Monday, November 19, 2012
Self-Dissection in 3 Easy Steps
If you're looking for the essence of your existence, why not try dissecting yourself? Getting in touch with your inner self requires full existential involvement. Self-dissection can lead to happiness when you only allow yourself to focus on or think about those thoughts and actions that put into motion your deepest truths, needs, and desires.
Yet, self-dissection is a delicate undertaking. Expect too much too fast, and you'll risk the feeling that you're falling into a deep well or spinning out of control.
STEP 1: PRIORITIZE
Make a list of your most important life goals, of the things (thoughts, experiences, feelings) that make you happy. If an action (thought, experience or feeling) doesn't make you happy and/or relate to those goals, reevaluate its presence by asking yourself if it should be there. If it does not belong, get rid of it. It's taking up valuable life real estate.
STEP 2: SIMPLIFY
We live in an era of massive options - from what we want to do in life to where we want to live. With so many options, it's difficult to close the door on any possibility - just in case.
Keeping too many windows of opportunity open drains our life house of valuable energie needed to sustain existing opportunities. This is one of the reasons people never seem to have time to do the things most dear to them.
Just as you added life goals to your list, cross off the things you're doing that don't belong. However, leave them there. This way if they come up again, you can remind yourself that they don't fit and you'll know why.
STEP 3: ACT (Don't React)
Some people spend their lives reacting to people, places, and passing thoughts (fancies) instead of acting on behaviors that are in alignment with their life goals. These reactions are rarely harmonious; in fact, they can be downright destructive when we allow them to distract us from our life goals.
You don't have to be a genius to manage runaway thoughts and emotions. Doing so will keep stress, worry, anxiety, and a whole host of unpleasant or otherwise unsatisfying experiences at bay.
Keeping charts or lists of activities that are aligned with our goals is one of the many ways to keep our priorities in alignment. When we focus and act from these goals in mind, we don't have time to react over destructive thoughts or negative emotions. In this respect, lists can act as personal safety nets as well as life management tools.
It's interesting, but it really is satisfying to cross off or otherwise chart our progress toward meeting goals (and milestones along the way). Just as when we were growing up and our moms and/or dads marked our growth on the door frame, we can mark our own growth or progress on charts we create for ourselves.
This reinforcement activity helps keeps us focused. While some may claim not to need charts and lists, I personally find working with them easier than holding onto a bunch of stuff in my head. Holding too much in my head stresses me out and leaves me feeling physically drained, thinking that I have more on my plate than I actually do. When this happens, I tend to procrastinate. That is, until I go back to Step 1 and get my priorities straight again.
STEP 4: GO EASY ON YOURSELF (and others)
Holding yourself and others prisoner to guilt is a sucky way to spend eternity. Wherever or whenever eternity is, for me, it's happening right now. This is my eternity and I'm not going to waste it blaming myself or others for mistakes we'd all probably rather forget about and move on from.
The point is to learn, to grow, and to have fun while doing it. Constantly reliving the past prevents us from living (as cliché as it sounds) in the present.
When we can successfully manage even one of these steps we feel much happier about others, ourselves, and our place in the world. Our experience of living improves and consequently, so too do the quality of our lives.