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The School of Life

Self-Knowledge

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In Ancient Greece, when the philosopher Socrates was asked to sum up what all philosophical commandments could be reduced to, he replied: ‘Know yourself’. Self-knowledge matters so much because it is only on the basis of an accurate sense of who we are that we can make reliable decisions — particularly around love and work. This book takes us on a journey into our deepest, most elusive selves and arms us with a set of tools to understand our characters properly. We come away with a newly clarified sense of who we are, what we need to watch out for when making decisions, and what our priorities and potential might be.

Exercise:
Interpreting Anxiety
Write down what you are anxious about; find at least eight things. Each entry should only be a single word (or just a few words) at this point. Don’t worry if some of the anxieties look either incredibly trivial or tragi-comically large. If you’re having trouble, search for things that may be anxiety-inducing under the following categories:
— Work

— Relationships

— Children/Parents

— Health

— Money

— Things I have to do
Feel the curious release that can come from just making a list of these items.
Huge relief can now come from what we call ‘unpacking’ an anxiety. There are two kinds of unpacking we might do around any given anxiety.

1. Practical unpacking
Walk yourself through the practical challenge. Ask the following questions:
— What steps do you need to take?
— What do others need to do?
— What needs to happen when?
It is very useful to have a calm and sympathetic part of yourself (or a friend) listening in on the detailed description of what needs to be done to address an issue. It is no longer merely an anxiety; it is a set of steps. They might not all be easy, but at least you are clearer about what they are.

2. Emotional unpacking
Talk yourself through an emotional challenge or set of doubts. Describe the feeling in more detail. What do you feel it points to? Imagine trying to piece it together for a very considerate friend.
The aim here isn’t to solve all anxieties; it’s to start to get to know them and to experience the relief that comes from this.
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47 páginas impresas
Publicación original
2020

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    Trust
    When it comes to Emotional Identity, trust concerns our instinctive feelings about how safe or dangerous we, other people and the wider world are likely to be. We can have greater or lesser degrees of trust in our capacity to survive challenges. Theoretically we know that a speech, a performance review, a romantic rejection or a bout of financial trouble won’t necessarily be life-threatening, but internally they may feel like an enormous danger.
    A degree of stress is often called for, but its overall level is very individual. How close are we, at any time, to catastrophe? Around others, how much do we suspect that people are, at heart, out to get us? Are strangers generally nice or likely to be quite nasty? Do we generally imagine new acquaintances will like us or wound us? How fragile are others? If we are a touch assertive, will others collapse and break, or remain more or less fine?
    Around love, degrees of trust determine our anxiety about the future with our partner. How tightly do we need to cling to them? If they go off us for a bit, will they return? How much do we imagine we would suffer if they don’t come back? How ‘controlling’ do we need to be? Does such controlling behaviour stem from a basic lack of trust in the other person? How much of a risk can we take? Can we approach an interesting-looking stranger? Can we make the first move around a kiss or sex?
    At work, how resilient are we? Failure isn’t appealing, but does one see the world as a forgiving place in which it is normal to get second and third chances? Do we feel the world is big enough, and reasonable enough, for us to have a legitimate shot at doing our own thing, or must we be subservient, meek serfs
    Oksana Radzikhovskacompartió una citahace 2 meses
    Communication
    Our Emotional Identity is further brought into focus by looking at our communicative styles. Can we put our disappointments into words that, more or less, enable others to see our point? Or do we internalise pain, act it out symbolically or discharge it onto innocents with counterproductive rage?
    When other people upset us, do we feel it is OK to communicate our internal state? Do we feel we have the right to let others understand us? Are we sulkers? In other words, when the desired response isn’t forthcoming do we quickly give up and go in for aggressive silence? Or can we have a plausible second go: can we take seriously the thought that the other person isn’t necessarily evil or stupid? Can we be calm enough to teach? To what degree can we admit that it is legitimate for others not to understand us, and additionally feel that there is a plausible, convincing journey we can take them on towards a proper appreciation of our point of view

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