Normally, things run smooth and our emotions and thoughts work in harmony towards a common goal.
However under situations of stress, unresolved anger, private sorrow, or paralyzing fear may flood our thoughts. We can make efforts to solve the mystery of where the intensity of our emotions comes from by getting to know ourselves better. Once we make unconscious beliefs conscious, they lose their grip on us. This is why getting to know ourselves is so important.
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 can choose to accept that we are less than perfect. Our imperfections are not crimes. We are not criminals worthy of punishment. We can replace our fictitious 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 intentions to ‘prevent’ becomes counter-productive. By reflecting on both our assets and liabilities, we can enhance our ability to find self acceptance.
2.) What do we see when we look 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 our appearance to others. We imagine that we will respect ourselves more after we have weight loss, boob job, face lift or hair transplant.
In reality, no one can take away our self-worth. Self-worth is not contingent on our ability to be a perfect. Self-worth means accepting that we are not ever worth more or worth less. We are always worthwhile and unconditionally lovable.
3.) When we are dealing with struggle what do we do? What do we tell ourselves?
Frederick Douglass said, “Without struggle there is no progress.” We learn from adversity and grow from it in ways we never we could have without it. We can make successful efforts and still have undesirable outcomes. We can be a hard working employee who is punctual and loyal, but we can still 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 signals on, but someone hits our car. In all these situations our efforts were commendable, but the outcomes were disappointing. We can choose to validate our efforts, regardless of the outcomes.
4.) How do we define success?
To feel successful, we must first define what success means. Everyone has a very different definition of success. Success is not concrete like a car, I can’t point to it. Success is abstract and subjective. To some, success may mean a six-figure income. Others feel successful even in the midst of daily disappointments and inconveniences. The secret to success is determining what we prioritize and then to make small consistent efforts over time.
5) What makes us happy?
We spend lots of time trying to make others happy or preventing their unhappiness. This requires one to: chose to stop doing what is unnecessary and do something constructive by living on our own terms in the present. This may involve stopping what we “should” do and making a choice on our own behalf.