‘I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.’ – Aristotle
This is the continuation of the series on respect and how to cultivate it. This is the fourth part so if you have missed the first three then you can click here to view them
3. To go on a journey of self-discovery
Previously I mentioned a couple of ways to gain self-knowledge in order to acquire self-respect the ways were:
To follow the example of others who have successfully acquired self-knowledge
To gain instruction from those who are qualified to do so from their own wisdom and credibility
Now I will expound on a journey of self-discovery. I believe that it is practically impossible to have self-respect and self-knowledge without an understanding of yourself.
Sometimes people say ‘I need to travel abroad to find myself’ and yet the journey to other places that they visit will only reveal those thoughts and feelings that already reside within.
“Eyes and ears are poor witnesses to people if they have uncultured souls.” – Heraclitus
At a later time I will go into detail about the subject of self-awareness, which will enable you to assess the quality of the results that you are getting.
For now I will examine the journey of self-discovery. The most important thing to know when embarking on a journey is to know the desired destination. If a person does not know where they want to go then any direction will get them there.
We will always see what we most desire to see whether it is an empirical fact or not. The mind of a healthy individual is the most powerful tool that will ever exist on planet Earth.
The first and possibly most important question to examine is how can I discover who I am?
The answer is simple, although the reality to fully grasp the answer will be complicated for some to comprehend.
The answer is that YOU ARE ALREADY THERE. You do not need to go anywhere in order to find out who you are.
You already are who you are.
The next logical question could be, if I am already here, how can I be the person that I really want to be?
That is one of the most difficult things of all to answer, simply because we are all the sum total of our thoughts, feelings and actions up to this point. If we were to change our results then we would need to change our core behaviour and beliefs.
For some this would literally be impossible because many of those patterns have turned into habits that would keep a person rigidly stuck to their current reality.
If a person has lived for 25 years and used their right hand to write and draw with for their entire life, then how difficult would it be for a person to use their left hand from that moment until the end of their life without going back to their previous habit pattern? It would be impossible for some, and extremely difficult for most, and easy for a few to make that change.
This ability to adapt to new habits is also relevant for life and it will be those who can adapt to a desired way of being who will prosper and get to the highest level. The interesting thing is that this has nothing to do with intelligence or a high IQ score.
Everything is always in constant motion and nothing will remain the same forever.
Some examples of things that are currently obsolete are:
- Dial-up modems
- Floppy discs
- Video players
- Cassette tape players and tapes
- Cathode Ray Tube televisions
I could go on for quite a while rattling off disrupted technology and the point here is that any expert in one of those fields is now unemployed or has to adapt to learning new technologies and applications in order to survive.
The self or self-image works in the same way. It is completely determined by the quality and quantity of information that we put into it. Some of the information is put in consciously and the majority is imbibed unconsciously.
“The ‘self-image’ is the key to human personality and human behavior. Change the self-image and you change the personality and the behavior.” Maxwell Maltz
There are no accidents when it comes to our self-image, we create our reality through our habits, beliefs, actions, thoughts, desires, dreams, and environments.
The key to understanding yourself is to align that knowledge with your purpose. Once you know what your purpose in life is then you will be able to create the ideal self-image that you want.
“Before you can do something, you must first be something.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goeth
The journey to discover or uncover your purpose is a lifetime endeavour; at the same time there is nothing that will ever be more worthwhile than to discover the reason or reasons why you are here on this planet.
The truth about your purpose is that only you can really know what your purpose is. Not even your parents, peers, or siblings can decide for you what your purpose should be.
The real tragedy is that many people will never ever get to find out their real purpose because they have a weak self-image or non-existent sense of self.
A person with a weak sense of self is a person that exists only to conform to what others want them to be.
“Slavery takes hold of few, but many take hold of slavery.” – Seneca the younger
The ability to create your own narrative for your life is one of the most powerful things that you can do to create a strong self-image. It is not possible to help others in a meaningful way unless the person is strong and can cultivate that strength from within.
The mirror test
A way to fully test the strength of the power of your level of self-respect is to look at yourself in the mirror and try to love and respect the person that is looking back at you. This means to look at yourself honestly, without make-up, without hair extensions, without designer labelled garments, without expensive fragrances, without any clothes, without jewellery, without bravado, without ego, and without embellishment.
The feelings that come as a result of doing that will literally be a mental reflection of your current state of mind.
The level of love and respect that you have for yourself will also be present in the way that you allow others to treat you.
A person who has a low sense of self-worth will allow the most disgusting things to happen to them and their family without even attempting to change their situation, because at an unconscious or even level they believe that they deserve that punishment.
‘If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.’ – Napoleon Hill
If you had a negative reactions to the mirror test
- Read this section – http://anisometric-inc.com/external-respect-first-comes-from-self-respect-part-1/ and follow the rest of the segments that follow it, and re-read them until they make sense and you can pass the mirror test, because that test is literally a reflection of who you are and how you see yourself.
At this stage it is also very important to point out that a person also has the right to have no respect for themselves. There are a great number of people who have given up on life and will make no further attempts at trying to ‘win at the game of life’ and in a convoluted way this is understandable.
The path that some people have to take is incredibly difficult and only a complete fool will believe that all situations in life across the world are equal. There are obvious advantages and gifts that some are given over others and vice versa.
One thing that I have understood over my growth and development is that even the mightiest empire will fall and even the most disgusting and ignorant people can rise to achieve great power at particular moments in history.
I have learnt a lot from studying the work of many great historians and teachers from antiquity to the present day. One historian who died a few years ago frequently reminded me of the lessons that we should take from history.
“I fear that we live in an ahistorical age in which we believe that we are so wise that we no longer need the lessons of the past, perhaps most disturbingly of all that technology has put us beyond the lessons of the past.” - J. Rufus Fears
If you had a positive response to the mirror test
Then you are ready to see the next section here – http://anisometric-inc.com/self-respect-derives-from-self-knowledge-part-5