When you put your hand on a hot stove, it hurts, so you stop doing it. When we do something that hurts, we reflexively stop doing it and we try not to do it again.
Self-examination hurts because people are flawed. They make mistakes. They don’t always make the right choices. They forget stuff. They say mean things. They don’t always tell the truth. They get jealous. They take things that don’t belong to them. These things aren’t very nice, but we all do them. If you are thinking that you don’t, we refer you to the part where we said they don’t always tell the truth. Because self-examination hurts, our reflex is to stop doing it and try not to do it again.
However, self-examination is absolutely essential for good mental health and for happiness, so you must find a way to do it. Here at Down To Earth, we provide the supportive environment that is necessary to reduce the pain of self-examination. We already know that you lie. We already know that you’ve said horrible things to your children. We already know that you snitched some money out of your wife’s purse to buy beer. We already know these things about you and we’re going to accept you anyhow. Why? Because we are human, too. We have made many mistakes and have gone on. We have done things that made us ashamed and have lived to tell about them. We have forgotten important things and have managed to survive. You can, too.
Once you can examine yourself without fear, you will be able to see both your good and your bad. You can use the good to reduce the bad, but not until you accept that both exist. The good news is that it gets easier with practice and in time it actually becomes fun!