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Previous: Pride

Healthy Pride

So we have seen that Pride is quite tricky, but need to learn how to have a healthy pride, but how do we do this?

Of course there are many answers to this problem, and here I am merely making a few suggestions to guide our thoughts.

Recognising we have a Problem

"Houston, we have a problem" - those famous words that NASA did not want to here from Apollo 13, and we are just as scared about hearing this in ourselves.

More commonly, we want to say "Problem, What Problem" as was so well described in the advertisement a few years ago for the doctor covered in sticky labels saying how much some people love to use a labeller.

But how often do we admit we have any problems?

When doing work interviews, asking people where they have the most difficulties only causes an applicant to squirm in their seat, and yet this is the most helpful question that can be asked. A person who can admit mistakes and freely discuss them is someone you most want to employ - because they can learn.

Well, this is where our ego and pride get in the way - we really do want to think of ourselves as perfect!

So, accepting that things need to change is always the first step to growing, and learning to move on.


Recognising Unhelpful Patterns

Trying to find what needs to be fixed first is always tricky too. We want to take on the biggest problems first, or problems that are so distant and untouchable, that we make any changes in our lives difficult.

One of the best guides is where we see faults in others - as this is usually where we also have the biggest faults in ourselves, although where we are often most blind.

Sometimes it is best to take on a problem that is small, so we can learn how to learn, and at least achieve some success.

But it is good to also examine the unhelpful patterns in our lives that seem to trip us up. As we have said earlier, these patterns often fall into three main groups:

Pleasing others hoping they will please us back

Blaming or Bullying others, or even ourselves

Avoiding things and running away

But there are others, for example:

Self-entitlement and being "selfish"



All or none responses

Unaware / Automatic


Being unrealistic 

Any of these response can be quite normal, or even helpful, but when they continually trip us up and prevent us from achieving our goals, then they are places to start changing

Please note: These patterns are also often seen in our thinking or talking patterns - and also used in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - CBT, which we shall mention later.



Moving on….

So once we have decided there is some area of our life that we want to change, we have some work ahead of us;

First we need to allow ourselves to become more aware and conscious of what we are doing without yet making any changes, together 

Quite often it is a good idea to find a way to express our feelings and thoughts - whether it is by talking to someone, writing in a journal, painting, expressing yourself through music or dance, or whatever method works for you. But this helps to also make ourselves more aware of what is happening to us, and also designed to keep us honest - and not just fall back into old patterns. As Madonna said - "Express Yourself"

Once we have discovered a pattern, we can try to make a change.

BUT BE CAREFUL - So often the changes we make that we think will work only serve to reinforce the patterns that already exist, or make them worse. I remember the story of being lost in the desert and coming across a set of footprints in the sand and say "Aha - someone is in front of me - maybe I can catch up with them!" But we are only walking in circles, and they are our own footprints. This happens so often in our own emotional lives.

Any changes we make that actually make things worse are often a good sign that we are on the right direction - we merely have to make the opposite change and see if this helps, which it often does. So often, we need to think outside the square if we want to make changes in our lives.

Bruce Lee - developer of Kung Fu martial arts, was once known to say: "Develop technique, Practice technique, then forget technique".

Once we have found the patterns and developed the rules for new ones, we need to practice them in our lives so they become a new habit - but this takes longer than we think, and the old laws of Homeostasis - the tendency for our emotions to return back to their natural states - will be hard to overcome. So we have to constantly make these challenges consciously and deliberately which takes alot of effort and mental energy. But once we have the habit well established, we need to stop the deliberate focus on the new patterns and "forget" them.

We then need to go back and continue to examine our lives to find the next pattern that needs to be broken.

But that is learning - that is life.


Discovering the Emotions:

Part of this process is not only looking at the patterns of our behaviour and thinking, but also our patterns of our emotions underlying these patterns. As our emotions are often the main problem for us - we usually learn the behaving and thinking patterns quite quickly - we need to also learn to examine the emotional patterns, which are also often the most hidden.

We first need to break with our instincts - which is hard as they are by definition quite automatic and we are least aware of these patterns.

Perhaps the most important, and the hardest  to break the need for immediate gratification. I want my pleasure and I want it now! - Our sense of entitlement, which is no so ingrown in our society and culture.

If the instinct is to want immediate pleaure, then our task is to learn to delay.

But first we need to learn to understand and discover what our pleasure is - to make our Pleasure more conscious and aware - by asking "What do we Like?"

If we can learn to find our own sense of pleasure and learn how to find it easily when we need it, it is easier to put off.

We can then learn how to please ourselves (so we can please others without necessarily needing a return), which is in the next section

If we can delay our Pleasure, we need to then learn to deal with the Business end of our emotions - our Pain and Fears which have so often been left undealt with for many years. Then we can learn to use our Anger not to fight, but as energy for effort.

All so easy to say, all so difficult to do.

Next: Pleasing Yourself

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