It’s not the answers you get from others, but the questions you ask yourself that will help you reduce your suffering. Give this statement some thought. Is it true? I believe so.
The answers from other people come from their take on the world, which is coloured by their concepts, perceptions, experiences and world view. It may be completely different from your experiences, concepts and so on. This is why I believe other people’s answers are less important than your own inner questioning.
For me the most important question I keep asking myself is, ‘What am I holding on to that I should be letting go of? Before we can properly answer this question, we need to firstly understand that everything changes, and that includes your relationships, lifestyle, hopes, dreams, thoughts, feelings and emotions.
So change is not only possible, it is a fact of life, but how many times have you heard people say that they have always been an angry (insert whatever negative emotion you want here) person? Instead of trying to change, they simply carry on the way things are. OK, I get it, it is easier to just carry on instead of making changes, because it feels safe, it is your comfort zone. But remember, just because something seemed to work in the past, doesn’t mean it is going to work in the present moment. Everything from your past does not belong in your present.
Now this type of self questioning can be painful, because we have to be totally honest with ourselves. We have to take a critical look at our inner most workings. We have to see ourselves, warts and all. Believe me it isn’t easy, but the rewards can be enourmous.
In my experience the best time to look at what is working in your life and what isn’t, is the end of each day. Sit quietly in the evening and look back over the day. See what situations worked for you and what didn’t. Remember the things that worked and make a mental note to act in that way again.
Now look at situations that didn’t work out quite the way you would have hoped. Look deeply into why they didn’t work out. Was it because of jealousy, pride, anger, desire, aversion or some other destructive emotion, thought or feeling. Remember, these thoughts, feelings and emotions stemmed from your mind, so don’t go blaming others. That is not going to help you.
Once you understand the root of the problem, you can start to mentally work through a more positive scenario. See in your mind’s eye what it would have been like if you weren’t driven by destructive thoughts, feelings and emotions. See what a more positive outcome looks like. This will help you act in a different way next time this situation arises.
This practice takes time, so don’t expect instant results, because you are going to be disappointed. However, I strongly believe that the relationship you have with yourself is the closest and most important relationship you will ever have.
One final point, you don’t have control over every little thing that happens to you, but you do have control over the way you react to it.