Reflections: Be Your Own Friend

Often times we look outside ourselves for advice. It’s easy to give the responsibility for our own improvement to other people. Meaning that we find someone who is popular or trending, who is a self-help guru and then follow whatever they say, without giving to much thought to what is being told or even asking ourselves if the advice given is what we need. But popularity can cloud logic and reason. By giving up personal responsibility, we don’t feel let down by ourselves if we don’t get better. We have someone to blame, to point the finger to and in doing so, feel better about ourselves.

But the simple fact that we desire someone to help us is a good sign. It’s an internal recognization that what we are at this moment isn’t what we wish to be. We know that we can be better. We know we can improve. This alone should give us a hint of where to look in order to get good self-help advice.

Just as the phrase suggests, self-help should start with the self.

In reality, if you were to detach for a moment and take a pen and paper and ask yourself Where do you want to be in ten years’ time? How will you get there? What are the things you are doing that you need to stop? What are the things you are not doing that you need to start? You will quickly find the paper filled with proper advice.

These simple self-reflective questions bring forth, in most cases, immediate answers. Because deep down we know what our bad habits are and what we need to stop practicing. We also know exactly what we need to do in order to grow and improve. You will never know anyone as well as you know yourself. You know your transgressions, insufficiencies, and inadequacies. With this knowledge, you also know what your next step should be which is simply to fix these transgressions, insufficiencies, and inadequacies.

The issue is that all of this is difficult. It’s always hard to take on responsibility. If you fail to grow it’s on you. The reason behind your failure will be either your lack of will or discipline. Which is why it’s so much easier to do what someone else says. But the changes enacted by our own will power and self-control are longer lasting because we attain those through struggle and hardship.

Although having external aid isn’t a bad thing either, especially if you are able to narrow down your flaws. If you know your specific issues and problems then it’s easier to navigate through the endless stream of bad advice that is spouted everywhere. External sources then can teach you how to break bad habits, how to build good habits, how to enact the right mindset, how to deepen personal relationships, how to become more confident and how to love and care for oneself.

But, first, you must take on the uncomfortable task of self-reflection and self-honesty. In this way, we also come to build trust within ourselves. We can take our own words and be confident that it’s what we need. In some ways, we begin to act as a friend to ourselves. Someone who is loyal, who wants the best for us and who isn’t afraid to call us out when we get off the right path. That’s true self-help, self-love, self-care.

 

 

Bruce Lee On How We Can Improve Our Life Through Action

Only actions give to life its strength, as only moderation gives it its charm

Many of us are dreamers, we sit around all-day imagining the different lives we could be living, thinking of what our lives could have been or the opportunities we let slip by because we were too passive. It’s because of this passivity that we find ourselves living a life that we don’t necessarily enjoy. Perhaps if we had acted, been more aggressive in our pursuits, our lives could have been enhanced.

Our lives are then weakened by our passivity and even our character suffers when we don’t act.

Action is a high road to self-confidence and esteem. Where it is open, all energies flow towards it. It comes readily to most people, and its rewards are tangible

Confidence often comes from us remember something we have accomplished. When we look back in our past and think of the scenarios that required us to go just beyond our perceived limitations. It is these scenarios that give us confidence and help build our self-esteem. Sometimes it’s as simple as reminding ourself that “I have done X before, so I can also do Y”. Yet, one can only accomplish anything through action. The more things we achieve and overcome the more our confidence builds. So, if we want to improve ourselves and our lives we must act, we must be aggressive.

However, we can sometimes be bogged down by the large picture when we think about acting. Perhaps you want to run a marathon but can’t even run a mile at the moment so you think it’s pointless to even try. But once again, Bruce Lee advocates acting instead of self pity.

Our grand business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand

That marathon will seem daunting if you keep thinking about the 26.2 miles. Instead, we must turn our attention to the action at hand, which is to build ourselves up to run one mile. After that point, we can turn towards two miles, then 3, 4 and so on.

At the end of the day, whatever it is that you want from life will not be handed to you. Nobody is going to present you your dreams on a silver platter, no three wishes or a magic wand. No amount of daydreaming or thinking will change your current situation.

All you have is yourself and your ability to act.

The end of man is action, and not thought, though it be of the noblest. In this world there are a lot of people who cannot touch the heart of the matter but talk merely intellectually (not emotionally) about how they would do this or do that; talk about it, but yet nothing is ever actualized or accomplished

We shouldn’t be one of those people who just talk about it. The easiest way to not be that person is to simply be active, be aggressive, be about action.

 

Book Reference: Bruce Lee Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee’s Wisdom for Daily Living

 

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