Self-Development questions 2

11 Jan
  1. Why do I find it so easy to spot other people’s faults but not my own?

Both Sigmund and his granddaughter Anna Freud wrote about the phenomenon of ‘projection’, where unpleasant attributes that the ‘ego’ or conscious self rejects because they are socially or otherwise undesirable, are super-imposed on others. The projected attributes could also be personal fears, such as unpopularity, homosexuality, physical unattractiveness, rudeness, stupidity…Often this perceived flaw is present in the object of projection to a degree, but becomes hugely exaggerated to the projector. This tends to be a behaviour of less developed personalities, but everyone can be inclined toward it in times of stress or perhaps due to herding. For example, a celebrity or politician could become the focus for repressed emotions which are publicly condemned in them. Or a nationality or minority group could be targeted.




“You painted a naked woman because you enjoyed looking at her, put a mirror in her hand and you called the painting “Vanity,” thus morally condemning the woman whose nakedness you had depicted for you own pleasure.”

― John Berger, Ways of Seeing

“What fabrications they are, mothers. Scarecrows, wax dolls for us to stick pins into, crude diagrams. We deny them an existence of their own, we make them up to suit ourselves — our own hungers, our own wishes, our own deficiencies.” ― Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin


“Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate in their object-relations.”

  • Sigmund Freud



“When two things occur successively we call them cause and effect if we believe one event made the other one happen. If we think one event is the response to the other, we call it a reaction. If we feel that the two incidents are not related, we call it a mere coincidence. If we think someone deserved what happened, we call it retribution or reward, depending on whether the event was negative or positive for the recipient. If we cannot find a reason for the two events’ occurring simultaneously or in close proximity, we call it an accident. Therefore, how we explain coincidences depends on how we see the world. Is everything connected, so that events create resonances like ripples across a net? Or do things merely co-occur and we give meaning to these co-occurrences based on our belief system? Lieh-tzu’s answer: It’s all in how you think.”

― Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living



“The public is not to see where power lies, how it shapes policy, and for what ends. Rather, people are to hate and fear one another.”

  • Noam Chomsky






#famous quotes




2. How can I better rationalize my emotional responses to unpleasant situations?

Rationalization is one of many defence mechanisms people use to deflect an unwanted emotional response. They might do it to appease their conscience, for example to justify socially undesirable behaviour such as internet trolling, shoplifting or bullying. Even outwardly responsible citizens can do this on a minor scale, and psychologist Dan Ariely has done considerable research into what he calls the ‘self-fudge’ effect, and how much people think they can get away with before their social conscience kicks in. He observed that they were reluctant to steal actual money when the opportunity was presented, but objects one step removed from money – stationery, cans of coke – presented less of a moral dilemma. Rationalization can be used to justify self-destructive behaviour, or explain an action which had unintended negative consequences. We need to be careful not to over-rationalise to the extent we have shielded ourselves completely from our pesky conscience; or prevent ourselves from feeling any emotional pain, which can be necessary and cathartic.




“People only see what they are prepared to see.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The act of gaining true insights from self – reflection is a futile action for most … as there are easy way out things like self justification, rationalization, delusions and denial which keeps us away from our true self, the inner core and thus we live contented”

  • Anubhav Mishra


“Dishonesty is all about the small acts we can take and then think, ‘No, this not real cheating.’ So if you think that the main mechanism is rationalization, then what you come up with, and that’s what we find, is that we’re basically trying to balance feeling good about ourselves.”        – Dan Ariely


  • “Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces.”
  • Sigmund Freud



“Rationalization is foreplay with one’s conscience.”         –  Doug Cooper


“The endless, agonizing recycling of what might have been, soon followed by a litany of rationalizations and self-deceptions as you struggle to reconcile the void between the person you want to be and the person you fear you are..”        –  Jon Krakauer





#famous quotes




3. ‘When my boss shouts me down, why do I kick the proverbial dog?’

Well fairly self-evidently, it’s because I probably shouldn’t shout back at my boss if I want to keep my job. But bottling up this emotion means it is likely to burst out in some other situation, perhaps against a colleague who chooses the next moment to ask a huge favour. Or against your spouse that evening who asks you, “whatever happened to that promotion?” It is not an emotionally mature reaction, but a primitive impulse that probably derives from a sense of powerlessness; and even if you cannot talk about the bad treatment you have received, it makes more sense to seek comfort or an alliance with another person who can help you deal with that situation. This defence mechanism is termed ‘displacement’.





“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

“All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.” ― John Steinbeck

“To live is to war with trolls.” ― Henrik Ibsen

“Never have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.” ― Mark Twain

“The opponent strikes you on your cheek, and you strike him on the heart by your amazing spiritual audacity in turning the other cheek. You wrest the offensive from him by refusing to take his weapons, by keeping your own, and by striking him in his conscience from a higher level. He hits you physically, and you hit him spiritually.” ― E. Stanley Jones, ‘Gandhi: Portrayal of a Friend





#famous quotes




4. How to make my biggest weakness a super-strength?

We all have behavioural patterns which can be detrimental and which repeat themselves. One person, for example, might have difficulty being on time; another might be obsessively organized in their work and relationships, and have difficulty being spontaneous and reacting to change. Try to be more aware of repeat patterns in your behaviour and consider if they may be responsible for work or relationship problems. Do you, for example, over-empathise with your co-workers and have a need to solve their problems, such that it becomes a distraction from your tasks? Do you, on the other hand, have trouble trusting your colleagues because you view them as competition, and have issues working collaboratively? With time and a concerted effort, once identified you can focus on altering these self-destructive traits, which are holding you back in the life and work arena. We cannot guarantee they will become your biggest strength, but if you make a real improvement people will notice the difference and respond positively.






