Judging your reflection
A couple of years ago, my cousin got me a small little desk plaque that sits on my fireplace making a quite statement and reminding me of a very valuable fact every day. For inscribed on it is a quote that reads: A Peaceful Heart is the greatest gift that we could give ourselves.
Although I keep sharing and posting my learning and ideas about better living and life lessons, I will be the first to state that we cannot be perfect individuals. Life and the experiences within are far too extensive and varied for us to take the best decisions and do the right thing all the time in every aspect in life. But in the pursuit to try and be perfect and take good decisions and do the right things will certainly reduce our imperfections and help us steer our lives towards better choices, reactions, behaviour and ultimately building the “Peaceful Heart”.
The peace, happiness, success, humility and gratification we all seek for usually comes from our efforts towards achieving them and the numerous experiences that we encounter and the lessons we learn from them. Some of us expect a perfect world and express our annoyance when things do not go as planned or meets our expectations. We draw snap judgements and quick criticism towards others when they are less than the “perfection” we demand or expect. But we only learn about our imperfections when we are forced to accept the harsh realities about self through some hard lessons in life. And if we truly seek a peaceful heart, happiness, calm, and a fulfilling life, we need to indulge in honest self introspection without denial or deflecting the truth about our true behaviours, intentions, speech and thinking.
Bu indulging in such an honest self introspection, we can save ourselves a lot of trouble by learning about our imperfections from hard life lessons and the agonies and time associated with them. At times, our harshest critics are our loved ones, for they do not feel the need to sweeten their words of criticism. They take the right they have earned by their unconditional love, unwavering concern and relentless care for us with their words of wisdom and honest criticism with the purpose of making us realize our shot coming and improve. But we often deflect such free and honest advice in the shadows of our blind ego. Hence the need to self reflect and self analyze our true self becomes even more important in our pursuit of perfection that leads to true peace, happiness and success in our lives.
Although I was blinded by my ego, certain prejudices, and a certain level of arrogant confidence all through my 20’s and 30’s many lessons I learned along these years only came to my realization in my late 30’s and into my 40’s. But all along I was amused and often wondered about those who were in my age group and some younger than me who had the wisdom that I didn’t. I soon understood that they had the wisdom because they learned quickly by putting aside their ego and exercising honest self introspection to improve and get better. They had the courage to take their critics seriously, listen and understand what they needed to do to right their wrongs.
Having read a lot of studies, theories, life coach lessons, and philosophies, I got myself into the practice of self analyzing myself and honest introspection. After all, no one knows the true me but myself. Only I know my true intentions, thinking, feelings, and control my choices and reactions to life. I began asking a few hard questions in some key aspects about life. But getting into the habit of asking these questions often, I began to correct my life and avoid a lot of mistakes that would make me regret later in life. I may never be done in this effort. This is merely a process, but it is certainly a process that I have found very useful. It has made me a lot calmer, happier, peaceful, clearer and focused in life towards better life and things that makes me feel purposeful. NO, I am not perfect and I still have a very long way to go and perhaps it will be so until my last breath. But it is a practice I have begun to love because I truly enjoy the rewards it generates. Here are some of these questions that have helped me:
- Am I putting my best effort to be successful?
- Am I truly earning the rewards that I desire by hard and honest work?
- Am I doing what it takes to progress in my carrier?
- Am I taking the responsibility of learning myself and becoming good at what I do?
- Am I good if not the best in my chosen job?
- Am I a good person in terms of empathy, honesty, and reliability?
- Am I trust worthy and dependable?
- Am I unreasonably egoistic, arrogant and abrasive in behaviour?
- Am I a bitter person filled with anger, hatred, and prejudice?
- Have I truly earned the respect, love, attention and care that I seek?
- Am I a person who cares to mend relationships or breaks them?
- Am I a forgiving person in lieu of my own faults and failures?
- Am I a problem creator or a peace maker?
- Do I give the love and respect before I seek for it in return?
- Am I honest and loyal in my relationships to expect the same in return?
- Am I a person other like or avoid?
- Am I someone who inspires and brings happiness to others?
- Am I kind, genuine and polite or I am abrasive, fake and rude?
- Am I trusted and/or seen as a valuable individual?
- Am I too judgemental, critical and cynical about people and life?
Although these are harsh questions they are very especial ones that helps build strong character and progressive mind set. They are not questions that makes one a passive person, but instead it makes one a confident and righteous one. And this feeling helps our thinking, choices, action, reactions and speech that drives positive behaviour. If not perfection it certainly helps reduce our imperfections and become better individuals.
But what truly delivers the peace and happiness is taking the action to improve and becoming better. We need to do things daily and consistently to become better. It will not suffice to just ask these questions, but it warrants the courage to take the much needed steps to become the person that you like. As I said in the beginning, the quote on the plaque reads: A Peaceful Heart is the greatest gift WE could give ourselves! It lies in our own habits, and actions.