- Confrontation styles: We are having four kinds of styles when we confront others: passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, or assertive. Our behavior depends on the situation we are in.
2. Criticism: We respond to criticism in a variety of ways, like denial, self-loathing, acceptance or positive transformation.
- Vague Ambitions: We talk of helping others, or being creative, or changing the world. Admirable they may be, but the ambitions are vague because we don’t know ourselves.
- Attitudes To Ambition: Most of us suffer from a problematic attitude towards success. Our thoughts move us towards inaction and doubt, leading to failure. Our attitude makes us apply conditions to our happiness(I will be happy when I have this), leading to misery.
Self-knowledge makes us understand how we impact others, allowing us to adjust ourselves, being more interested in the other person rather than just ourselves.
Strangers are surprisingly good at guessing stuff about us, though we find it difficult to grasp. We don’t realize what information we give out to others, or how our behavior annoys them. They might find us hogging the limelight or only talking about our own struggles and experience, unable to be impressed by what others are doing.
- How We Feel About Our Family: We all have complicated feelings towards our family members, and may have unconscious attitudes and biases that can play havoc. It can be guilt, envy or disloyalty.
- Blame And Self-knowledge: We blame our parents for things that are clearly not their domain. They may not be perfect, but it doesn’t help to shift all responsibility to your guardians and be miserable or emotionally crippled your whole life.
- Self-knowledge can describe accurately how one is feeling, through introspection or self-inquiry.
- Knowing yourself also means being aware of your self-machinery, or how your mind operates and distorts the world around you.
- The primitive, part of our brain is interested in our survival and does not have the capacity for morality, empathy or being deeply insightful.
- The evolved, mature brain, the neocortex, which came much later, is sophisticated but is not as strong as the primitive brain.
- Our hopes, fears and desires belong to our reptilian minds and overpower us most of the time.
Developing a capacity to observe our basic instincts: The times when our minds are free from subjectivity, defensiveness and self-justification(like late at night when it is quiet), we get a glimpse of truth, a tiny moment of wisdom or insight about how we behave.
Developing a capacity to understand other people’s behavior: We normally react automatically, almost reflexively, to how others behave. Our natural reaction matches the primitive action we see in others. A better option is to understand the person’s primitive action as a sign of distress and hurt, rather than their being evil.
According to a Buddhist world-view, our anxieties and worries are not really important or purposeful but only seem so. Buddhist meditation wants our thoughts and anxieties to bother us less and tells us that these thoughts are nonsensical or meaningless.
Philosophical meditation does the same but does not tell us to empty our minds and discard the thoughts, as they are signals with complex clues that can help us develop ourselves.
- Set aside 20 minutes on a daily basis and sit with a paper and pencil, asking yourself simple questions like: What am I regretful, anxious or excited about in the present moment?
- Write down what comes to your mind immediately without censoring or thinking. Do it as unselfconsciously as you can.
- As we practice this meditation, we help ourselves by understanding our internal conflicts, desires and problems, and find clear insights in the otherwise confusing set of chaos and floating thoughts. Problems don’t go away, but demystify themselves, becoming manageable.
We can get to know ourselves by conversing with others, but not how we think a conversation should be. The key to a great conversation is asking the right questions and then listening well.
Some examples: Think about what flaws of yours you want to be treated in a better way, or what compliments would you like to get; Ask about some incident they want to apologize for.
Be vulnerable, foolish and real. Talk your heart out!