There are days when we wake up with a certain irritation that seems inexplicable. It happens to me. Not often, but it happens. I imagine it’s a common phenomenon, it’s part of our nature. It’s a state of mind that, if not tackled in time, can ruin the day. Any small mishap takes on the dimensions of a big problem. At these times, what to do?
The first step is to try to understand what is happening. It’s no use triggering the old well-known self-defense mechanism and blaming external factors. Bad weather, for example, is often a perennial candidate for the villain post. After all, with rain, cold and wind, you don’t feel like getting ready to go out. Other usual suspects are a crossed answer, the noise of the city, the delays of others in appointments or appointments. In short, anything over which we have no power to interfere.
It turns out that the source of our irritation is usually found in some compartment within us. If the bad news is that we are responsible for our temporary anger at the world, the good news is that the solution is within our grasp. To avoid unnecessary irritation, we need to start by practicing self-knowledge. I am not thinking of Socrates or the ancient Greeks. “Know thyself” is a classic aphorism, but it serves more as a starting point for reflection on the great questions of humanity. What I have in mind carries a more practical dimension of life.
I find it very useful, in those days bent by bad mood, to identify what took us seriously. The sources of stress can be many. A bad night’s sleep, inadequate physical activity, maybe too much alcohol, or something we ate that didn’t go down well. It can also be the memory of a difficult conversation, which messes with our head, or a tight sandal that bothers our foot. From one extreme to the other, self-knowledge is knowing what hurts us. It’s knowing what to put aside.
One way we can understand ourselves better is by paying attention to others. Not to judge anyone, but to have a kind of mirror of our soul. As Jung said, “everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves.”
Observing what hurts us, however, is only half of self-knowledge. The other half, equally important, is noticing what makes us feel good. As for me, I know that an invigorating walk through nature is beneficial, as is socializing with loved ones, the time needed to develop my recipes and, of course, a balanced diet. All this requires attention, focus on what is essential for each of us.
The greatest benefit is usually revealed in the details. It is not enough to eat healthy, it is necessary to know how to choose foods according to their properties. It is not enough to go for walks along any trail, it is necessary to choose a route that tells us something. It’s small discoveries like these that little by little open the doors to self-knowledge and allow us to make peace with ourselves.
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