Today's excerpt from The Seven Habits book is about exercising the muscle of self-awareness. If you don't exercise it, it will be weak. Our tendency in life is to run with our strengths and leave our weaknesses undeveloped. You will have many opportunities to come face to face with your own weaknesses. You can choose to ignore them, or push against the resistance and break through to new levels of strength. If you don't cultivate the gift of self-awareness, you will never be able to think outside of your own life's experience. Examine your own assumptions, way of thinking, feelings and moods. Stand apart from your own mind and examine it. Then improve it! Improve your thoughts, feelings, moods, etc. Make changes, select goals outside of tradition, set up plans to achieve those goals that lie outside your normal habits. If you don't take yourself into account, you will project yourself and your life onto other people. We judge ourselves by our motives and others by their behavior. Until you can be separated from yourself, so you can observe your own tendencies, thoughts and desires, you have no foundation from which to know and respect others.
And I would add what I've learned in church over the years: That you have to work with God to change those thoughts, feelings and moods. It isn't good enough to just recognize negative thoughts, you have to replace them with God's word. I recently typed up some scriptures that refer to negative thoughts and worries I continually struggle with and I go to those when I need to replace those thoughts. I say them out loud because of the Bible's teaching about the power of spoken words. It has been a great tool for me.