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self-awareness

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Feelings. Better Out Than In.

Far too often, most of us choke on our feelings. We feel tears welling up with that awful, aching lump in the throat, and we take several deep breaths, forcing the emotions back down where they can do all kinds of damage. They make us sick or depressed, give us physical pain and discomfort, sometimes with the weirdest symptoms that doctors simply cannot explain.

We fear being seen as weak. For some reason, our culture thinks a display of emotion means we're out of control. But there are only two occasions on which emotions can hurt us.

One is when we stuff them and do not acknowledge them. The other is when we make hasty decisions purely because of our feelings, without thinking them through, and end up hurting ourselves - or others - as the result of our poor choices.

But there is nothing wrong with having painful or difficult feelings, and there is nothing wrong with expressing them (appropriately). Having them makes us human. Expressing them helps to get rid of them and it connects us with others, many of whom will offer support and comfort, thereby strengthening our bonds with one another.

The best way to get rid of unwanted feelings is to immerse yourself in them. Take a little time and allow yourself to really feel every bit of whatever it is that hurts. If you want to cry, cry. Lots. Until you can't cry any more. You'll feel a whole lot better for it. If you're frightened, feel the fear. Ask for some hand-holding. And remind yourself that you are strong enough to get through anything.

Do whatever you need to do when bothersome feelings are standing in the way of you and your happiness, and let them out. Get it over and done - once and for all.

Think of it as housecleaning. Gathering all the rubbish and putting it out on the drive to be collected on trash day. If you keep digging, eventually you'll find less and less “stuff” that needs removing and turfing.

This doesn't mean it's a good thing to sit around and feel miserable every waking minute either. You must strike a balance. But certainly, choking back unhappy feelings is not any better for you than spending 24/7 whining about your miseries for days, weeks and months on end. Once the crying jag is behind you, take some time to look at the positives in your life. Set some goals and take a step or two (even if they're teeny) toward achieving them.

Just don't be afraid of your feelings. Allow them to be heard. You can't fix what you don't acknowledge, as the good Dr Phil says. Give your feelings a chance to speak up so you know just what's on your plate. Chances are, the more you do this, the quicker the issue will dissolve or will find a resolution in your heart.

You wouldn't let an infection fester below the surface or in your blood. You'd be off to the doc, figuring out how to fix it because you know that infections left untended can kill you. Well, negative emotions can do it, too. Quietly and insidiously by giving you cancer, heart disease or a million other ailments, or a little more overtly by making you say and do some very hurtful things to yourself and/or to others.

Expressing your emotions is the great equaliser. It makes you the same as everyone else. It levels the playing field. It shows your strength. It shows your vulnerability, your softness.

It helps people get to know you because they see just what affects you on a deep level, which then connects you with everyone else on the planet because really, we are all pretty much the same in many ways. We are unique in our personalities and in our perceptions of our life experiences, of course, but everyone hurts, everyone needs, everyone feels some version of the same emotions. How we do all of this and how we express these aspects of ourselves is what separates us from one another.

But we're really not so different in terms of our emotions. So go on. Stop hiding behind a wall that you think keeps you separate and sets you apart from everyone else. Because I can assure you, you're not fooling anyone. We know you hurt, too.

And we'll be here for you when you're brave enough to tell us about it.

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How to Tell When It's Time to Say Goodbye

Do you ever find yourself struggling with certain people who are your friends or romantic partners? Does it seem that no matter how much you love them and try to make the relationship or friendship work, you spend more time being miserable than happy? Do you feel like a salmon swimming upstream, constantly fighting to get somewhere, to make progress, or to make it feel right and to be happy, but you just can't seem to get there?

Perhaps those people keep blaming you for everything that's wrong between you. If only you were more like this or less like that. If only you would do this and not do that, they wouldn't get upset. You live your life, carefully tiptoeing around on eggshells, worrying that you will say or do the wrong thing, trying your level best not to cause a disturbance.

You become anxious, always anticipating what might set them off. You think it's all your fault that they are unhappy - because this is what they tell you - and therefore, it is your fault that you are unhappy, too, because your happiness depends on theirs. You feel rejected; you believe you're a failure and that all you've done is cause those people nothing but of misery.

And then you have a break from those people. Someone goes on holiday or you and your partner separate for a while. After a few hours or a few days, you start to breathe easier. You begin to relax. You smile again, and it feels foreign on your face. You giggle a bit and maybe even laugh a lot. You associate with other people who think you're bright and funny and sensitive and kind.

