The following is an extract from Journal Psychologium by Phillip Shaver. It is part of the Exercises for Wisdom series. This is one of my favourite exercises, as it allows you to look deeply at yourself and appreciate all that you have been given. Indeed, I would not recommend doing it every day but it is a great beginning exercise to get you started on the path to wisdom.
Let's begin with self-centeredness. Self-centeredness is how we see ourselves and the world around us. Self-centeredness comes about when we perceive our life in terms of our own happiness or lack of it.
In other words, if we don't feel good enough, we will not pursue our desires. Likewise, if we think we're inadequate or worthless, we will tend to push ourselves further away from our goals. We will keep pushing until we break down and find ourselves in crisis.
This can be a problem because when we are fixated on what we think is bad, it can push us over the edge. We think our ability to achieve what we want is dependent on whether or not we succeed. We get caught up in the emotional trauma and despair we feel. In other words, we are projecting our feelings onto the world around us.
This is a harmful emotional pattern that needs to be corrected. You are not the world around you. You are in the world and you are responsible for your feelings.
We cannot create our own reality. We are dependent on our thoughts and actions and we need to develop tools to let go of our thoughts.
So, what is the best way to go about this? Well, I recommend doing journaling every day. The journal is one way to hold the act of journaling and to keep the focus on the process rather than the outcome.
The goal here is to become a new person every day. It is to create the kind of self you've always wanted to have. It is to become the one that is looking within for the answers to your problems.
When you start to feel yourself growing, it is when you begin to view yourself and the world around you differently. It is when you become clear about what you really want in life. It is when you feel you can live your life fully without the worries of anxiety or fear.
For this to happen, you must reach the point where you no longer need to feel scared, insecure, or resentful to feel complete domination over your own life. You need to feel you can have what you want without the struggle. And you need to know that you deserve it.
The journal will not make you feel better, feel superior, or feel more healthy. It will help you get to that place when you finally can do this.