Monday, July 1, 2013

Help Yourself

One of the most useful questions you can ever ask yourself is this: Who do I want to be in this situation? Whether it's a first date, a fight with a partner, a difficult good-by or asking for a raise you will have more self-control and greater self-satisfaction if you hold in mind an image of who you want to be.  This does not mean choosing a false front.  It means choosing (and practicing) a different set of attributes, attributes that help you in whatever situation you find yourself.  So, rather than being the irrational, screaming, threatening or bawling, foolish one, you choose to be a cooler self, a person who is able to listen, who can get across a point clearly and respect other points of view.  Rather than being the shy one, you choose to be the friendly person who you know lives inside you but rarely gets out. Rather than being the one who crumbles or fights back when criticized, you're the one who is strong enough to weight and measure an opinion and accept or reject it on its merits.

One of the reasons some people never change is that they never truthfully ask themselves if they are who they want to be.  Does Rose really want to be known as the bossy person others resent? Does Martin want his kids to be afraid of him?  Does Phil want to be the one no one can count on?  "Yes" is sometimes the answer, but more often it is not.  Understandably, people avoid painful self-knowledge.  My suggestion, creep up on it.  Ask yourself who you want to be, not in a broad, global sense (more spiritual, more understanding etc) but in a particular situation. "I want to be able to be with my mother for thirty minutes without snapping at her." Act on that image. It really does lead to change.

More on this topic in LIES. chapter 30, "Look Out For Yourself"


MtC said...

What if the reason you don't change is not because you have never truthfully asked yourself if you are who you want to be, but because,having asked, and given the inevitability of achieving less than perfection, you are generally satisfied with yourself the way you are.

Bridget said...

Well MtC, it was worth asking the question since it resulted in a sense of satisfaction..I assume for those around you also.

Philippine Prudential Life said...

Bril­liant! Great talk that was extremely insightful and very enter­taining. It’s given me loads to think about.

Bridget said...

Thank you Philippine,
It's always nice to hear that something you write has been helpful. I hope you continue to follow our blog.