The two facedness of our existence isn’t something to be mourned but instead celebrated. It’s essentially the manifestation of our dark and light selves, our yin and yang.
Nobody is all good or all evil. No matter how you think of yourself there are other opposing facets of your personality that are a balance to one another.
Spend a few minutes thinking of what you regard as negative aspects of your personality. Go away now for five or ten minutes and write a list of any and all things that could be considered as negative about yourself. Once you’re got your list, on a new blank sheet create a list of all the positive things.
When your finished I would expect that you will find that many aspects of the “bad” list are echoed on the “good” list. What is one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Who’s to say that greed is bad, but the hunger a business leader feels is good?
This is a natural balance, your life journey is to identify these aspects of your personality and grow those that your enjoy but be aware that removing the elements you dislike will cause some other disharmony.
Look at the lists and realise you are neither wholly despicable nor entirely admirable. You are both these things and these two facets of your personally create the entire self.
Empathy is the ability to put myself in the shoes of another person, to imagine not only what they might be thinking, but also what they might be feeling.
It means being aware that others feel sadness, anger, joy, fear, emptiness, despair, pain and pleasure, and have their own needs and desires which are as important to them as mine are to me.
Being emphatic means being in tune with another person, allowing myself to be touched inside by that person, and recognising that they are also like me.
Communicating empathy can nurture the growth of intimacy and genuine relationship.
Photo: Empathy by Pierre Phaneuf
Accepting responsibility means recognising that my behaviour is always a matter of my choice. Sometimes the choice may be very difficult, but it is always my choice. I do what I do because i have decided to; nobody is making me and nobody else is responsible for my actions.
Accepting responsibility means being honest about my mistakes and being willing to change.
Accepting responsibility means recognising that I have an impact on my world; that what I do has an effect on others, and that there are consequences to my actions.
Accepting responsibility is being willing to ask for help rather than to expect it, and being willing to take care of myself when help is refused or unavailable.
Accepting responsibility means being the active author of my life, according to my values and standards, rather than blindly following, without thinking, the path of least resistance.
Photo: Army by soldiersmediacenter
Whilst reading something completely unrelated to the context of this site (Mark Hurst’s Powerless over infinite data?) I came across the following statement that resounded so deeply with me I had to share and discuss it:
“We are programmed for scarcity and can’t dial back when something is abundant”
Portals by Lee Gomes writing in the Wall Street Journal
This is an extremely powerful idea, not just in the overwhelming amount of data and information we have to almost constantly process in a modern technological society, but also relating to our lives as human beings.
The core of that idea is, we’re used to not having enough of something and so when we get offered it we grab it with both hands. Much like we do all too much food with high levels of sugars & fats – our ancestors needed those to survive and they were relatively rare so we learned to be greedy when they were on offer. Now-a-days, fats and sugars are abundant but our bodies and psyche are still programmed to eat as much of that once scare commodity as we can.
To my mind this is as much resistance to change thinking as it is greed. So often we are scared of change – and success will mean a change – that people actually plan for failure albeit subconsciously. It’s a safety mechanism, you may not accept this at face value but consider:
- Being successful at school might have made you more of a target to bullies or brought other mostly unwanted attention.
- Being too successful might make you a geek or a nerd to your peer group.
- Achieving success in the work place could make your co-workers behave differently towards you, talk about you behind your back, etc.
- Creating a successful business might make people think you only care about money and not about the important things in life.
Right now things are a constant for an individual, and although we’d like them to be something better, we’re alive and comfortable with the way things are (even if we aren’t actually truly comfortable with our surroundings, relationships or careers) so we place obstacles in our own way to ensure that we don’t have the success we deserve or that our skills merit.
We are used to scarcity and are scared of abundance when it comes to success, but not when it comes to food or information. We need to swap those things around, consume only what we need and require, and build the success that we can enjoy.
Being successful is not making someone else less so, being rich doesn’t make someone else poor, being loved doesn’t make someone else hated. Money and love expand – the more there is, the more there can be.
Embrace your success today.
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