The first step in helping others, or helping ourselves for that matter, is to facilitate gaining knowledge about our real self and hence our real potential. Perhaps the most critical step in this process is the disconfirmation of something we believe and have always believed about ourselves. For example, most of us take our baseline (background) level of tension and anxiety as a real base and self-identify when we feel tense or anxious relative to that base. In other words we assume the best we can feel is the base and elevations above the base in our level of tension and anxiety are noticed and experienced as uncomfortable. This usually creates attempts at reducing the stress (which the less aware of us believe is coming from the outside) we believe is creating the threat that alerts us. Anxiety and tension are simply our response to perceived threat. And, it doesn’t even have to be a real threat!
Few of us however, even consider that our base level of tension and anxiety can ever be reduced. Most of us generally assume that our base level of tension is simply what it feels like to be us. But, that may be a false belief based on our early life experiences and the models of our world designed to make sense of them. Because our early compromises usually lead to less than optimal solutions (our brain isn’t even fully developed yet) they result in symptoms of one sort or another. Our compromises eventually result in mental models that include predispositions to respond to forces in our lives. In other words, our predispositions create our baseline level of readiness. Changing your behavior can reduce the level of tension and anxiety being experienced at the moment but changing your mental model changes the baseline, i.e. our readiness to overreact and over-respond to stress. That is the fruit of self-knowledge and a goal worthy of pursuing.

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