You begin to feel like your old self. You start thinking perhaps their misery is not your fault after all. Perhaps those people have some issues. Maybe they're just impossible to please. Maybe they're demanding or miserable or irritable, or just plain selfish, through and through.

You're outside the box now, with some breathing room, able to look at those relationships with a different perspective. You see that they're very lopsided. You do all the giving, and the other people do all the taking until you have nothing left to give. But away from them, you feel your strength returning, your sense of worth, and your dignity. You vow that you will not be treated like that any more.

Then the break is over. The holiday ends. Those people are back in your life, in your space, and almost immediately they're complaining about this and that, and you're sliding back into that place of believing that their unhappiness is your fault.

In a heartbeat or two, you're back where you started, feeling worthless, depressed, resentful, frustrated, and desperately lonely.

You're as miserable as you ever were, and once again, you're that poor little salmon, swimming upstream, fighting against the oppressive currents of negativity and control that are swallowing you whole.

The pattern continues. Every time you separate for a while, you feel better and are happier. But when you're with them, life is miserable and you don't feel good about yourself.

There are numerous reasons why we get into these situations or why we stay in them but I can at least tell you this: If you have several good relationships with people who appreciate you and enjoy your company, and with whom you get along well, but there is a certain person in whose company you are consistently unhappy, take a closer look.

We can learn a lot about ourselves from difficult relationships, and sometimes we can work within those relationships to make them better. When both parties recognise that there's a problem and want to fix it, that's a good starting point.

But when one of the people refuses to accept any responsibility and does nothing but point the finger of blame, and has made it clear that he or she has no intention of working at what's wrong, then it's probably time for you to end your association.

I'm all for trying to fix a problem in any kind of relationship. But there are times when we must recognise that it is beyond our control. Sometimes we have to see that being in the company of certain people is destructive, that it's toxic and will only adversely affect us.

When it is clear that this will be ongoing and the other people involved refuse to budge, then you must walk away, for your own health and your own happiness.

You can bet that those people have troubled relationships elsewhere, too, and that they blame other people for everything that's wrong in their lives. You can bet that they are not happy people in themselves, but this is their stuff to fix, not yours. You're not responsible for anyone else's happiness or loneliness or social life.

When you have ongoing problems with a certain person, but no amount of talking has helped and you just feel more and more unhappy or your self-esteem has plummeted, bear in mind that you've always got the best gauge for figuring out what to do. That gauge is your own feelings. Just look at how you feel when you're with that person, or involved with that person. And then notice how you feel when you have some breathing space and some distance. If you're consistently or frequently miserable in the company of that person, and happier on your own, that's all you need to know.

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"I'll Stop Procrastinating Tomorrow!"

Some of us hit the ground running in the morning and dive headfirst into a busy day, accomplishing, overachieving, burning through tasks like there's no tomorrow (and if there wasn't going to be a tomorrow, frankly I'd just as soon not work my backside off today).

Others of us drag ourselves out of bed and stumble through life, doing what we want, doing some of what we must - leaving all kinds of things for another day.

And then there are others who are in between somewhere, which is probably best anyway, as extremes are never good and balance in all things is a really good plan.

If you're at all familiar with my books or my blog, you'll have heard me go on about taking breaks, about leaving some things for another day, another time. You'll have heard me say, in essence, "Don't do today what you can put off till tomorrow."

And here I am today, saying the opposite. Today, I want to talk about procrastination. So how can I keep telling you to slack off and have some down time, and then I turn around and say, hang on a minute, quit goofing off and get back to work?!

Well, it's not too complicated really.

Let's start with the basics of procrastination. There are loads of reasons why people keep putting off things that need to be done, whether it's household tasks, mundane errands, tedious stuff at work, difficult conversations with people or anything else they'd rather not do. And just as burning the candle at both ends and in the middle isn't good for anyone, neither is being at the other end of the spectrum and just leaving things undone as a regular occurrence.

The reasons for both behaviours will be emotional issues that could stand healing because whether you're a workaholic or a procrastinator, both are destructive and will keep you from being all you're meant to be - which keeps you from happiness and fulfillment.

Why do people procrastinate? For some it is an issue of control. If people feel like they have little or no control in their lives, they will sometimes delay doing things that are expected of them. It's a form of passive aggression, a way to say "I'll do it when I'm good and ready, and not when you tell me, or not when you want it."

