Some time ago, I was feeling constant pain in my jaw, so I decided to visit a dentist. After the examination, he told me that I was in pain because I clenched my teeth too hard. Unconsciously, especially while sleeping as in the morning when I’d wake up, I’d find it hard to open my mouth. Impossible, I thought. I don’t do that, I mean, I’d know, would I? Can you really do something continuously without being aware of it at all? How to Know Yourself Better?
I left the dentist’s office skeptical, comforting myself that this diagnosis, despite my suspicion, is still better than the one in which I have to remove my wisdom tooth or something equally dreadful. Immediately after leaving the dentist, I began to pay attention, of course, not to see if I was doing it, but to prove my dentist wrong.
I focused on my teeth and observed myself as I did my usual daily activities.
What I realized very quickly was astonishing. Too often, my jaw was clenched as if my life depended on it. I was surprised and shocked as this was something I did entirely unconsciously and daily, something I’d swear I never did and would be convinced that I was telling the absolute truth. Which got me thinking….
Can anyone really fool us better than we can fool ourselves, no matter what it is about?
There are many actions, emotions, beliefs, and thoughts that we do and have, although they aren’t good for us. We nurture and practice them, primarily because we are entirely unaware of them or the effect they have on us. And too often if someone is brave enough to point this out to us, we just cut them off. We may even get angry because we believe that when it comes to our lives, we are the only ones who know the best, that no one has the right to say anything. After all, other people do not live in our skin and cannot understand how it is for us. Sometimes we even feel hurt and think that people around us are nothing but jealous haters.
Rarely do we pause and think: maybe they are right.
It’s not because someone is smarter or wiser than we are.
Because we’re not emotionally involved it’s easier to spot somebody else’s mistakes. There are no defense mechanisms that blur our eyesight, so we can be objective.
It is astonishing how confident we can be about something that has nothing to do with reality. Countless times I had found myself in a situation stunned by someone else’s blindness. I’d stay silent, turn my head, tell myself; it is not worth it, any interference will only result in a quarrel. Don’t stick your nose where it doesn’t belong.
Live and let others live. And all that is generally true, but…
Much of the knowledge I have about life, I have because at some point, I allowed someone or something else to open my eyes. Because I told my ego to shut up for a moment and consider the possibility that someone else might have a good point, that there are different and possibly better ways of doing something.
A bit of pain can be a blessing
Since I became aware of my teeth clenching, my pain has halved. Over time, it disappeared completely, because I knew what was causing it and what was necessary to do for it to go away. Perhaps this is the perfect example of the blessing that usually comes with the pain. If we respond, of course. It took me months of typical excuses: the pain is not so terrible, something else is more important at the moment, it is just a tooth that needs fixing, all the while my pain was trying to alert me to the stress I was over-exposing.
Reconsider what you think you know
Some go through years of dull, insidious pain before they pay attention, some never pay. Some have their body and soul so ill that there is no going back or towards better tomorrow. Listen to your pain. Listen to other people around you. They may not be right, but does it really hurt to stop and check? To reconsider?
It won’t hurt much to accept the possibility that under the influence of different emotions, we do not see certain things clearly and that sometimes all others want is to help us.
About the Author
Brankica Stanić is Croatian, born in Bosnia, now living in Ireland. She enjoys writing contemporary fiction and has three self-published novels in her native language. Brankica also takes pleasure in writing short stories. She runs a blog The Prose of Everyday Life. https://brankicastanic.com/
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Brankica’s words on multiculturalism: “Multiculturalism is a much-needed diversity in any society. It can greatly enrich our lives, expand our knowledge, and bring us closer. Cultural diversity brings the realization of how we all are, despite many differences, very much alike”.