The point of this piece is to provide you with some concrete steps I've used, and continue to use, to better myself as a person. Of course, nothing is ever a one size fits all, but for the overwhelming majority of you reading this (and those not reading it), if you apply these steps consistently in your lives, you will see immediate results. And, I'm providing you these steps without charging you for it which proves again that our objective is the advancement of the collective population, not our individual enrichment and/or advancement. If you have been paying attention, you know we have been doing things this way for a very long time now.
First, I'll start with why I feel I am qualified to speak on this subject. I am because I have done, and continue to do regular and consistent work on myself. I have as many issues as anyone, but the initial thing to understand is despite conventional capitalist logic, our shortcomings are not our fault. It becomes our blame if we know the issue, but refuse to do anything about it. And, when I say my faults, I'm talking about my issues of personal anxiety and turmoil which have plagued me my entire life. These issues are connected to my upbringing. My parents had so many social issues, brought on by this vicious capitalist system, that they had no time and patience to focus on me. The fact I grew up in a very unforgiving environment only contributed to the difficulty. Massive amounts of trauma resulted, but thank goodness I am a dialectical and historical materialist. What I mean is I'm thankful that I understand that every element in functional capacity in this world is in state of struggle over positive and negative variables. Nothing is 100% positive and nothing is 100% negative. Consequently, I recognize that my early trauma created a reality where I had to decide early on in my life that if I wanted to rise above the foolishness that described my life, I had to be the primary agent responsible for making that happen. I also had to study this backward system. The importance of this cannot be overstated in this analysis because this capitalist system trains us to believe that the problems in our lives happen because something is wrong with us, individually and collectively. My studies informed my consciousness that there was nothing wrong with me. The problem was and is this backward system. So, I decided early that I was going to believe in myself, no matter what. That I wasn't going to doubt my abilities to forge forward. Learning how to do this has been a decades long process. Its something that I struggle mightily with every second of every day, but what I have been able to accomplish, which helps me immensely, is that the moment doubt creeps in, I've trained myself to instantly and automatically challenge that doubt. Sometimes I don't feel like challenging it, but the process is so ingrained at this point that I can't avoid it. And, this has permitted me to become used to positive self talk. That positive self talk serves as a primary motivator whenever I feel down. Its not perfect, but it is the major reason I spend very little time depressed e.g. when I feel that way, it generally doesn't take me long to struggle through it. Of course, that's not said to dismiss those who have legitimate chronic depression. You need help to resolve your issue. What I'm saying is for me, my process has really helped me manage depression to the point where its not really an issue in my life.
My positive self talk has also built up a very strong element of confidence internally. In fact, I'll just say its going to be extremely difficult to find anyone who can match my sense of determination to achieve whatever I decide I need to achieve. And, much of that I credit to the process I'm describing to you right now. I should go back to before I started talking about the positive self talk to insert that the key ingredient to starting this process is you have to be willing to challenge yourself to get better. If you aren't willing to be uncomfortable. To question what and how you do things. None of what I'm talking to you about right now, or anything else for that matter, is ever going to make any difference. This is another reason I'm acknowledging the importance of dialectics in my life development. The fact no one really believed in me when I was young taught me that this life isn't just about me. I was forced, very brutally at times, to learn humility. Although the experience was extremely painful, I'm thankful for it today because my ability to understand that the world isn't an extension of my nose has permitted me to get comfortable being uncomfortable. To learn how to push myself on a regular basis. I do these things because I know I don't have all the answers. I know this because I've been told I don't my entire life, especially when I was young. So, there was never any sense of entitlement. I'm thankful for that because at the drop of a hat, I can change directions and push myself to move in whatever direction I need to move in. That's another crucial element to working on yourself. Once you are comfortable being ready to push yourself, and you make a personal contract with yourself that you will believe in you, the next steps are just all about practice.
Since most of our inability to handle life is due to our unresolved trauma, this is the part where you need to think about getting help e.g. counseling, support groups, etc. These resources are critical because trauma dominates us the way it does because we have no tools to identify, expose, and process it in healthy ways so that it will become manageable in healthy ways. We don't know how to do that because most of the reasons for our trauma are trapped deep inside of us. Our emotional coping skills pushed it down because a part of us unconsciously believes doing that is the best way to protect us from the trauma, but trauma never goes away. It just surfaces in other ways. Counseling, support groups, etc., help because those processes can help us learn how to bring that trauma to the surface so that we can deal with it. Its like hunting and the trauma is the prey. We have to bring it out in the open and attack it. It is important to stress that counseling is only going to be as good as your preparation process around it. In other words, you cannot go to a complete stranger, tell them your problems, which you probably are still attempting to understand yourself, and expect them to perform miracles for you. What's required is for you to spend painful and grinding minutes thinking about your trauma, where it came from, how you feel about it, and what you want to do about it, so you can develop a treatment plan that you are then responsible to facilitate your counselor/therapist through. The importance of this cannot be overstated.