People who are notoriously late for everything often fall into this category, as well.

Sometimes people procrastinate because of self-sabotage. This can have all kinds of roots but they run deep and can manifest in numerous ways over the course of a lifetime. Shooting oneself in the foot is usually the result of low self-esteem, feeling undeserving of good things, or believing that you're not meant to be happy. So you set yourself up to fail in order to validate what you believe about yourself.

For people who don't feel worthy of having a wonderful life, they will often do things that will make certain things go wrong as often as possible. They might "lose" a document or "forget" to meet a deadline that could give them a better job or some opportunity that could benefit them.

Procrastination can sometimes be the result of fear. It allows people to avoid facing their fears of failure, success, confrontation, the dentist, bad news from the doctor, telling a partner "It's over" and a million other things.

But not facing those situations doesn't make them go away. Avoidance only allows the fear to grow stronger as it takes on a life of its own, and often ends up blown way out of proportion - and then procrastination seems an even better idea. The chicken-and-egg cycle continues, sucking the energy out of anyone who is caught in it.

The more they put off, the heavier the burden, as 'thing' upon 'thing' piles up, one on top of another, on top of another, leaving them feeling completely overwhelmed with 'stuff to do' but not having any idea where to start. And for those people who live in a constant state of procrastination, that's an awful lot of negative energy to willingly add to their lives because they don't want to face their fears.

If we're going to have productive and happy lives, it is essential that we see to the boring bits of life - and sometimes it means facing the scary parts, too. Often, the thing we fear never happens anyway and meanwhile, we've been holding ourselves back from the possibility of success and happiness. When we don't 'take care of business' in our lives and just let things pile up, we're deliberately adding more stress, more worry and more negative energy to the mix. Nothing good can ever come of that.

Being a workaholic is not good. Neither is procrastinating. It's never good to live in an extreme situation of any kind; it is unnatural and unhealthy. The key to finding balance is to understand when something is causing you harm.

Whether you're doing too much or too little, if it's to your detriment and is causing problems in other areas of your life, then something needs to change. It's hard enough to find happiness in this life with all the obstacles that are thrown at us. But we don't have to make it harder on ourselves by being out of balance because of the choices we make.

If we ever hope to find happiness, it has to begin with a point of balance between work and play, between responsibility and 'goofing off'. If procrastination is a problem in your life, perhaps start with the simplest things. Make a list of everything you know you need to do, and find the ones that you think you can tackle without too much trouble. Keep working away at that list and as you see things getting done, you'll feel the load lighten and your energy increasing.

As you move through the process, examine the feelings that come up and if necessary, find a good counsellor or even a self-help book to assist you.

And one last thing: Don't be thinking, "This is a great idea! I'll do the list later!" If it's a great idea and you want to get moving in your life, feel better and be happier, do the list now.

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Don't Let Excuses Block Your Path to Happiness

So. You're thinking of doing something that's difficult. Or perhaps you think it's impossible, or that it won't be particularly successful.

Maybe it's something you have to do, even if you don't want to do it. Either way, you're having trouble figuring out how on earth to do it.

You come up with an objection. There's this "thing" in the way and that's why it won't work. Maybe someone offers a solution; you might even think of your own. But then there's another "thing" in the way, another roadblock. And the longer you sit there, dreading doing it (or dreading that it won't work), the less you're inclined to try.

Instead, you keep coming up with one obstacle after another. And the hours and the days keep ticking along right past you.

Still, it needs to be done, or you really want it to be done, but nothing has changed, although you do have a lovely selection of obstacles, roadblocks and excuses stockpiled for future reference.

There will always be a reason not to do something. Whether you want to find it or not, there will always be yet another potential problem standing between you and a difficult challenge.

It won't get easier if you drag your heels. It will only grow in your imagination, becoming much more of a mountain than a molehill and the longer you put it off, the more difficult it will seem.

I was always one to encourage my children to try something new. When they hesitated, unsure about whether or not they could do a particular thing, I asked, "How will you know unless you try?" 

That seemed reasonable to them and all of them would try without another thought - and usually with very positive results. All except for one of them, that is. For some reason, one of my sons would always say, "I can't!" before he tried. It took a fair bit of convincing to get him to believe that maybe, juuust maybe, he could.

If no one ever tried anything new, we'd still be sitting around waiting for Thag to chisel a wheel out of a chunk of stone. Sure, there will always be failures but so what? The successes are worth the attempts, and besides, you only fail when you stop trying.

