We cannot always control everything that happens to us in this life, but we can control how we respond. Many struggles come as problems and pressures that sometimes cause pain. Others come as temptations, trials, and tribulations.
– Lionel Kendrick
Sadness, stress, anxiety or fear are unavoidable phenomena and it often happens that when we experience them we distance ourselves, we move away from everything, trying to drown out bad thoughts. We live in a world full of information and stimuli, constantly demanding our time and attention.
When we practice mindfulness, and instead of trying to ignore sadness and failure, keep them out (often to no avail) and dominate our minds with happy thoughts, we approach them with acceptance and ultimately understanding.
It’s not even about accepting what has been said, but about accepting that you have to hear it. The moment you start listening, almost immediately the voice does not have to shout – it is heard, and eventually ceases to be noticeable.
The same is true if you suffer from the behaviour of your friends, family or loved ones. When they say things that may seem irrational, understand that this is due to fear and lack of understanding, give them space to speak, space to be heard, and over time this voice for them will also begin to fade.
Instead of seeking acceptance within, we are constantly looking for it in the outside world. As a habit, we ask others about who we are and what choices are right for us. We are looking for the permission of others to be ourselves.
The result of the above is that we do not listen to ourselves, do not go deep into ourselves seeking answers to questions that bother us. If we sometimes look inside, we often feel emptiness and fear. Not knowing what to do with it, we try to fill this void with an external source of satisfaction.
We are afraid to cry, get hurt, make the wrong decision, look at ourselves as we are. That is why we prefer to be distracted and live in a world of other people’s opinions about us, regardless of the consequences.
Stress is a major cause of disease. When we live in isolation – without listening to and caring for our emotions – and disconnecting ourselves from our personal source of feelings, love and comfort, we can’t deal with stress well. This causes a lot of anxiety and stress, which negatively affects our immune system.
It is a constant work on yourself, the purpose of which is to determine who you are, what your values are and what is important to you. It is especially difficult to get to know each other by living in a culture that constantly imposes on us who we should be, what we should look like and what we should like. It is difficult for us to separate what we want from what other people want from us. It is difficult to get to know yourself and find your own voice among so many other suggestions, ideas and opinions.
Look inside, spend time with yourself, listen to yourself and your emotions. Give yourself space and understanding by constantly working on self-knowledge and self-awareness.
Truly get to know yourself. Developing your self-awareness helps you stay in conversation with yourself, constantly discovering new ways to become the person you want to be. Become an observer of your own thoughts and behaviours, and in the face of a difficult situation, take a step back and observe the process, thoughts and feelings without trying to react immediately.
See challenges as a way to get to know yourself. In the face of difficult life situations, try to perceive them as an opportunity to decide who you are, what your values are and how strong you are. As Neale Donald Walsch says,
“every circumstance is a gift, and in every experience there is a treasure hidden.”
When you act inconsistently with your values, you deprive yourself of knowing who you want to be in various situations and circumstances. How you decide to behave, think and feel are the manifestations of what kind of person you want to be. When you observe yourself without judgment and impulsiveness, at the moment you make a decision about who you are – you get to know yourself. Life situations, even negative ones, can always be used to build a deeper relationship with yourself.
The thing that immediately pulls us out of our head and the flood of thoughts is entering our bodies and senses. This moment, when your thoughts are getting out of control again, is not the time to try to change your attitude and force positive thinking. It is time to connect with your breath, focus on the rhythm of your heartbeat and remain attentive. Try to spend a few minutes each day sitting in silence and focus – just be. You don’t have to worry about pushing all thoughts out of your head; instead, just notice your thoughts, let them go and get back to your center.
There are several ways in which you can practice self-knowledge in everyday life, while increasing self-awareness and a sense of who you really are. Learn to deal with and accept the discomfort that you feel; think about your personal values instead of imposing them on others; look beyond the initial impulsive reactions to see your true intentions and act in a way that better suits who you want to be instead of being dictated by what your impulses and habits dictate.
Don’t be afraid to be with yourself and look deeper, because you are the center of the world that surrounds you.