In our daily lives, many things keep us from growing as a person. One problem is that we often don’t know what to grow into, and then our lives lack direction and focus. But maybe even more importantly, even if you knew, many people have limits that hold them back. And so, we often spend our lives in a “safety zone,” and only engage in the habitual. In that way, little if any growth can happen. In this entry, I’ll talk a bit about how to resolve your personal limitations, as described in my books, Be True, Be Happy and The Steps of Essence.
In another post, I already mentioned how The Steps of Essence are patterned closely along the theme of a hero going on a Quest, and follow the outline that Joseph Campbell found in many myths from around the world.
One of the common elements in these legends is that the hero comes up to a threshold: a great wall, a forest, a river, a space-port. On one side of the threshold is the old land, the safe, and on the other is the dark, the shadowy, the unknown and scary. Only heroes ventures beyond this threshold, because they know, this is where the prize lies.
In your life, you are the hero of that life! And the limitations of your life are your own threshold. It is exactly the same as in all these myths:
Here is your own wall, the one that keeps you back from moving forward, and making your dreams come true! On one side is the known, on the other the scary, but yet also the treasure: a life worth living. And if you want to grow as a person and reach those things you always desired, you must become aware of the boundaries that constrain you, face the inner demons that lie beyond, and learn to resolve them.
The key to doing so are your emotions.
Whenever you approach one of your boundaries, you have a strong emotional reaction to it: you get upset, scared, or depressed, etc. The Steps of Essence teach you to recognize those emotional barriers. You see, it never is the actual thing you struggle with, whatever that may be, but always your emotions. You live your life in and through your emotions! And you must learn to resolve your “self-limiting” emotions.
In Be True, Be Happy and The Steps of Essence I teach you many ways of doing so, all from modern psychology. A common way is to learn to reframe what happens so that you think about it differently: “change your thoughts and you change your life.” The second way teaches you to accept yourself or the situation better, and thereby move forward with your life.
I’ll write more about these ways in other posts to come.
For now, I’ll leave you with a very simple but often effective little exercise. Very often, when you are stuck with a problem, you are so emotionally involved with it that you cannot see a solution clearly. However, if a friend had the same problem, you would probably give some very good advise. So when you are facing a problem, simply ask yourself: “If a friend of mine had this same problem, what would I advise him or her?” Very often, this helps you to cut through the clutter of your emotions and realize what has to be done. It often works -- try it.