The key to painless growth is humility, which amounts to merely dropping pridefulness and pretense and accepting fallibility as a normal human characteristic of self and others. Lower mind sees relationships as competitive; higher mind sees them as cooperative. Lower mind gets involved with others; higher mind becomes aligned with others. The simple words “I’m sorry” put out most fires painlessly. To win in life means to give up the obsession of ‘who’s at fault’. Graciousness is far more powerful than belligerence. It is better to succeed than to ‘win’.
Dr. David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D.,
Transcending the Levels of Consciousness
One truly odd thing about most of us is that we expect ourselves to know what we can’t possibly know. We expect ourselves to be expert at love regardless of how many relationships we may or may not have had. We expect ourselves to begin new jobs, even new careers, without making mistakes, in spite of the fact that we learn far more from our failures than from our successes. Many of us find ourselves continually putting unrealistic expectations on ourselves, demanding that we be perfect, and punishing ourselves when we are not. This makes for an uncomfortable and unhappy journey through life.
When we allow ourselves the gift of humility, we permit ourselves to not know. We permit ourselves to be open to learning, to be open to seeing things in a different light, from a broader perspective. And we permit ourselves the gift of seeing ourselves in a truer light. If I am expecting myself to be always perfect, any self-examination I practice will put me on the defensive. I will rationalize my bad behaviors. If I embrace humility and accept that I will never be perfect, I will be able to see myself clearly, noticing what I’m doing that’s working and what’s not working; noticing my behaviors that I respect, and maybe seeing some behaviors that I do not respect. Seeing these qualities within myself clearly, I might be able to choose the one over the other. The more I choose respectable actions, the more self-respect I will find, and the easier it will become to continue to choose in this same direction.
Dr. Hawkins suggests noting for ourselves the various ‘attitudes’ we have been choosing or not choosing:
As a simple exercise, merely surveying the contrasting lists [of attitudes] has a freeing effect as it brings various options to awareness that have been overlooked.
Here is one of the lists included in the book referenced above:
Table 3: Function of Mind–Attitudes
Lower Mind–Higher Mind
GuardedFriendly — charitable
Cynical Optimistic — hopeful
Suspicious — Trusting
Selfish — Considerate
Stingy — Generous
Calculating — Planning
Devious — Forthright
Quixotic — Stable
Fussy, choosey — Easy to please
Short of money — Adequate for needs
Insists — Requests
Excess — Balance
Rude Polite — gracious
Extremes — Compromising
Rush, hurry — ‘Keep moving’
Avarice — Money isn’t everything
Lust — Desire
Ungrateful — Appreciative
Downgrades — Compliments
Condemn — Disapprove
Sexist — Humanist
Stultified — Progressive
Focused on self — Concern for others & the world
Opportunistic — Fits life plan
Complacent Self — improvement
Vulgar, gross — Restrained, subtle
PrevaricateHonest — truthful
Envy Appreciation — respect
Grim, heavy — Sense of humor, lighthearted
Today I will make an honest self-appraisal, noting all the areas where my attitude is supportive of life and oneness with others, and all the areas where I have room for improvement; and regardless of the balance or imbalance between the two, I will thank myself for having the humility and the courage even to take a look; and I will insist on giving myself permission and encouragement to grow.