One of the most important abilities that distinguishes us from most animals is our ability of self-awareness. We can, if we so wish, with our imagination place us outside ourselves, and observe ourselves with (partly) independent eyes. Doing this with a combination of self-criticism and self-compassion is a good exercise that can help us grow as human beings.
With this I mean to seek as true an image as possible about who we really are, with our strengths as well as our weaknesses. This should be done with a large amount of self-love. No one is perfect, and if we are unable to love ourselves, we can neither love others on a deeper level, nor allow others to truly love us.
True self-reflection is not easy, and we often fool ourselves based on the emotional state we happen to be in at the moment, but we also tend to create our own narrative of our life that we would like to paint more brightly than all the gray shades of reality.
When we reflect on who we really are, it’s important also to be our own mirror that reflects our inner self. This is not always easy, as we are easily affected by what we constantly hear others say about ourselves. We may hear that we do not strive enough, that we do not listen, that we do not care, that we only think of ourselves. Many times it’s the negative comments that dominate, not least in many failing relationships.
Certainly, there may sometimes be grains of truth in such comments, and if we want to develop and grow as human beings, it may be worth reflecting on whether there is something to learn from the criticism, or maybe it’s even something we are not aware of – our blind spots. We then have the opportunity to decide for ourselves if there is something we need to change.
But more often than not, the criticism we encounter from others is a projection of the other person’s own inner frustrations and feelings of shortcomings, which are off- loaded on us, as it is always easier to blame others than to change your own actions and attitudes.
I have written in a previous blog post that all of our experiences take place within us. Everything begins with our own thoughts that are inner reflections on all the impressions that reach us from the outside.
With self-awareness, imagination, and with the help of our inner ethical and moral compass, it is our own responsibility to draw conclusions from our awareness of who we are and who we want to be and then act upon this with detemination.