“How to See Yourself Clearly: Skip the Introspection Mode
Too much self examination can kill you
“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel.” ― John Ruskin
Late one night a blind old man was about to go home after visiting a friend. “Please,” he said to his friend, “may I take your lantern with me?”
“Why carry a lantern?” — asked his friend. “You won’t see any better with it.”
“No, perhaps not.” — said the blind one. “But others will see me better, and not bump into me.”
So his friend gave the blind man a bamboo lantern — it had a big candle inside. Off went the blind man and, before he had gone too far, a traveler bumped into him.
The blind man was furious. “Why don’t you look out?” — he stormed. “Haven’t you seen the lantern?”
“Lantern? Well, the candle is OUT!”— replied the traveler.
Introspection is like a lantern — it might provide light, but it doesn’t guarantee seeing.
The blind man didn’t need any light. However, once he depended on it, he became careless and stopped being aware. The old man literally bumped into a stranger.
Being obsessed with self-improvement can have the same effect. The introspection mode — continually examining your thoughts and feelings — can get you stuck. Rather than becoming more self-aware, you lose touch with yourself (and others).
You might be thinking: “Gustavo, you always write about the importance of self-awareness. I don’t get it.” That’s precisely the point of this post, introspection is something different — rehashing thoughts doesn’t generate insights.
To see your true-self clearly you don’t need light, but to increase self-awareness. That’s the path for personal growth.