Samuel Johnson summed it up rather nicely: "Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome."

Exactly. You can sit around and come up with one objection after another, as long as you want to avoid actually doing something. But that'll never get you anywhere.

Don't let excuses block your path to progress and success. They'll only send you down a very miserable detour on a dead-end road.

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Metamorphosis: Not Just for Caterpillars...

About a million years ago (or so it seems - I was still at school), I read "The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka. I did not really "get it." But then, I was young, just beginning my own evolution - which, decades later, is still ongoing (exactly as it should be).

"The Metamorphosis" is the story of an unhappy man, Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman who lives with his family and awakens one day to discover that he has transformed into an enormous beetle-like creature. To make a long and very peculiar story short, no one takes the change very well. They avoid him, they fear him, and they shun him. They do not speak to him. His voice and speech have changed; he speaks to them yet they do not understand him, nor do they try.

There are attempts to treat him as they did when he was in human form. There are attacks on his body. There is ridicule, there is weeping. There is persecution and a stubborn refusal to accept who he has become.

Eventually, Gregor's love for his family makes him see that they will never accept him for who he has become. He sees that his metamorphosis is only causing them pain, embarrassment and unhappiness. He is unable to leave his room, or leave their home. So in order to spare his family any more suffering, he crawls into his bed and dies.

It seems most peculiar to me that I did not understand this story when I read it so long ago, when in fact, I was living it then, and I'm still living it now. I suppose I took it too literally and couldn't work out why someone would write a story about a salesman who turned into a giant beetle.

Throughout much of my life, no one understood me, or bothered to try. But then, for many of those years, I did not understand myself either.

Thankfully, this changed a few decades ago when I embarked on an ongoing journey of self-discovery. I've reinvented myself several times, with the most dramatic changes occurring in the last several years. I'm blessed to have some people in my life who welcome and embrace those changes, and who understand them and appreciate them.

For decades, many people have judged me rather harshly for making those changes. They seemed unwilling - or perhaps unable - to understand me, or the changes I was making. And they didn't even want to try.

It is one thing to dislike or reject change in oneself or one's own environment. But it something else entirely to stubbornly refuse to accept change in someone else.

This is where the first cracks appear between people, as change can signal the impending death of a relationship, a friendship, or a business arrangement. How each of them accepts the change - or doesn't - will determine the outcome of their association.

Others see in us what they want to see. A mother sees her grown children as her babies. A father sees his married daughter as "Daddy's little girl." Adult siblings still see each other as the pains in the neck they remember as kids - and sometimes still rival for the attention and affection of their parents.

Although it may seem sweet and sentimental to cling to the past, and to former identities and relationships, it is not a healthy way to live. Change is inevitable. For some of us, there is a lot more of it than for others.

Like many others, I've had a fair number of extremely challenging experiences and circumstances throughout my life. They have allowed me to continue to grow, to learn and to evolve, like a snake shedding the skin it has outgrown. And by sharing what I've learned through my willingness to change, I'm able to assist others through their difficulties or their desire for transformation in their lives.

Think about that word for a moment. "Trans" means across or beyond - so "transform" is rather like "beyond the form". The entire form or structure of something has changed, like a metamorphosis, in which something goes from one state to a completely different one - eg. a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.

For people who are experiencing this kind of transformation, or metamorphosis, it is beautiful, empowering, and freeing. But for those who are left behind, it can be frightening and lonely unless they choose to understand or at least accept and acknowledge the evolution.

There are those people who will be able to do this. And there are those who will not. Some people are simply unable to comprehend such dramatic changes. It is not a flaw, not any more so than needing change is a flaw. It is just one of many differences between people.

It is one of the most difficult ones because it means some people move forward and into new situations, new lives, new ways of thinking - and some do not. When this happens, two people who were once traveling at a similar pace and in a similar direction are no longer even on the same road. One will have wandered off down a side road, taking a detour, disappearing into the trees on another path to discover Parts Unknown.

Change, evolution, transformation, metamorphosis...these are necessary for life to continue. At a very basic level, our cells die, and new ones are created all the time. If not for this, our bodies could not grow. Nor could they heal from damage or recover from illness.

But think about how we began - two tiny little cells that merged into one. And look at us now. If that isn't the most astonishing metamorphosis, I don't know what is. As I said earlier, if we didn't change, we'd still be sitting around, waiting for Thag to chisel a wheel out of a chunk of stone.

