One of the easiest tasks in the world is to point out another person’s flaws. We peer down at others and smirk: She’s so weak. He’s so needy. They’re so selfish. We can judge folks in our sleep sometimes while convincing ourselves we’re completely objective observers.
What happens, though, when you turn the magnifying glass on yourself? If you’re honest, you most likely won’t like everything you see. In fact, you may be downright disturbed at habits that you know detract more value from your life than they add but are so difficult to change. The revelation can be embarrassing.
For instance, after reviewing journal entries from 1998, I realized that, 14 years later, I’m still doing some of the same things I did at age 12. Twelve! I’m 26 years old with preteen tendencies, and they’re not just any old bad habits. They’re insidious, draining, self-deluding habits. If that isn’t disheartening, I don’t know what is.
One thing that has changed about me, though, is that I don’t beat myself up for mistakes I’ve made. So while it is sad that history has repeated itself again and again, I’m not letting my past immobilize me. Of course I’m not pleased with actions, but instead of crying over them, I’m using this self-knowledge to my advantage. No longer am I hiding from myself. No longer am I content with repressing dark secrets. No longer am I impressed with my penchant for rationalizing my way out of responsibility. Now, I’m going to get the therapy I’ve needed for a long time. A new, more honest me is coming out of this revelation.
Only when you turn the magnifying glass on yourself can you become aware of your problems. When you become brave enough to look at all the pieces of yourself–those irrational, ugly, painful, harmful pieces–and accept those components as part of your unique life journey, you empower yourself to heal from them. Your dug-up faults, vices, and secrets may surprise or scare you, but when you commit to healing from them, they won’t be able to control you.
PS: If you’ve never journaled before, I suggest you give it a try. Regular journaling can be a great guide to your inner workings.