One of the difficult tasks I give my clients is to "introspect". To consider all the reasons, results and feelings associated with their thoughts and actions; how they are all related.
The difficulty is not in realizing the components associated with "why" we do things, but the honesty it requires to truly understand.
For example, a man may understand that certain circumstances influence his attitude and stress levels (anxiety) and his reaction is to lose his temper. But to understand [why] he loses his temper can be ground-breaking. That is to say, why a bad temper and not something else; like crying?
The next stage might be understanding that his bad temper is a learned behavior. Maybe his dad also lost his temper. That's good but more is needed.
These components only address the symptom and not the cause.
Recognizing the cause can include the idea that, as an example, maybe he feels so powerless that the act of losing his temper, gaining attention and showing force, helps him feel more powerful. Granted, the action is undesirable and can lead to greater issues. But to the sub-conscious mind, that "feeling" is paramount; the feeling of power.
So, once he understands that it's the feeling of power he needed in those moments weakness, he can begin his journey of finding power in other ways; more constructive.
This example shouldn't be taken literally as it's completely fictional and there are a number of other factors that are in play in real life.
Having A Tool Isn't As Important As Using It
The idea here is to convey the idea that as we use this valuable tool (introspection) to truly understand ourselves, we can begin the process of realistic, lasting change for the better.
Those interrogative words, why, how, when, who, what can be some of the most powerful words as we use them in this manner. But it's important to "listen" to the answers and even more important to apply them.
A Simple Phrase, Profound Implications
There's an adage that I believe to be very true: "Change your thoughts, you change your life."
We can. We can all be a little better. Do a little better and help others to do the same.
-James Tigert, C.H.