This article was last updated on December 29, 2015
“Life is a mirror and what you see out there, you must first see inside of you” – Wally “Famous” Amos
It’s a theme that is consistent in almost everything from self-help books to teachings by spiritual gurus, it’s the notion that the relationship we have with ourselves will determine the relationship we have with the world around us. This idea is very empowering, because while so many people have spent precious time trying to change someone or something in their lives to no avail, this idea shows that all that we need to do in order to feel more at peace with the world is to change ourselves. When we change, the world around us automatically changes. If you desire to live a less stressful life by changing the relationship you have with yourself, here are some tips to consider:
When You Change; The World Around You Also Changes
Watch Out for the Ego
The ego, or sense of self, is a very fragile thing. It’s the part of you that wants so desperately for your bad mood to be their fault, or your anger to because of them. The ego never wants to see itself as the problem, so it will make you believe that nothing is ever your fault. It’s always something someone else has done that has forced you to behave in the way that you did. The most important thing to remember here is that your actions and feelings are always generated by you alone. The way someone else behaves is their doing, while your reaction to it is your doing. That being said, there are things that you can do for yourself that will greatly influence your perspective of life and your reaction to others.
Love Yourself Unconditionally
When we love ourselves exactly as we are now, in this very moment with all of our perceived imperfections, we are loving ourselves unconditionally. It’s ok to not be exactly where you want to be yet. So many people want to wait until they are “perfect” to start loving themselves, but that perfection never comes. It’s only when we see ourselves as perfectly imperfect as we are now, that we can find inner peace and acceptance of ourselves. When we accept ourselves for all of our imperfections, we find it easier to accept others with their imperfections, which means we stop looking for what’s wrong with the world and instead start seeing what’s right. See Also (How to Love Yourself)
We’ve all made mistakes…… When you a mistake, and you will at some point, you have two options, you can dwell on it and beat yourself up about it over and over, or you can recognize it, learn from it and move on. When we choose to learn from our mistakes we stop being so hard on ourselves for making them in the first place. We can move forward with our lives without living in the past. The best thing about being more forgiving of ourselves is that we find it easier to forgive others. Who has never done something or said something they shouldn’t have? Absolutely no one. So if we can allow ourselves to make a flub every once in a while, we also give the same luxury to others. Forgiving ourselves easily will always translate into forgiving others more easily, which will in turn make life move along with more ease.
Point the Finger Back at Yourself
If someone brings about a strong negative emotional reaction from you, it’s always the universe giving you a clue to something you need to work on in yourself. This is one of the hardest lessons to learn (that ego again), but the most rewarding. When someone angers you, use it as an opening to see what part of your ego is being hurt. Every negative situation is a chance for self-awareness, and a chance to choose a more loving reaction. You can say to yourself, “where can I practice love or forgiveness either towards them or myself in this situation?” When we grow as people, we will notice that we are bothered, annoyed and frustrated less. The love and happiness we find in ourselves will be reflected back to us in the world we see.
Trying to change the world around us can be an exhausting endeavor. We place the key to our happiness in the behavior of others who may or may not ever change. To get to the root of the problem, turn your attention inward and focus on changing yourself first. You will find that you notice less problems in the outside world when you have made peace with all of the perceived problems inside of you.
Photo credit: Susanne Nilsson