We all struggling with at least one personal challenge in your life. It generates the most painful life lessons. Learn what to overcome on the mental level.
Our life would be too simple if there were no challenges. Some of them are internal, being in your mind and sometimes body. I will not be writing about physical challenges, although they can also impair your life. they include all long-term illnesses or disability.
How Mental Challenges Are Created
In the case of mental challenges, called feature characters, you are facing at least one of them within your life span. It is your main, overriding character flaw or personality defect. You can handle it in a positive or a negative way (pole).
It is said that your mental challenge is a personal response to deep, existential fear. This fear is formed in childhood, compounded by painful traumas and childish misperceptions. For example, it may be a basic fear of dying too soon, before you get everything done.
In adolescence, while approaching adulthood and independence, we adopt a behaviour pattern to manage the fear. In other words, we find some strategy to try and stop the thing we fear most from coming true. This behaviour pattern defines your mental challenge of the young adult personality.
In the case of the aforementioned fear of dying the behaviour pattern used to handle that is to rush headlong through life like a runaway train. This, then, means that impatience becomes your main mental challenge.
So the mental challenge is a survival strategy or defence mechanism. Ultimately, it is a false mechanism, a sham, serving no real purpose past early adulthood. It does nothing except getting in the way of our authenticity and personal fulfilment.
At the same time, it is usually the most obvious and dominant trait of the whole personality. Hence the name, “chief feature”. I would prefer the “mental life challenge” label.
7 Mental Life Challenges
There are seven main mental life challenges you can encounter. I need to point out that you can struggle with more than one of them.
You can have the following attitude while facing this mental life challenge when:
- thinking of being destined for greatness,
- thinking of being superior to other people because of being flawless,
- believing in being blessed in good luck,
- having an exaggerated sense of your importance,
- fancying that you make a significant contribution to the world
- having the desire to excel at whatever you do
- tending to be snobbish, pompous, lofty,
- being a swaggerer with an upright posture. and conceited
Arrogance is the fear of vulnerability. People with this mental challenge do not want to admit that they are imperfect nor do they want others to discover it. The fear of vulnerability manifests with difficulty to apologise and avoiding humiliation or embarrassment. You may avoid situations where you cannot excel.
You have pride yourself, in what you do, and in what they think. People see yourself as virtuous, while others see them as self-righteous.
Unfortunately, you can also be vain, assuming that others are lesser beings than you, belittling and treating them as inferiors. You also automatically think of being better than others, i.e. smarter, stronger, more accurate, etc than other people.
Self-Deprecation is another mental life challenge. A person with this trait has got the following features:
- inferiority complex,
- devaluing, disparaging and slighting themselves,
- seeing others better than themselves,
- having stooped shoulders and the back bowed as if wanting to appear smaller than they are
- being very modest.
Self-Deprecation mental life change is the self-image of limitation. The people with this character feature are afraid of losing control, feeling that they are limited in ability, talent, and intellect and thinking that their personal attributes and endowments are small and insignificant.
This is humility there you may see yourself as an ordinary being, not outstanding or important, and certainly not superior, being just another member of the crowd.
Abasement means feeling sorry for yourself, being filled with self-pity, feeling guilty for real or imagined sins, downtrodden and miserable, seeing yourself as suffering wretches. You yearn commiseration and sympathy from others to prop up your lowly self-image.
This mental life challenge manifests as the attitude of not having enough. In most cases, greed does not usually arise universally; it tends to be fixated on a particular definable area(s). They include:
- sometimes more generalised ones.
Greed has the underlying fear of not having enough. It tends to fixate on what seemed in childhood like a love substitute from parents. For example, in the case when a mother was cold but stuffed her child with food, the child’s need for love wasn’t satisfied, but on automatic pilot, food seems like the place to keep looking for it. The same applies to money or attention. Greed can also originate from past lives.
Greed may not be recognised by the person facing this mental challenge, e.g. as a successful businessman. He/She does not enjoy the challenges of business but carries a sense of a bottomless pit of emptiness; no matter how hard he/she tries.
