In order to rid yourself of a negative behavior pattern, you first have to become very aware that you're doing it. And it's baffling that other people can be aware of the negative behavior of someone when the person engaging in it isn’t.
A person who's been drinking themselves to death over many years might be oblivious to the fact that that's happening. It might be very obvious to others. But the drinker might not know it, or essentially be in denial because they only suspect that they have a drinking problem.
This occurs because addicts become disconnected from various aspects of their consciousness. They are blocked from truly understanding and knowing what's going on: Anyone in the grip of addiction to anything is more likely to be acting from their subconscious, dreaming mind than from an enlightened mind that is truly in the moment that's occurring. And having an enlightened mind doesn't mean that you have successfully navigated all of life's lessons. It simply means that things have been illuminated with light in certain areas of your life.
Engaging in self-help entails that you admit that you have a problem. Beyond that, it's necessary to become aware of who you are and what things happened in your life that influenced how you are now.
You begin to enter into such awareness by asking yourself many questions. What makes you you? What are the things that you think about that exacerbate your emotional problems? What things were lacking in the teaching that you received in your childhood? What can you teach yourself to compensate for that insufficiency?
We must constantly be in pursuit of self-awareness and higher consciousness. We must become aware of negative things that happened to us, and we must repair ourselves. This doesn't mean that we'll need to immerse ourselves in a barrage of therapeutic activities for nine years or so or cry constantly. What we have to do is pursue self-awareness and enlightenment slowly but diligently. We have to go about recovery-related things in such a way that we'll be able to handle whatever comes next in our lives.
Some people had childhood traumas that were abysmal. And when we observe certain people we get the impression that they had perfectly normal childhoods. And some people really did have childhoods that were healthy, beautiful, and marked by compassion. But no matter how great a person's childhood experiences were, that person lived in an imperfect world. Because that was the case, bad things happened to them that negatively affected them mentally and emotionally.
If we understand this principle, we can forgive the world for the harm it might have done to us. But we also must realize that both major and minor harms done to us caused things in our personalities to shift and change. People with great childhoods still encountered school bullies. Some people with ideal childhoods developed personalities that caused them to crave more and more. And other people with great childhoods still became insecure about the physical world to the degree that living in fear became a pattern for them.
If we are serious about recovery, we have to figure out what things that mentally and emotionally wounded us happened to us in our pasts. We're all wounded to one degree or another, no matter how wonderful our childhoods were.
It's evident that in the last 5000 years or so that people who had wonderful childhoods have steadily become fewer and farther between. Individuals and societies have been victimized by governments, bloodshed, war, and by the greed of terrible leaders. The influence of terrible leaders has been a major cause of harm to a great many people. That begs the question, where do terrible leaders come from? Terrible leaders come from broken families. Broken families had broken parents who raised broken children. And such broken children became terrible leaders.
I believe that at some point in history everyone was good, and everyone was awake the way that a baby is when he or she is born. But then something such as a major volcano might have happened, and perhaps a large number of people saw it. A man might have seen it and experienced terror that led to anger, such as anger at nature for creating such a thing.
It might have been the case that his anger put him in a rotten mood. Then, later that evening, he saw a girl he liked flirting with another man. This would have caused him to become jealous. So, in this man's mind, a cocktail of natural negative emotions began brewing.
In those ancient times, there would not even have been names for the emotions that were being experienced. There would not have been support groups, and there might not even have been tendencies for people to have deep conversations about emotional matters.
Back then, a man would probably have felt ashamed for feeling jealous. And it’s easy to see how a person dealing with anger, jealousy, and shame all at once might be prone to destructive behavior if just one more traumatic event happened to them.
Perhaps that person would run away from their community, go off into the forest, and contemplate how terrible life was. Maybe he’d then meet a thief. The thief might subsequently become the person's friend and mentor. He’d then teach his “student” all of the negative selfish practices that would enable him to live in the forest as a fellow thief.
Consider this from a “cause and effect” perspective. The traumatized man decided to flee society and live in the forest. He became a thief, and it might have been the case that he ended up killing a victim who resisted him.
He might even have done so without having any negative feelings. He might have even been energized by the act of murdering someone. Then killing would have become easier for him, because he became desensitized about doing it.
Such an example illustrates how human beings might have strayed from being awake, conscious, and good. Bad behavior in humans is accidental at first, but over time that bad behavior is done by choice.
It's frightening to consider this. But we've seen throughout history that human beings are capable of what's considered to be unthinkable evil by the standards of most people. Some people become so twisted and warped that nothing disgusts them. They can get to a point of killing their own family members and killing people just to create torture.
We humans will always be faced with choices. And when we're children it can be difficult to make the right choices because of our lack of maturity and lack of the mental strength needed to resist evil impulses.
Sometimes people will not have the strength to resist doing something evil that will be easy for them to do and will make them feel empowered: People who are stripped of power are often unhappy.
To a degree, it's perfectly normal for people to want to feel empowered. Feeling empowered can keep us from living in a constant state of terror. But embracing empowerment can sometimes lead to negative consequences such as entertaining false perceptions about the natural world. We like to believe that we can control nature. And we can even get to the point of believing that we won't experience physical death.
We have to dig deep mentally and emotionally. We must ask ourselves why we do the things we do. The answers we arrive at may be signals that we need to engage in very significant behavioral change. We must change for the better, for ourselves, our fellow humans, and the other creatures who inhabit our planet.