Change is a part of life. Greater change allows a greater life. And if you want to go the distance and transform your life, you must transform yourself. There may be people who throw themselves on the path, grab you by the ankles and try to hold you back. But if you allow this, you will not be happy.

It can be painful to leave those possessions, those places, or those people we love, and move forward in our lives. But sometimes it must be done if we are to pursue our own freedom, express our own individuality and uniqueness, and discover our own greatness.

And if everyone did that, just imagine what a magnificent world this would be...

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Your Perspective Changes Everything

Once upon a time, there was a man who was traveling on a pleasantly warm day. He walked for many miles and eventually saw a little house at the side of the road, where there was a woman working in the garden.

"Good morning, Ma'am," the traveller called with a cheerful grin.

The woman looked up from her work. Peering at the man suspiciously from under her sunhat, she squinted in response.

"I'm just on my way to the next town," he continued without missing a beat.  "I was wondering, could you tell me, please, what kind of people I'll find when I get there?"

The woman's face puckered as if she'd just eaten acid-covered lemons. "Oh, they're awful!" she said, shaking her head in disgust.

"Really?" said the man in surprise, waiting to hear more. But the woman returned to her work in silence.

After a few moments, the man went on. "What's so awful about them?"

Frowning and pursing her lips, the woman looked up with an exasperated sigh, obviously not appreciating the interruption. "They're terrible. They're miserable, unfriendly. You can't trust 'em as far as you can throw 'em! You'd do well to stay away and go somewhere else!" she warned.

"Well!" said the man, raising his eyebrows.  "Thank you very kindly. I wish you a good day."

"It'll be just as awful as those people are! I have all this work to do, and in this blistering heat, too!" she scowled.

The man nearly disputed her comment on the weather, as it was only pleasantly warm. But he thought better of it, tipped his hat and carried on.

A little while later, he came upon another little house at the side of the road. A woman sat on her front porch, rocking in an old chair with a cat in her lap.

"Good morning, Ma'am!" he called.

"Oh, good morning to you, sir!" she called back. Gently putting the kitty on the porch, she rose and walked down the path to meet him. "I'll bet you could use a cool drink," she offered, opening the gate.

"Why, yes, Ma'am, I really could. Thank you," he replied.

"Please sit down in the shade on the porch and I'll be back in a minute," she offered, gesturing toward her chair.

The woman returned a few moments later with two tall glasses of icy lemonade, "Where are you headed, if you don't mind my asking?"

"Oh, just up the road to the next town," he replied. "Tell me, what kind of people will I find when I get there?"

"Oh, they're lovely!" the woman enthused. "Very kind and helpful! The friendliest people you could hope to meet anywhere!"

Sipping on his lemonade, the man smiled.

(Photo courtesy of Johan Stydom, freerangestock.com) 

Should Those Skeletons Stay in the Closet?

Do you have any secrets? Of course you do. Do you ever wonder if you should tell someone? Perhaps you wonder about telling just some of those secrets. But you probably decide to keep them to yourself. And that's likely for the best.

Everyone has them. There's a part of ourselves that only we know about and no one else does. It's one of the four 'windows' of personality. There's also the part we know about ourselves and others know, too. There's the part that others know about us and we don't. And the part that we don't know about, and neither does anyone else.

Sometimes when we do something that isn't very nice, or is shocking, or could hurt others if they knew about it, we feel compelled to tell someone. Easing a guilty conscience may do some good for the person who blabbed, but getting it off your chest and dumping it on someone else is not necessarily helpful and, in fact, it can be quite destructive.

If and when you feel compelled to tell all, to spill your guts about that really stupid thing you did when you had a few too many, or you were feeling really vulnerable, or just being plain foolish, remember this: Clearing your conscience is not a reason to tell such things.

When you release yourself of the burden of what you did by telling someone else about it, you are handing the burden to that person, whether or not he/she wants it. It might leave that person with a moral or ethical dilemma. Or it might present awkward problems because of the judgement of others who will never understand. It may cause permanent damage to your relationships.

Ask yourself why you want to spill your guts. Are you doing it to ease your conscience? Will there be anything achieved by 'fessing up? Will it improve anything? Alter the course of someone's path? And if so, will it be altered in a positive way or a negative way?

If nothing is to be gained by telling your secret to someone, you might want to rethink doing it. If someone will be hurt by it and no good can come from sharing it, what's the point? You still did whatever it was in the first place, you can't change that, and in all likelihood, letting that sleeping dog lie is probably for the best.

