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Some are shackled, others are imprisoned, few are free. This is not animals in a zoo, it is us humans.

All we need right now is self-awareness and self-acceptance. This blog will describe a way to achieve these and why they are very important to a good quality of life. Think of Nelson Mandela in prison in South Africa. All his rights, choices and movement were taken away, yet he kept his mind free.

Caged tiger with appearance of freedom – resigned

Have you read Victor Frankl’s book Men’s Search for Meaning? An important point he makes is that suffering is relative. Saying “I shouldn’t complain. I’m much better off than Nelson Mandela was” or similar are more of the same self-entrapment. Self awareness and self-acceptance are the biggest keys to personal freedom.

It is important to our relationships. People who do not value themselves also do not value other people. Do you know the feeling when someone says they love you but do not treat you as valuable? That person is trapped inside themselves.

Yes, our tender childhood years, teenage and young adult experiences do leave us with dings, smudges and hidden or closed pathways. Imagine doing a maze and there are 4 ways to reach the centre. However, one person has ll 4 routes open when they find them, one has 3, one 2 and you have only one. By closing pathways off to yourself makes you life much more tricky.

The best outcomes arrive from doing what you think is best and letting what happens happen.

Think of reality as a car windscreen. When you start your car, it’s windscreen is covered in ice, birdsheet, oil dripping from the garage ceiling and dust and other debris. We try and scrape it off then giving it a squirt and turn on the wipers. Then it gets misty so we put on the air. These are all reactions and still when we start the car the next day, all the muck is back. Enough of quick fixes, what about prevention? By placing a cover over the windscreen when the car is not in use would greatly reduce these obstacles to seeing the road ahead of us.

Think of that car cover as self-acceptance and self-awareness. An analogy to picture it is, when the car is parked, we remember the drip of oil from the ceiling, the cold weather and the seagull that gets in and poos on the windscreen. No amount of damage from the past can beat our attitude in the present.

If you think of the clean windscreen that lets you see the road ahead of you as reality and the mucky, frozen and smudged windscreen as your filter, through which you view the world until something from the outside (scraper, water or cloth) improves your vision for you, this shows how reality is easier to navigate than distortion. We allow the windscreen to be covered by not looking after it, by putting a cover over the windscreen at night.

What you see depends on what you are looking for.

Another big obstacle we face, as well as our circumstances, genetics and experiences, which distort our view of the world are input from others. This is where self-acceptance and self-awareness greatly protect us from other people’s projection. Self-awareness and self-acceptance protect us just from other people’s distortions and does not stop us from connecting with the humanity.

They say “love is knowing someone else as well as we know ourselves”. This is because we know ourselves best, no matter what a close relative might tell you. They are projecting. This is why people could learn to stop dishing out unsolicited advice. It is literally nagging. Unsolicited advice is nagging. That is it: Nagging. So, yes, men nag just as much as women.

Where Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly provides a clear pathway to connecting with others’ humanity here, is because we need to express ourselves and say what we want to say and what we genuinely think.

Open communication and vulnerability is the best defence against feeling alone – when feeling isolated, best to ask people you trust to be truthful if they relate to your feelings.

Not many people dare do that. They keep parts of themselves hidden and say things to either be well thought of or, in times of self-sabotage, to be negatively thought of if it has the desired outcome. These outcomes are all distorted as we cannot predict outcomes at all.

OK, when you know someone very well, you MIGHT learn how they are likely to react. In fact, we all do this to an extent with people around us. We might think we know how they will respond and weaponise our message to try and control the reaction we don’t want. Think how you behave when you are sure someone is going to say “No”?

Trying to control other people damages our relationship with them. The point of following this train of thought is to achieve self-actualisation, which is at the top of the Maslo Triangle. Nothing can topple self-actualisation. You can lose money, power, status and wealth but you cannot lose self-actualisation.

I’ve already expressed how reality can be more pleasant than any distorted view of the world. We need to look at how to accept ourselves and embrace our own humanity. This is vital to becoming a truthful, honest and fair person. This, in my mind, is a perfect person, not someone free of negative behaviours. Just someone who is aware and accepts those negative traits.

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