Looking In

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um_121311_emailThis is a guest post from Michael Davis

Do you ever judge what another person says, and then realize you say the same thing yourself?

This happens to me more often than I’d like to admit. In fact, I’ve turned it into an awareness practice. Not every time mind you, but when I’m awake enough to notice, I often see a correlation between what I judge “out there” and what I do, or judge within myself.

Psychology has a handy name for this. It’s called projection, and it comes into play when a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, by projecting them on the outside world, usually on other people. The temporary effect is a reduction of anxiety. Why? Because it’s a relief to think that the cause of your woes come from somewhere else.

It doesn’t work in the long term though, because the anxiety returns—until you face its source.

Projection can become a habit that builds weakness, not strength. If you can admit a mistake, you can correct it. If you see a character flaw in yourself, and own it, you can bring what is missing into focus, and as many great thinkers have said, what you focus on grows. In this way, what is missing can become a source of fulfillment for you.

Letting the world see the inside “you” is often hardest for those in positions of authority. The news on almost any day is filled with stories of politicians, ministers, business executives, celebrities and others in the public eye that can’t seem to say, “I am the source of my life, and I am accountable for what happens in it.”

What can you do to build the strength that comes with being the source of your own life?

Here are some thoughts:

  1. Turn the telescope on yourself – Use what bothers you about others as a way to look inside yourself. Be slow to judge, and quick to forgive.
  2. Build on your strengths – You are designed to evolve, and evolution includes occasional breakdowns from which you come back stronger than before. Listen to your inner voice, and act on it. You will become stronger, more resilient, and wiser.
  3. Be willing to let go – Much of what you learn in life is what doesn’t work. Letting go of what no longer works is nature’s way of clearing a space for something new. Let it go, so you can let it in.
  4. Own your life – Be a creator, not an imitator. Let your unique talents become the underlying intention behind everything you do.
  5. Let others in – Your misses are as important as your hits. Make improvement your game, not perfection.

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