When we do things that later become our 'skeletons in the closet' and cannot be fixed or changed, they can at least do some good by serving as quiet reminders of difficult lessons learned. Everyone has a dark side; each of us is capable of greatness and of awfulness. When we've crossed the line into awfulness, best to learn from it and refocus on our potential greatness.

Some things are really better left unsaid.

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The Most Difficult Journey is Inward

I find it interesting that many people are afraid of any meaningful self-analysis. They don't want to become any more self-aware than they already are, which is often on a fairly superficial level. They don't really know what makes them tick, nor do they care. They're content to just carry on doing whatever it is they do, whether or not they're happy, whether or not their thoughts and behaviour get them into trouble. They live on "leave well enough alone."

I reckon that's okay if it really is "well enough" but quite often, it is not. Quite often, they're wandering through life, dragging their emotional wounds with them, like steamer trunks full of pain, insecurity, fear and feelings of inadequacy.

On the surface, they think they're happy. Or at least they don't notice if they're not.

They don't notice how that steamer trunk is planted right smack in the middle of the road ahead of them, affecting various aspects of their lives. And it's also planted right smack in the middle of the road inward, the one that leads to self-awareness and understanding. The one that leads to healing.

They stare at that steamer trunk with trepidation, fearful of what's inside, as though they'll lift the lid and some horrible, creepy monsters will leap out at them and tear off their heads. "Better left locked up," they decide. They'll just park there, at the side of the road, and be content not to go any further. "Self-awareness? No, thanks. Too scary."

(Photo courtesy freerangestock)

(Photo courtesy freerangestock)

Beyond the steamer trunk is a big, dark closet. They peer past the trunk but can't see anything and that's okay because they don't really want to know what's hidden in that closet. They're sure it can't be anything good.

And in part, they're right. In part, there will be some bits that aren't nice. All of us have them. But there's also a whole lot of great stuff. There's wisdom in there, there are insights you didn't know you had.

So you bite the bullet; decide to risk it. At least a little. You're not ready to turn on the big, bright bulb that's hanging in that closet. Maybe just shine a flashlight in there as you journey inward. The further you go, the more you discover about who you really are, how you feel about things, honestly and bravely facing the truths about your Self.

Yes, it can be a bit unpleasant in there and you won't always find things you like. But being aware of them can make a monumental difference to how you live your life, how you treat others, how you treat yourself, and whether or not you move forward and progress to places of happiness and fulfillment.

And you can be sure you'll also find lots of wonderful goodies in there, too, places of beauty and strength, wisdom and insight and you will be amazed by how much you didn't know you knew. You'll discover just how far you've really come, just how radiant your spirit really is and you will be more willing and able to let the rest of us see it, too.

The journey inward is one of the most frightening journeys we can ever take, but it is also one of the most rewarding. Personally, I don't fear it. I embrace it. I love it. Muddy bits and all, I'm happy to keep discovering more and more about myself so that I can fix the parts I don't like (or stop letting them interfere with my life, at least), and I can make good use of the best bits.

I don't really understand why we should ever be so afraid of ourselves as to not want to know ourselves intimately. What makes even less sense to me is that in that state, so many people complain that their partners don't understand them.

Well, how could anyone else understand you when you don't understand yourself?

(Photo courtesy freerangestock)

(Photo courtesy freerangestock)

Most of us wish we had partners who will love and accept us unconditionally, flaws and all. But how can we expect anyone else to accept our imperfections if even we don't want to see them?

To me, that's about as hypocritical as one can get. "I don't love myself, I don't fully accept myself because there's no way I wanna dig around in the murky depths of my psyche, it's scary in there, but my goodness, I'm gonna find Mr/Ms Right to love me perfectly and no matter what, and he/she will always be there for me and will think I'm wonderful and will accept all my quirks and flaws, even if I'm too scared to find out what they are. I don't wanna know but he/she has to love all the miserable stuff that I don't dare look at."

Ummm...really?

Taking that journey isn't all that bad, when you balance the good with the not-so-good. It's just you in there, so how can it be that bad? Believe me, it's gonna be a lot of the same kind of stuff that everyone else has. We're not that different from one another. Sure, we share a lot of fears and flaws, but we can also be really wonderful.

Come on, be brave. Be willing to shove aside that steamer trunk and turn on that big, bright light in the closet. You're the only one who has to know what you find, unless you choose to share it. So what's to be afraid of?

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