There are enduring truths about ourselves that we sometimes don’t see or remember. What are they? They are truths that were recognized thousands of years ago and have stood the test of time. Here are a four of them, and some ideas about how to use this knowledge.
Enduring Truths About Self Interest
We are self-interested. When we sacrifice for others, even this is motivated by our own desires. Those desires include good feelings and wanting to see or make the world the way we want it to be. Forget this, and we become bitter trying to “do the right thing.” In order to avoid this bitterness that comes with “duty”, we need to see how being a good person and doing the right thing is just self-interest.
We can also point out the self-interest of others when we want to correct their behaviour. Tell a man he’s wrong, and it isn’t usually enough to change his behaviour. It’s better to show him his true interest – that behaving in a better way is better for HIM. Don’t forget the normal and healthy self-interest in dealing with others AND with yourself.
Enduring Truths About Mistakes
Salvador Dali said, “Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it.” Maybe you see this as negativity, but recognizing the truth is never a negative act. We all make mistakes. The greatest man or woman alive – whoever he or she is – has done some stupid things.
This isn’t an attack on human greatness, but a recognition that it isn’t dependent on doing things perfectly. Perfectionists certainly suffer for their demands upon themselves, while others hesitate to act for fear of mistakes. Accept that making mistakes is normal, and don’t dwell on the possibility or the reality of those mistakes. As Lao Tzu says, “Do your work, then step back – The only path to serenity.”
Enduring Truths About Learning
Our mistakes give us a chance to learn, and so avoid even bigger mistakes. Of course, we also can learn from our successes, and from the successes of others. Why not view mistakes and successes – both our own and others – as the great opportunities they are. Just seize that chance to learn more and so live better.
Enduring Truths About Change
I started menat50ish because I wanted to do something different. I wanted to change my outlook on life, having something that I created through my own effort and desire. The change came from the desire to prove to myself that I could learn to write and to make a difference.
Probably you have seen people that appear to learn nothing from their mistakes, right? Haven’t you also known and read about those who turned their lives around? A less important truth is that people often don’t change. The far more important truth to remember, and the most important of these enduring truths, is that we CAN change.
If we want our lives to take a different direction, then change has to happen. Change can only come from with. Life is about choices and the choices we make. We are creatures of habit, we don’t like change, we become prisoners of our habits?
In my marriage, I work hard not to act mindlessly or to get caught up in habits of emotional reactivity. I try to think about my higher goals and to behave in accordance with my values.
I don’t have to be a prisoner of my automatic response. I have learned to pause, take a breath, and think about how I want to be in my relationship. I have the power to choose, and the ability to change when I fall into thoughtless relational habits.