Joseph Chilton Pearce
Seeing within changes one's outer vision.
Now that you have had a chance to identify your thought processes towards your goals, it’s time for the next step. The next step is probably the most difficult stage and the stage that keeps even the most intentioned of individuals from reaching their goals. This is the stage of self-reflection. This is the most difficult because it is bound to bring up painful emotions and a level of having to take responsibility for your current state.
The important thing to know with this stage is not to expect your self to be able to identify everything right away, in many cases it can take months and even years to work through. Often times individuals will need to improve or make progress towards their goal to identify some of the issues that they have been blocking. So the main point here is that this stage is not a stage that really has an ending, and needs to be continued through even after the goal has been met. This is important because it is the time that we tend to stop working on them, which often times we go back to the same issues we had before and lose the progress that we made.
Let’s look at what I mean by self-reflection. What I am looking for is working on identifying the real reasons that you are where you are today. If you are overweight, you are not overweight because you eat too much and don’t work out enough. There is always something much deeper than that. You overeat and don’t work out enough for specific reasons that can be a multitude of things that have been both in your control and out of your control. Just be careful when identifying something that is out of your control is really something out of your control.
So as you see, self-reflection is not so much just looking at the behaviors that have lead to your current situation, self-reflection is most beneficial when looking at the “Why” behind those behaviors. So of course you will have to identify the behaviors first, but I challenge you to look beyond that.
Now when you start self-reflecting, a couple of different outcomes can start to happen which are blaming (either self, others and circumstances) and self-loathing thoughts. These are the area’s where it becomes difficult which causes people to stop and decide that the goal is out of reach.
Let’s first look at blaming. Most people would expect me to say that you should never put blame outside of yourself. That would be wrong, as it would be irrational to think that blame should never be put outside of the self. There is often time very good reason to blame. (i.e. an abusive relationship, neglectful parents, or not enough resources). Also to deny yourself your thoughts of blame are unproductive. Instead, take a look at those feelings of blame and start to identify your part to that, and to what level can you control the outcome. Also, take a look at how these feelings of blame have held you back? You may have a situation where an outside force was to blame, and you let that blame keep you stagnate. An example would be an individual who is overweight blaming their parents for their lifestyle and diet as a child that led them to be overweight. The parent’s have part of the blame for creating the problem, though the maintaining the problem lies within the control of the individual.
Another important example of this has to do with addiction. People with an addiction often times blame their addiction as a justification of their behavior. This is not to say that addiction is not real, it is very real. What I am saying is that the addiction should never be the full reason or blame for the behavior. There is always another reason that causes the addiction, which is often times a masking agent, (avoiding pain), or something that the individuals gets (benefit) that they receive from the addiction/behavior. Finding out what this is and then working to work through that pain or replace the negative benefit with a meaningful positive outcome is key to overall success.
I fear there may be some misinterpretation of this posting as it relates to blame. Quite simply what I am saying is identify your blaming, identify that you have some limitations as a human being, and then do not let the blaming and limitations be the reason that you do not reach your success and stated goal.
The second outcome of self-loathing usually generates from thoughts about “I haven’t done enough,” or “I should have done this.” There always needs to be an understanding of everything that lead to the position or where you are today and find a level of acceptance for your current situation. Also remember “Don’t should on yourself,” as this can lead down a path towards depression, and further irrational thoughts.