Brain-Graphic-300-bylineNo matter what a brainiac you are, getting along with other people is a fundamental success factor of the 21st Century,  A key question that drives your career and your life is, “How well do you get along with others?”

Bu even a more fundamental question than that is, “How well do you get along with yourself?”

If I want to hire you, date you, marry you, or hang out with you, I need to know what your personal relationship with yourself is. .

Why?

If have war going on in your head, only a tiny percent of your mindspace actually goes to getting along with other people and moving your life forward.  Virtually every mind has some sort of conflict.  According to a recent survey, fully ninety percent of people carry some serious regret about everything from all the things they could have done and didn’t to what they had for dinner last night.something in the past.

Our brains process 24/7 fears of failure, fears of success, worries about health, family, friends and loved ones, minor and major obsessions.   It’s amazing we still have enough bandwidth left to do useful things.

Here are a few basic ways to get on better terms with yourself:

1.  You Have to Disrupt Your Habitual Patterns of ThoughtTo get on better terms with yourself, you need to start a new conversations with yourself.

You wake up in the morning telling yourself,  “Today I’m going to focus on what I need to do today.”  This is a very adult, logical conversation.  That’s Your Executive Function talking, aka, your frontal cortex , the part of you you’re most likely to like.

Then from out of the blue!   You experience an assault of thoughts that roll into your mind like a gale force hurricane that has just arrived to shore.  Regrets roll in, “If I had majored in computer science, I wouldn’t have this job instability that scares me.”  Fears assault, “I don’t have enough money saved.  What if I got sick?”  Negative past experiences appear, “I just laid down and let Joe roll over me.  Being a wuss has really held me back.”

All those thoughts come from below our conscious mind, which is frustrating, fascinating, intuitive. This below conscious mind has great power, and more often than not, chooses our thoughts, whether we like them or not.  These thoughts are cautionary, warn us of danger, urge us to use our opportunities better.

A basic fact is the below conscious mind most often overreacts, blows things out of proportion, and doesn’t let go.  Don’t get mad at your below conscious mind.  Your worst thoughts may come from it, but your best ideas and intuitions also do too.

2.  Realize You’re Not the Same Person You Were Back in the Day–or Even Yesterday  You wouldn’t hold a person responsible who broke Mom’s favorite vase at 3 years old, would you?  Yet you blame yourself for ridiculous things that you would handle today quite differently.  You don’t just grow and mature as a child.  You’re learning all the time.  A few years ago, when someone was angry at me I didn’t know what to say.  So in that period of my life I said stupid things.

Would I handle things in the way now I would have 5 years ago?  No, I’ve been growing up since I was three years old, and also in the last few years.  I know more now and handle things in much better ways.

So this is another way to think about what I did in the past.  I have the same identify, but in skills and knowledge, I’m not the same person I was back in the day.  I learn from what happened in the past, but there is no reason to feel guilty if I’ve moved on with new skills and a different mindset.  Don’t take the blame for what happened in the past.  It sounds irresponsible if you were raised in a hyper-religious setting, but it’s the only course of action to take.

3.  Become Your Own Cheerleader.  The norm in Western culture is to see blame myself rather than accept forgiveness.  Yet all of our great religious teachers have taught us of grace,enlightenment, and salvation.  In scientific terms, evolution is an ongoing process, and I’m evolving everyday.

So it’s OK for me to be on good terms with myself, to really like myself.  When I’m on good terms with myself, I don’t have to be on an ego trip.  I have confidence that if I met me for the first time, I would be one of the most fascinating people I know.  Out of the abundance I have, I can give to others.  I can celebrate me!  I can be my best cheerleader.