Greed can serve as a fuel for making changes, to become a better person. You may never stop to become the best version of yourself.
In this case, this mental life challenge means the never-ending and infinite desire of becoming rich, full or loved, no matter what the costs are.
Learn more about mental challenges and how to overcome them.
People with this mental life challenge are aware of their faults not noticing their perfections. They do it in the following ways:
- disliking their body (too fat, too tall etc.),
- being self-critical (about their work, relationships etc. – not being accurate, fast or thorough enough),
- being displeased with their personality (not smart, funny, likeable enough),
Moreover, self-destructive individuals can be suicidal and harmful to themselves. Masochism is also very common. Self-destruction covers the underlying fear of losing control.
This case is called Sacrifice. People think that others are greater than them. hence they are willing to give their resources like time, money to these “greater” individuals, being considered as unselfish.
However, self-destructive people can also practise self-hatred, seeing themselves as blemished, damned, abused, exhausted, and cursed, deliberately trying to punish themselves. Their beliefs are about everybody perceives these individuals as ugly, foolish and despicable.
People with this mental life challenge have got a self-image of the “born winner”, It manifest in the following ways:
- things never happen to suit them,
- they are constantly trying to pack more activity the allocated time than can possibly be done,
- things never happen fast enough for them,
- they do not like waiting for anything,
- getting upset if things do not happen soon enough
- hasty, brief, abrupt talking is very common,
- they tend to interrupt others while conversing,
- wanting to be at the beginning of events.
Impatient individuals manifest the underlying fear of missing out on something which is more important than the thing currently being done. This is applied to relationships, activities and projects. Constant change is better than stagnation.
The Positive Pole is called Audacity, where impatient individuals have a lack of self-regulation, looking at the future and trying to get a jump into it, rather than working with the present. They have a self-image of an overachiever.
Intolerance, as the name indicates, suggests that individuals are easily irritated at people and circumstances, hot-tempered, prone to rages and furies with little provocation. They also end to overreact to minor inconveniences and petty failures.
This mental life challenge characterises individuals who consider themselves as losers. In particular they:
- rarely try very hard at success,
- give up too easily,
- do not seem right to succeed,
- sabotage themselves in order for another person to win,
- lack self-respect,
- surrender easily when the going is tough.
This mental life challenge has the underlying fear of being a victim. Individuals will go to great lengths to prove that they are worthy of the respect of others. Martyrs need thanks of others for their hard work but it is usually contempt what they get.
The positive pole of this mental life challenge is called Selflessness, with a person having weak ego strength. They are unable to assert their own will or impose themselves on others. Their personal powerlessness can also lead to asceticism and self-denial.
Mortification or Victimisation means that martyrs experience the actual death of martyrdom or at least they have aa “death wish”. These individuals have little respect for their own physical well-being, treating their body badly (addiction, poor nutrition etc.)
People with this mental life challenge resist external influence. This manifests as:
- following their own instincts,
- being slow to respond to external correcting measures,
- being self-contained,
- preferring to operate on their own, without regard for others or the environment,
- rarely asking for advice or seeking counselling,
- being inflexible in their thoughts, feelings and actions.
The underlying fear that drives this mental life challenge is the fear of dealing with new situations, making them as old as possible. Stubbornness in the negative pole induces the aforementioned six mental life challenges.
The positive pole of this mental life challenge is called Determination. In this case, individuals see themselves as “irresistible forces”, determined to do their way, no matter what others say or the situation is.
In the Negative Pole of -Obstinacy, individuals see themselves as the proverbial “immovable object”. No matter what anyone says or what the situation is, they cannot be budged.
Why not use meditation for making the most of your mental life challenge? Then you will be able to live according to the values of light. Join me and the community every Saturday at 8 pm Irish Summer Time.
In a Nutshell
Today you have learned about the seven major mental life challenges. They include impatience, martyrdom, stubbornness, arrogance, self-destruction, self-depreciation and greed. Each of them has a positive and a negative pole. Good luck of making the most of each challenge, being in the positive pole of it.
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