Rural Aid counsellor says pleasant thoughts make pleasant lives

In his latest column, Rural Aid counsellor Gary Bentley writes that we have to take a look at our current situation and measure it against where we have come from and where we want to be. Photo: File
In his latest column, Rural Aid counsellor Gary Bentley writes that we have to take a look at our current situation and measure it against where we have come from and where we want to be. Photo: File

There's a vast difference between self-assessment and self-criticism.

The former can lead to direction change and growth; the latter to depression and defeat. One is full of promise, the other offers little more than personal pain.

It's important that we take the time to have a good, long look at ourselves...and that we do it on a regular basis.

We have to take a look at our current situation and then measure it against where we have come from and where we want to be.

The alternative is to drift aimlessly through life, losing perspective, missing opportunities and wasting our promise and potential.

Honest self-assessment then affords us the opportunity to appreciate our situation, make any necessary adjustments in the way we are thinking and acting and plan how we move forward.

Expectations, though, must always be realistic.

Progression is rarely about leaps and strides towards a perceived and desired target; more often than not it's little more than placing one foot in front of the other.

It's in knowing ourselves - our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes - that we become better equipped to know others.

If we know what we have to offer it';s easier to recognise and appreciate what those around us have to offer. And that's important because we all need and seek connection and relationships.

We should guard against blurring the lines that separate self-assessment from self-criticism.

Over-emphasis of real and imagined fault or weakness becomes self-defeating.

Accentuating the negative can trigger a downward spiral, damaging our spirit and blinding us to positive possibilities.

There's a great deal of truth in the saying 'We are what we think'.

And it's true that pleasant thoughts make pleasant lives.

It's equally true that what we think of ourselves is what we will be. Self-assess but avoid the tendency to self-obsess. That's a distraction no-one needs.