04 Feb Practice Self-Discovery: Turn it Back on Yourself
We’ve all heard before that when we dislike a quality in someone else, it’s usually a quality that we embody ourselves. In this Self-Discovery practice, we’ll take it a step further.
“Understanding of the self only arises in relationship, in watching yourself in relationship to people, ideas, and things; to trees, the earth, and the world around you and within you. Relationship is the mirror in which the self is revealed. Without self-knowledge there is no basis for right thought and action.” Nehru asked, “How does one start?” to which Krishnamurti replied, “Begin where you are. Read every word, every phrase, every paragraph of the mind, as it operates through thought.” Krishnamurti
We spend lots of time questioning the behaviors of those around us, judging them as right or wrong, and worrying about them, when in reality we should be focusing on understanding ourselves, and using what we find to fuel our personal growth.
Recently, I found this great technique from self discovery expert Bryon Katie: every time you have a worry or a negative comment to say about someone else, turn it around, back on yourself, and see if there is any truth as it applies to you.
The other day my daughter had a bad morning, griping and complaining about nearly everything. As we walked to school she apologized, and I said, “Thank you, but most of all, I’m worried because I want you to have a happy life, and it makes me sad that you chose to be so negative.”
So if I’m going to turn that around and apply it to myself, I’d consider this: “I’m worried because I want to have a happy life, and I am choosing to be negative.” With my own focus on worry, negativity and heavy heartedness, I am dwelling in the very place I wanted to help my daughter avoid. In fact, my reaction, or previous behaviors may have modeled this behavior for her and she is just following my example.
The point is, let other people be themselves. Recognize that we are constantly viewing things through our own skewed lens. When you question, judge or worry about someone else, direct it back at yourself. Not only will you probably be very surprised by what you find, gaining valuable tools for self-growth, but your relationships with others will improve too, as you re-direct your magnifying glass away from them back to self-discovery.
Now you try!
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