Discovering who you are is more important in managing and enjoying your life than you ever imagined. When we discover how and why our thoughts, emotions and behaviors work we improve our well-being and enjoy our relationships.
Relationships either sustain us or destroy us, wreaking distress or creating joy as we move through our lives. Our first task is to figure out how our thoughts, emotions and behaviors work within us. Then we can apply the same task to understanding how we relate or don’t relate with others in beneficial ways.
Here are some examples of behavior scenarios that we can work on understanding:
- Why do you pout, go into your room and slam the door when someone disagrees with you?
- Why do you behave rudely knowing it upsets people?
- Why do you try and do what others want when it may harm you?
- Why are you quiet when you know you want to speak up?
Here are some examples of thinking we should understand:
- Why do you think you have the right answer to everything when you know nothing about some subjects?
- Why do you think you rapidly change your thoughts without any new input?
- Why are you logical in your thinking style?
- Why do you hold back in expressing your thoughts?
Here are examples of emotions that beg for understanding:
- Why do you yell at your child when you’ve said you’re never going to do it again?
- Why are you angry if someone holds a different opinion from you?
- Why are you sad and despondent if you don’t please others and make them happy?
- Why are you anxious when your teacher calls on you in class?
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By identifying and then understanding our behaviors, thoughts and emotions, we can master and control ourselves. In turn, this mastery makes us feel better, think clearer and behave in non-destructive ways. Also, we can decide how much control to exercise. Do we want to make a huge change in a behavior – not yell at our children – or only a minor change in an emotion – move from debilitating despondency to having only intermittent periods of brief sadness?
Another benefit of self-understanding is altering who we are behaviorally, cognitively and emotionally to be more helpful and less destructive to ourselves or to others. We can gain insight not only into how we treat ourselves and expect to be treated but also how we treat others and expect they should be treated. Often, we harbor double standards, one for us and another for others. Double standards create much miscommunication and conflict in relationships.
Self-understanding allows us to appreciate how we evaluate other people. We can discover the people we are attracted to and why. And, we can learn about the people we spurn or avoid because they don’t interest us and and why we have such disinterest. We can discover if we ignore the very people who could be the most appealing and most helpful to our well-being.
By discovering who you are and gaining thorough self-understanding you gain insight, mastery, and control. This improves your mental and emotional health by giving you broader options and allows you to live an enhanced life that is grounded in reality.
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