According to one of my favorite thinkers, change must happen individually, before it can happen on a grander collective scale. Oh to be the change we want to see in the world.
. . .society gains nothing whilst a man, not himself renovated, attempts to renovate things around him. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essay on New England Reformers
Our ability to really influence our reality around us first calls for purposeful self-transformation. Renovating the way we think.
. . .for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost. . .
It starts by being brutally honest with ourselves and realizing there is no need for any of this thinking, if we don’t have each other. Sure we could live like hermits. . . or
understand that we need and belong to one another, love says – we are not our own.
To be a greater, more expanded version of ourselves.
I think the hardest part, the most difficult, is letting go of our ego. First we must know what should be changed, the thoughts that lead to unwanted emotions of anger and pain. Things that can get in the way of real progress. We might study ourselves and thought by thought, we must address the behavior we want to change.
It’s difficult to acknowledge the pain. To take responsibility for the problems we cause in our lives. The hurtful things we say, the anger and lashing rage, the shut down of communication. The selfishness and greed.
Self-awareness can be very difficult for this reason. Our ego does not want us to acknowledge our own faults.
Here are some signs that your ego is in control (inspired from Simple Life Strategies)
1. You get a cheap thrill from gossiping about other people’s problems.
2. You have a power surge to the brain after winning an argument. You just knew you were so right about that.
3. You compare yourself to others who you feel are better or worse off than you. This takes the focus off of you. An easy way out.
4. How dare he, she, they treat you that way? Haters are just going to hate. No, not really. Sometimes it’s just not you.
5. You feel a tinge of jealousy when you see other people having a real good time. Especially on Instagram and Facebook.
6. You go on and on about yourself before addressing anyone else in the room.
7. You’d rather look great than try harder next time.
8. You’re often upset when your not recognized at work. We’re not in pre-school anymore people.
9. You create impossible goals and then beat yourself up when you don’t reach them. This is where I live.
10. You blame others when things fall apart in your life.
Self-awareness starts by admitting our mistakes, looking at our behavior, taking responsibility for our actions.
So I begin by acknowledging my part in all of this.
For not knowing or understanding ourselves is like grabbing the tail to direct the head of a dragon. First we most know.
Next on my reading list
The Ego is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday