Every day hundreds of people, if not more, find themselves floundering; their habitual attitudes, reactions, behaviors, and thoughts get in their own way, and people are typically not even aware that they are helping to create or exacerbate the problems they are experiencing. Often, people place blame for what isn't going well in their lives on other individuals, circumstances they consider to be beyond their own control, or just plain bad luck.
The truth is that we are all the masters of our own destiny. Sometimes we prefer to avoid the mirror when situations have gone awry; we cannot begin to imagine that we, ourselves, are to blame. But consider what we know: the only person's behavior over which we have any control is our own.
Now is the time for a boatload of honesty to kick in. What is it that we're doing or saying that is taking us down the path that only leads to closed doors? To find the answer, it may be necessary to engage a life coach, therapist, or someone with super-human insight. Or, if you're up to the task, it might be time to give yourself an assessment. A self-assessment. Which character traits are helping you, and which are simply getting in your way?
Honestly examining qualities that either hinder or improve daily experiences is the first step toward making necessary changes that have the potential to positively impact individual and group interactions. Think about who you really are rather than who you would like to be. This could be the first step toward maturely taking responsibility for your own social and emotional health and well-being.
Consider your character traits: are you resentful of others, or more forgiving of their mistakes? Are you suspicious of those with whom you interact, and wonder about their motivations, or are you trusting? Do you become inappropriately angry when things go wrong, or are you patient, calm, and understanding that some things just don't go the way we wish? These are just a few of the character traits you would want to consider about yourself. Review a list of character traits and then start asking yourself questions:
- Which character flaws are causing me pain or unhappiness?
- How does each of these flaws cause difficulty for others or myself?
- Whom have I hurt by this behavior? (List yourself if that is true.) And list how the hurt has been revealed.
- How can changing these behaviors improve my relations with others?
- How could my new attitudes and thinking affect those close to me?
- How will changing my behavior, thinking, and attitudes affect my opinion of myself?
- What are some assets of which I am proud? How can I capitalize on those positive traits?
- What are some of my neutral traits that could be strengthened and turned into an asset?
Once you have the framework, you are ready for some serious work. Focus on one or two positive or neutral traits to further develop and strengthen, and pick one or two weaker areas to work on, as well. When you have made substantial progress, go back to your self-assessment and look for more traits on which to place your attention. Repeat as many times as necessary, and watch your world change in ways you had never imagined.
Shortfalls do not need to remain a trait of yours forever. Learn what sets them off and head them off at the pass. Practice stress reduction techniques like mindfulness; this practice is proven to reduce negative thinking, emotional reactivity, and anger issues, along with improving empathy for self and others, focus and attention, and cognitive clarity. These are skills that can help you turn negatives into positives, and facilitate your creating a more rewarding life experience from which you, and those you interact, will benefit.