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Three Questions by Tim Siewert
There is an epidemic happening today. It has affected many people and they do not even know it. It is the cause of many of the problems that exist in our society today. It is so rampant today that the extent to which it has spread is appalling. The epidemic to which I am referring to is that of ignorance.
Many people are ignorant of many things today. They are ignorant of history. They are ignorant of God. They are ignorant of current events and how these events affect their daily lives. But the ignorance that many people are suffering from that I would like to address here is the issue of ignorance of self.
I am sure that there are some that may read this and say, “What do you know about other people and whether or not they know themselves?” I have never claimed to have all of the answers to life’s questions. But I have learned a few things during my time on this rock. One of the things that I have learned is the ability to distinguish whether or not a person is comfortable with whom they are as a person. A person has to know who they are, what they are all about, and what they want out of life to be comfortable with themselves. There are a number of “tells” that enable one to determine this. I am not going to go into that right now but what I do want to do is share how I think someone can learn some things about themselves.
A number of years ago after considerable reflection I came up with three questions. These questions are intended to be a basic self help program so that a person can learn about themselves. I know that it is impossible for a person to be comfortable with other people when they are not comfortable with whom they are as a person. It also follows that a person can not have a fulfilling relationship with someone else if they are not comfortable with whom they are, and if they do not know themselves and what they want. I believe that this is one of the two real reasons for all of the dysfunctional relationships and the high rate of divorce today in our society; the other reason being the lack of God in people’s lives.
The first question someone should consider is, “What is the single most important thing to me?” This is to say, “What is the one thing that means more to me than any other thing in my life?” Answering this question will enable a person to understand what truly matters in his/her life. It will also enable a person to better understand what direction his/her life is taking and whether or not it is the direction in which they want to go.
The next question someone should ask themselves is, “What is my motivation?” In other words, “Why do I get out of bed in the morning?” “Why do I do the things that I do?” This may be harder than what it initially seems. Yes, many of us get out of bed because we have to go to a job. We have a job because we are driven to support ourselves and in order to do that most of us have a job to earn money to be able to buy goods and services that we need to support ourselves. I have learned that a person has self respect when they are independent. Yet, this is not necessarily a motivation although it can be. Because we could just as easily be a bum and eat out of dumpsters located behind fast-food restaurants and sleep under bridges or abandoned buildings. A person’s motivation may just be self-esteem.
The last question is, “What is your passion?” I believe that if a person is not passionate about something then they really aren’t alive. In my mind a person’s passion is something that they truly enjoy doing solely for the pleasure of the activity. A man asked me once if I would be a carpenter if I did not get paid for it. My response to that question was only if I was building something for myself; not to say that occasionally I have worked with a friend or neighbor without remuneration, but there was always a mutually beneficial agreement. Clearly, carpentry is not my passion in life even though I have worked as a carpenter for most of my adult life. Shooting is my passion.
A great deal of introspection is required to know yourself. These three questions are merely a starting point; and the answers may change over the years depending on circumstances. Regardless, honesty with one’s self is necessary. Be honest whether or not what you determine is agreeable or distasteful. And if what you learn is not to your liking, you do have the ability to change.
I have always been a soloist. When I was a young boy, I had no siblings. Consequently, I was the recipient of a considerable amount of bullying. I decided to change that. I learned how to box, studied Judo and other martial arts forms, and worked out at the gym with weights. Then I joined the Marines. These activities gave me self-confidence; the lack of which I believe was the cause of the bullying. The bullying stopped. A person does have the ability to change one’s circumstances. Identifying the problem is the first step in problem solving. All one has to do is be able to identify what needs to be changed; and that starts with understanding yourself.
Many people today do not really understand why they do what they do. This is the result of not knowing yourself. I own a book. This particular book was published in 1947 and titled “The Mature Mind”. It was originally the Doctoral thesis of the author. The whole premise of the book: many people are suffering from “arrested emotional development”. A person may be of chronological adult age (21 years of age) or more but emotionally that person may be “stuck” somewhere in their childhood. This could be due to one or more of a number of reasons; which were traumatic for the person to experience as a child; hence the arrested emotional state. Only when a person who has arrested development identifies this dilemma and identifies the reasons of causation, then can that person take steps to begin to fix the problem. “Arrested emotional development” can be another root cause of some dysfunctional relationships.
Typically some of the causes of arrested development are: loss of a parent; parents divorcing; parental abuse. A stable home life is essential for a child’s emotional development. When the child’s home life is stable, they feel safe and happy. When a stable home life is not present for the child, most of the time the child tends to internalize and subconsciously feels that they are the cause. Then, the child looks for ways to be happy which they equate with feeling safe. They equate certain activities with these feelings. Substance use and abuse usually gives a false sense of euphoria and a person with arrested development equates this activity with other activities that generate happy feelings.
Substance use is a common identifier of arrested development. Substance use and abuse; whether it be alcohol, drugs, or something else; is a coping mechanism. There are other coping mechanisms such as TV and video games, tobacco use, and even work and recreational activities. The coping mechanism is used to escape dealing with the problems of the arrested development. If a person wants to discontinue substance abuse, then first the causes of the arrested development must be identified and addressed. To stop the substance abuse without identifying and addressing the causation first will only create a need for an alternative coping mechanism and ultimately lead to frustration and despair. If you are wrestling with substance use or have in the past, then asking yourself the three questions and beginning to understand yourself will help to identify the root problems that you face. Only then can you get on with your life. Remember: this life is nothing more than a preparatory phase of the life to come.
When it comes to substance use and abuse: been there, done that, lost the T-shirt.
To have The Father and His Dear Son in your life is truly a liberating feeling. I know beyond any doubt that I will spend eternity with Him; free of the cares of this world; free of the inhumanity, injustice, and cruelty. This is the supreme knowledge. If you do not have Him in your life, all that is needed is to ask. Asking The Father for guidance in dealing with your struggles is the best place to start. But first you must repent, have genuine remorse for your transgressions, and ask The Father for forgiveness in The Name of The Lord Jesus.
Then your name will be in the Book of Life for all eternity.
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