Once you have your confidence tools in place and you have engaged the support mechanisms to help you address the trauma, you should have been able to develop some tools that are designed to help you. The tools are important because the trauma forces you to develop bad emotional habits. Like any bad habit, you have to practice doing things differently because your mind is trained to go directly to the bad habit because that's what you know how to do. I'll give you a brutally honest example of myself. Although I have used this process I'm describing to you for years now, I still struggle with several issues. Regardless of whatever I've accomplished in life, and I've accomplished a hellava lot, despite being what I know is a very decent and compassionate soul, no matter that I feel comfortable with how I look physically...I still struggle to believe I'm good enough when it comes to relationships. Its been a challenge my entire life and it will be a challenge for the rest of my life. That doesn't upset me because I'm committed to struggling to bring more and more health into how I manage that issue and over the years, I have done exactly that. Here's my process. I fret, worry, and stress about what I do in my relationship. I worry that she won't like me. Won't want me. Years ago, this anxiety would drive me to do really insane things. Today, those dysfunctional thoughts don't come nearly as much, or to the degree of intensity that they used to, but I still get them sometimes. The difference is due to how I've used the things I'm talking about here, I've put a process in place to disrupt the dysfunction's ability to dominate me. That doesn't mean its completely gone. Its not. Clearly its still there and the fact I have a woman in my life who is absolutely the woman of my dreams causes more dysfunction to surface inside of me, but I manage it. I have four or five conversations with myself every week. And, by conversations, I mean sitting down and working through all of the issues until they are resolved. She said this. Did she mean to dismiss me or is this my issue? Now, if you doing all of these steps correctly, you should have developed the capacity to be honest with yourself. This is a must. Once you have that, when you ask yourself if the issue is you, that honestly will come to play its role. Yes, its me. Its my fragile ego. Since these steps have taught me how to nurture myself (which no one else has done), instead of attacking myself for having a shortcoming, my process is to ask myself what it is that's causing me to feel fragile? Once I identify the issue, I find that there is always a logical reason for the issue to exist e.g. something similar happened, maybe even years ago, that justifies it. This is important because I've learned that by acknowledging the reasons for my dysfunctional feelings it becomes much easier for me to accept those reasons and doing that makes if automatic for me to give myself permission to forgive myself for not being perfect. This always serves to make me feel better. Now I am in a place where I can see much more clearly. She said this for this reason which was designed to do this, not attack me. Now, if there is substantial evidence that an attack is being made against you, this process will also help you learn how to not only identify that, but how to take healthy steps to address it with the person(s) in productive ways. Either way, its a win win.
Like anything in life, these practices require you taking time to use them. The more you use them, the better you will get at them. The better you get, the more they will help you. Its never going to be a perfect science, but you will get better. This is a traumatic society so the dysfunctions will always keep coming. None of what I'm saying here is designed to be an end all be all. Everyone is different. What I hope to do here is provide you with some inspiration that you can defeat the forces working to make your life miserable, but there are some final and most important steps that have to be in place along with everything I've mentioned here.
As I started out saying, the problems we have are initiated by this backward capitalist system. If you believe the capitalist logic that life is all about individual decisions, then you are wasting your time reading this because we don't believe any part of that backward logic. We believe your ability to make healthy decisions is shaped by many factors in your life. Trauma certainly prohibits all or our abilities to make healthy decisions and other factors like white supremacy, patriarchy, homophobia, whichever applies serve to institutionalize our oppression. So, since the forces that cause the dysfunction are institutional, its impossible to resolve this on a strictly individual basis. These problems have to be addressed on a collective basis. They cannot be resolved one at a time because the dysfunction just keeps being poured on us all the time. So, along with everything I've mentioned here, make sure to be a part of some social justice organization that recognizes this system's role in keeping us downtrodden. Make sure that organization has a political education process because as I mentioned in the beginning, understanding the role this system plays in our misfortune is critically important. Finally, make sure your organization has a praise/criticism process. This can actually be one of those things like the support groups because this process trains you to think critically about your thoughts and behaviors. A very important component in helping you learn to check yourself without perpetuating that something's wrong with you.
All of this is a lot to take in. This society has no interest in any of us being healthy human beings because capitalism is a profit over people system. So, as long as they can make money putting us on anti-depressant medications, sleep medications, etc., that's what they will keep doing. Me? I prefer to let them keep all of that. I'll keep working to make myself a strong soldier against everything they throw at me. Many of us need help. If you need counseling, seek it out if you have the resources. If you don't connect with people who can help you find it. There are plenty of qualified healthcare professionals who are willing to work with you, even if you cannot pay them, but you are going to have to do the work to find them. As always, I do what I do because I'm on a mission (that determination) to do whatever I humanly can with my life to attack this backward system so along with that means I always will offer my services, outside of this article, to help people understand how to put these practices in place to the best of my abilities. I won't do your work for you though. You have to do that. I will tell you that for many of you, doing that work will pay off in ways you can never imagine. Don't give up on yourselves and don't let this system win. Let's learn to support each other and keep fighting back.