“Don’t waste a good mistake. Learn from it.”

  • Robert Kiyosaki


“Winners Evaluate Themselves In A Positive Manner And Look For Their Strengths As They Work To Overcome Weaknesses.”

― Zig Ziglar, in ‘Great Quotes from Zig Ziglar: 250 Inspiring Quotes from the Master Motivator and Friends’

“A person’s strength was always his weakness, and vice versa.”

― Viet Thanh Nguyen, ‘The Sympathizer’

“Clearing up your weaknesses is one of the primary reasons we’re here.”

― Robin Sharma, (Canadian writer and leadership consultant)



“More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying them.”

  • Harold J. Smith





#famous quotes





5. Are all my emotional responses necessary, or can I control them?

Intellectualization is one of the more mature coping or defence mechanisms, and involves deflecting an unwanted emotional response by thinking instead about the real, factual consequences of that which might cause you to feel sad or angry. Of you could reach intellectually for a solution to the situation. Say there is a delay in paying your invoice, or your annual bonus is in question. You may be beset by feelings of anxiety, frustration, anger at the party perceived to be responsible. None of these are helpful. The former will make you appear powerless; the latter will make you appear rude. Moderate your emotions and determinedly seek a solution. Or say you are sore from a recent break-up. You are wracked by pain, loss, perhaps feelings of low self-worth. But none of these are inevitable. Accept the loss, and count all the ways in which your life will be enhanced and you will be better off without the other person in it. Eventually the reasons for splitting up will crowd out the lingering pain of that person’s absence.





“If you can’t control your emotions, then your emotions will control you.”

  • Anurag Prakash Ray


“Inner peace will prevail in your life if you listen to inner voice and let not others control your emotions.”

  • Dr Anil Kumar Sinha


“While others may break your heart, they cannot make you live in misery. You control your emotions and, while the hurt can be overwhelming, you have the ability to move on and live to love another day.”

  • Frederick Babb 


    • “Comfort in expressing your emotions will allow you to share the best of yourself with others, but not being able to control your emotions will reveal your worst.”
  • Bryant McGill (Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, speaker, and activist in the fields of human potential and human rights)



    “The degree of one’s emotions varies inversely with one’s knowledge of the facts.”

  • Bertrand Russell, (English Logician and Philosopher 1872-1970)






#famous quotes




6. Why do I often take adverse situations so personally?

We return to a concept we have visited before; that of the ‘universal attribution theory’, our tendency as humans to stress the importance of human action in explaining causation. When something doesn’t go your way, or a personal disaster befalls you, the instinctive reaction will often be to say either “It’s their fault,” “It’s my fault”, or “They’re out to get me.” Whether you blame your own mistake or the mistakes – or deliberate action – of other people, reflects and reinforces your personal narrative as a winner, loser, or victim. But… it’s not that simple. There are a huge number of situational factors leading to the outcome, many of which will be beyond your control. Be they political, economic, social, psychological…. so instead of trying to work out who to point the finger at, why don’t you use your energy to find a solution and try and learn how to prevent the situation recurring?




When life places a wall in our path we have two choices… we can beat our head against it, or we can figure out a way to get around it.” (Randi G Fine)

“Rock bottom is good solid ground, and a dead end street is just a place to turn around.” (Buddy Buie, Southern Rock singer-songwriter)

“Strength doesn’t just come from winning. Your struggles develop your strength. Where you go through hardships and decide not to surrender… that is strength.”

  • Ghandi


“Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.”

  • Zig Ziglar (American salesman and motivational speaker)


“Any man can win when things go his way. It’s the man who overcomes adversity that is the true champion.”

  • Jock Ewing (character in TV series ‘Dallas’)





#famous quotes






7. Can I make my own good luck?

Particularly thanks to the proliferation of social media, there is a widespread perception that you can influence your life and story by being unerringly upbeat and full of confidence. And to an extent it is true that people respond positively to positive energy; not only that, but it will help you to make beneficial and strategically sound decisions. Careful though not to let boasting about your achievements overshadow the achievements themselves. After each success you should be planning how to take it to the next stage, not just plastering your success across all social media channels. Can the general perception that you are successful become self-fulfilling? Or does it just feed your ego and stop you thinking clearly?





“Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson


“Diligence is the mother of good luck.”

    • Benjamin Franklin 
  • “Inspiration is one thing and you can’t control it, but hard work is what keeps the ship moving. Good luck means, work hard. Keep up the good work.”


  • Kevin Eubanks

“Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure.”

  • Earl Wilson 
  • “Too often, we miss out on opportunities in this life because we were too busy waiting for them to fall into our lap that we missed them tapping on our shoulder.” ― Daniel Willey







#famous quotes





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