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“Begin to observe your life more and try to awaken the observer in you, the high self. Thinkers from Plato to Freud have talked about the three selves we have within us. I call them the high self, the conscious self, and the basic self. The conscious self is the personality; the basic self is the child. When the conscious self decides to go on a diet, the basic self eats chocolate cake. The high self if the god within us, the part that is eternal and divine. It is always there but we need to activate it…Listen to the slow, still voice we call intuition.” Arianna Huffington
Our self-image is formed by allowing ourselves to be influenced by various authority figures. As we mature and accept the responsibility of defining ourselves, these internalized voices of authority must each be examined and evaluated. It is only when we take back our own power to define ourselves that we are truly free.
Our conscious mind is where thoughts are formed. Our subconscious mind is where our creative mind takes root. As we learn to harness the vast power and energy of the subconscious mind, we are tapping into our real source.
Transactional analysis therapists estimate that we each have 25,000 hours of internalized negative self-talk. We are generally taught what is wrong with us by our authority figures at home, school, church, etc. In an effort to understand who we are, we accept these self-limiting labels as who we are. However, we each individually are the only one who can truly “know” who we are, or, at least, we are in the best position to make the best educated guess. Learn to challenge the “voices” (one of friends called them “the committee”) or negative self-talk you carry around in your head. Listen to what you tell yourself about you.
In learning to monitor your inner critic, learn to first determine if the criticism is helpful. If you find the suggestion to be helpful, next check to see if the inner critic is kind, gentle, and polite to you. If it is in a condemning voice, ask you inner critic to speak kinder to you.
The techniques you may use to change your inner critic from enemy to friend are: speed up the volume, mimic a falsetto voice, etc. My favorite ploy when I was learning this was to scream “Stop”. It is better to practice these techniques while alone. As someone has suggested—learn to join the airwaves until you own the station.
Self-esteem comes from how we evaluate and accept or reject input as well as the foundation we’ve created from the successes we’ve experienced. By learning to focus on our strengths rather than on our weaknesses, we have each take charge of our own destiny.
After learning how to utilize our inner critic, we next need to take charge of our thoughts. What we choose to focus our thinking on determines what we will think and feel about ourselves. You are what you think you are. By substituting positive self-talk for negative self-talk, we are re-programming ourselves for positive action.
Stephen Williamson has a very complete article about what positive psychology is. He writes that Martin Seligman“s defining the character traits to help anyone reach his/her full potential. These traits from Williamson’s article are grouped under six themes:
1. Wisdom and Knowledge – The acquisition and use of knowledge
2. Courage – exercising will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external or internal.
3. Humanity and Love – Positive social interaction with other people.
4. Justice – Healthy community life.
5. Temperance – Protecting against excess.
6. Transcendence – Connections to the larger universe and meaning and purpose in life
“Don’t evaluate your life in terms of achievements, trivial or monumental, along the way. If you do, you will be destined to the frustration of always seeking out other destinations, and never allowing yourself actually to be fulfilled…Instead, wake up and appreciate everything you encounter along your path. Enjoy the flowers that are there for your pleasure. Tune in to the sunrise, the little children, the laughter, the rain and the birds. Drink it all in…Drink it all in…there is no way to happiness; happiness IS the way.”