The ancient Greeks believed the human psyche was responsible for behavior. It embodied the concepts of soul, self, and mind. Another way to view the psyche is as the forces that influence a person’s personality, thoughts, and behaviors.
Sigmund Freud believed there were three components to the psyche, called id, super-ego, and ego. Id is described as instinctual drives that are part of the unconscious mind. The super-ego is the conscious internalization of forces viewed as morality and societal norms. The ego is described as a conscious integration of the super-ego and id. Freud believed that neurosis occurred when there was a conflict between them.
The psyche could be viewed as those beliefs that cause a person to behave in certain ways. It incorporates thoughts, feelings, prejudices, and fears.
As many people seek self-improvement and personal growth, they run into difficulties because they may not fully understand what is important to them. Many people develop their personal values around what they feel is acceptable or expected by their friends, family, and peers. What really should matter, though, is what is important to the individual regardless of whether it is acceptable to others, providing those beliefs are not harmful to others.
Before embarking on any path of change, take a look at your individual beliefs to ensure your goals and your personal feelings are in alignment with each other.
1. How do You Want to be Remembered?
In trying to determine what is important to you, take some time to walk through your home. Try to view it through the eyes of someone who has never seen it before. Imagine the images your possessions would conjure in the mind of a total stranger. If your home were to be locked up right now, then opened again years down the road by total strangers, what ideas would they have about the person you are, your beliefs, and your morals based upon the possessions you have?
Once you have done this, you need to determine if the picture your home paints would be one you would be proud of. Does your home reflect those things that hold great importance in your life, or is your home merely a showpiece meant to impress friends who come calling? What is displayed most prominently, and what does it say about you? What would you change in order to more accurately reflect your personal values?
2. Explore Your Feelings About Death
This may seem a bit morbid, but it can be a very revealing exercise. Many people live their lives based on day to day worries, without giving much thought to life’s big picture. Many live for today without giving one thought to how they might feel if the day of reckoning landed squarely on their doorstep tomorrow.
When that day does arrive, how will you feel about your life? Will you be satisfied with your accomplishments? Did you achieve all of your goals? Or will there be unfinished business?
Do not allow yourself to look back at your life from the end of it with regrets. Do not find yourself saying, “I wish,” or, “If only.” Instead of opening yourself up to feelings of having incomplete goals, vow to live out each one of your life’s desires starting today. Make the most of each day you have, and give the best part of yourself to those people and those things which mean the most to you. The rest is all fluff.
3. Eliminate one Activity
In your mind, find one activity you could eliminate from your life without it having a significant impact on your happiness. Then imagine how that time could be better spent on the things that bring you fulfillment. Then take it one step further and actually eliminate that activity from your life. You might omit it one day each week, one day each month, or find you do not need it at all. Use the extra time to spend with your family, or to engage in an activity you enjoy. The important thing is to use the time towards your own personal growth.
Taking alternate views of your life, even some that may be uncomfortable for you, is yet another way of revealing your life’s true goals. It helps you to decide what is truly important for you, rather than what others expect of you. This will help you tailor your activities towards self-improvement and fulfillment rather than wasting your time trying to impress others.