect is accepting that we are a worthwhile human being who is unconditionally lovable despite what others’ say or how we look.
3.) When we are dealing with struggle what do we do? What do we tell ourself? What do we tell others?
Frederick Douglass said, “Without struggle there is no progress.” We learn from adversity and grow in ways we never thought we could. When we get knocked down by life some look externally for help and others rely only on themselves to forge ahead.
We can make successful efforts and still have undesirable outcomes. We can be a hard working employee who is punctual and loyal, but we get laid off. We can be a caring and thoughtful partner, but still get our heat broken. We can be a careful driver and check our mirrors and put our turn signal on, but someone hits our car. In all these situations our efforts were commendable but the outcomes were disappointing. Yet, we are worthwhile either way.