Monday Mirror #4: Personal Reflections that Increase Self-Awareness

“Anything you can’t say thank you for is baggage.

-Joe Demartini

For today’s installment of Monday Mirror: Personal Reflections that Increase Self-Awareness, I want us to bring to light some of the residual energy and emotion that most of us suppress in an effort to protect ourselves from future hurt or trauma.

In a previous post, I talked about the root of the word emotion. Rather than, merely being a feeling, our emotions are energy IN motion.

I also talked about the scientific law that says energy cannot be destroyed; it can only change form.

In an effort to be more conscious human beings that can successfully break through our past programming and live a life of emotional freedom, being self-aware of the toxic emotions and emotional baggage we carry is vital to lifestyle optimization.

Whether we like it, or choose to acknowledge it, or not… “If we don’t heal from what hurt us, we will bleed on those who didn’t wound us.”

Our worldview and mental posture towards these matters isn’t trivial or merely semantic, because our actions are daisy-chained to our beliefs. We might not always act in accord with what we believe, but it’s ultimately our intern standards that drive most of what we do or don’t do.

The story we tell ourselves and continue to reaffirm about the past is the rubric by which we see and interact with the world now. We must be aware and work towards not being a slave or a victim of our past and use our previous experiences as a means to practice empathy and compassion towards others.

Refuse to Be a Victim of your History

To put it as plain as I can, “There’s a reason why the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror.”

The rearview mirror (past) is a much smaller pain of glass because our focus should only be there briefly while the majority of our focus is what’s in front of us. What would happen if we focused on the rearview mirror more than the windshield? Obviously, it wouldn’t be long before we crashed.

We only focus on the past long enough to remember from where we came so that we can associate with others, provide support, and not repeat the mistakes of the past. Outside of that, most of our energy is stored in experiencing the present moment and creating a more compelling/fulfilling future for ourselves and our loved-ones.


“There’s no event that doesn’t have an upside.”

-Joe Demartini

As hard as it may be to see, each and every experience, good or bad, has positive outcomes and negative outcomes. There’s upsides and downsides to everything in life; and learning to process that information and make informed decisions is wisdom.

As an Army combat veteran, it could be extremely challenging to see an upside to war, but they do exist. While I got banged up a bit and now have PTSD, I also experienced humanity at a level I would never have been able to if I never deployed. In being able to experience humanity at that level, I’m now a more understanding, empathetic, and compassionate soul.

Take any negative, tragic, or traumatic event you’ve experienced in your life and write down all the upsides associated with that/those events and experiences. Write as many as you possible can. Be as detailed as you possibly can. Write until you can’t write any more.

Every time you recognize yourself slipping into a pattern or negative feedback loop associated with a past event, read all the upsides associated with that event. If you do this long enough, you will rewire/condition youself to focus on the positive benefits more than the residual bitterness, anger, fear, and resentment. This is how you break free!

Rewiring Regret and Resentment: How Did This Serve Me?

On the back-side of looking for the upside associated with every experience we have is asking ourselves a question that opens up the portion of our brain that is responsible for creative thinking.

Anytime we ask ourselves how did this serve me, our brain shifts to a creative gear that is more apt to solve problems and generate solutions.

I remember when I experienced my first psychotic break in 2005. While I was going through it, it seemed like a living hell with no net-gains to speak of. Now that its been almost 20 years since I experienced it, I’ve been able to completely rewire how I look at that situation and interpret it.

I see that event as a pivital moment when I began to learn that it’s possible to lose your mind and build/find a new one.

I no longer have a “why me?” outlook that serves as a breeding ground for shame, regret, bitterness, and resentment about my psychotic break.

How did I get to where I am now?

By focusing on the upsides that now better equip and empower me to know how others who struggle with mental illness feel and minister to them in ways that others who haven’t been through what I have can’t, my mental illness is no longer a liability, but an asset.

Start asking yourself, how has, or how is this serving me?

Self Authoring: Not Why, But What If?

Now that we’ve got a decent list of all the upsides associated with what are on the surface negative/traumatic experiences, and we’re exploring how these things are serving us, let’s examine the 3rd question that empowers us to think creatively about our past experiences.

“Life is made up of the sum total of the stories we tell ourselves. If we don’t like our lives, we need to tell ourselves better stories.”

-Daniel Fortune

This is what I like to call Self-Authoring. Self-authoring is a creative process where we harness the power of story to generate creative solutions to our problems and “write-in” a more compelling/self-serving version of ourselves and the future.

One of the most empowering questions we can ask ourselves or focus on is “What if?”

What if I don’t have to feel this way? What if I’ve been through all of these experiences so I can help others on their journey? What if I can be the chain-breaker in my family and we don’t have to repeat the mistakes of the past?

When we stop reinforcing victim programming (Why me?) with the creative energy of What If… magic begins to happen. We now take on the role of the creative director of our stories. We’re no longer chained to our past, but active in writing a more compelling future.

In my personal experience, rather than asking why am I bipolar, I ask, what if I was allowed to be bipolar so I can __________?

I no longer ask, why did I have to be the one who got PTSD? I now ask, what if my PTSD is a hidden superpower that allows me associate with others in need?

Let me know in the comments below what self-authoring techniques you have/are using to rewrite the past and create a more compelling future.

If you enjoy this kind of content and would like to see more of it, make sure you subscribe/follow so you can receive new content directly to your inbox as soon as it’s published.

I’d love to hear from you! If you have questions, would just like to say hi, or have a good joke to share with me, reach out to me at When time permits, I respond to each email I receive.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox

One response to “Monday Mirror #4: Personal Reflections that Increase Self-Awareness”

  1. […] Monday Mirror #4: Personal Reflections that Increase Self-Awareness […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: