Self Help

The Mountain Is You - Brianna Wiest

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 38 min read
  • The mountain is a metaphor for the challenges and adversity in our lives that prompt growth.

  • Facing your mountain requires self-mastery, resilience, and reinvention.

  • The root cause of self-sabotage and our mountains is often unconscious needs and unprocessed emotions from past experiences.

  • To overcome self-sabotage, we must identify the root cause, release trapped emotions, meet our needs in healthier ways, change our self-image, and develop skills like emotional intelligence.

  • Self-sabotage seems self-hating but actually arises from unconscious needs. The solution is deep inner work.

  • Our problems are often signs of untapped potential waiting to emerge. Facing them leads to growth and purpose.

  • Carl Jung did not enjoy school as a child and developed fainting spells as a way to unconsciously cope with his unhappiness there. Likewise, many people develop fears and unhealthy attachments as a way to avoid dealing with deeper issues.

  • Self-sabotage is a maladaptive coping mechanism people use when they are unable to consciously meet their needs, often due to a lack of self-belief. It provides temporary relief but does not actually solve the underlying problem.

  • Self-sabotage often arises from irrational fears and negative associations people hold, usually developed in childhood. These beliefs are hard to shake because our brains naturally seek to confirm what we already think about ourselves and the world. Challenging these beliefs is necessary to overcome self-sabotage.

  • Unfamiliarity breeds discomfort, which people often mistake for something being wrong or bad. Self-sabotage is frequently a reaction to moving beyond our “upper limit” of happiness and familiarity. We are wired to seek the familiar, even if it does not serve us.

  • Our beliefs shape our reality. Self-sabotaging beliefs that limit our potential need to be identified and replaced with more constructive ones in order to achieve real change. Questioning long-held assumptions and being open to new ideas is part of this process.

  • What we call “self-sabotage” are really just habits and behaviors that have become entrenched. Sometimes it happens by accident, but usually these patterns serve a psychological purpose, meeting an unmet need or avoiding discomfort.

  • These habits feel automatic and uncontrollable, but they were intelligently designed by our mind to cope with emotions or desires we have not adequately addressed. They are not inherently harmful or malicious.

  • The solution is not to berate ourselves for these tendencies but to understand why they developed and find healthier ways of meeting those needs. We must replace old coping mechanisms with skills that actually move us forward.

  • Make the unconscious conscious. Notice the triggers and rewards of self-sabotaging behaviors. Understand the root cause, whether it’s a lack of self-worth, fear of the unknown, avoidance of responsibility, desire for comfort, or something else. Address these core issues.

  • Build self-awareness and vision. Envision how you want your life to be different. Choose new behaviors and thought patterns that align with your goals. Practice them diligently. New habits and a new self-concept will emerge.

  • Change is difficult and uncomfortable but necessary. Let go of your old identity and way of life. Have the courage to step into the unknown. Meet your unmet needs in constructive ways. Growth and progress will come from embracing this discomfort.

  • Take responsibility for your choices and direction in life. You have the power to change, though it may not feel that way. Make decisions that honor your potential and move you closer to who you aspire to become. You can override old patterns.

  • Be patient and compassionate with yourself. Significant transformation takes time. There will be setbacks, but maintain your commitment to positive change. You will get there as long as you stay dedicated to your growth and understand self-sabotage for what it is - your attempt to cope with life’s difficulties. Choose to cope in ways that serve rather than limit you.

Overcoming self-sabotage is not about trying to figure out how to override your impulses; it is first determining why those impulses exist in the first place. Self-sabotage is not a way we hurt ourselves; it’s a way we try to protect ourselves.

Get clear on what you really want for yourself and your life. Let go of what you think you “should” want based on the expectations of others.

Don’t worry about perfection, just focus on progress. Take action instead of avoiding discomfort. Start by doing small tasks and build up from there.

Learn to process all of your emotions in a healthy way. Get clear on what’s bothering you, validate how you feel, and determine how to move forward in a constructive way.

Stop making excuses and justifying why you can’t accomplish your goals. Measure your progress by your outcomes, not your intentions or excuses. Take action each day to move closer to your goals.

Get organized and establish routines to support your goals and priorities. Start small by focusing on one area or task at a time. An organized environment will help you feel more in control and able to take action.

Let go of ambitions and paths that you’ve outgrown or that were never truly your own. Find what motivates and fulfills you now to move in a direction that feels right for who you are becoming.

You have to ask yourself if you really want to do something or if you just like the idea of it. Question if you’re in love with the person or the relationship. Let go of outdated ideas of success.

Self-sabotage shows us we’re on the wrong path. We don’t have to achieve outdated measures of success. Our responsibility is to make decisions for who we are now.

Accept your success may look different than expected. Find peace, travel, relationships, new work. Let go of what’s not right to find what is. It takes courage to see things as they are.

Judging others erects barriers to our success. We associate their success with being disliked, so we resist our own. Compassion for others brings compassion for self. Congratulate others; it will open you to receive too.

Pride makes bad decisions. We stay in bad relationships to avoid shame of leaving. We refuse help to seem perfect. See yourself honestly. You’re imperfect but trying your best. People will respect that. Admit when wrong; ask for help. Grow.

Guilt hinders having enough or more. Feel undeserving. Sabotage income or workload. Success is a tool to help others and yourself.

Fear of failing holds us back or makes us catastrophize when successful. Differentiate failing from trying vs negligence. Failure from trying brings you closer to success. Failure from negligence sets you back.

Downplaying success avoids seeming threatening or reaching the top. Fear of having “made it” and nowhere to go. Stand in your pride; you know you’re not better than others. Say “Thank you, I worked hard.”

If fear of peaking, set new goals. Appreciate own and others’ accomplishments. Keep climbing your mountain.

• People often sabotage themselves by maintaining unhealthy habits that keep them from their goals. To resolve this, define what health and success mean to you and gradually establish habits that facilitate that.

• Being constantly “busy” is a way to avoid confronting problems. To fix this, prioritize important tasks, outsource what you can, and let go of the rest. Learn to embrace simplicity and routine.

• Spending time with the wrong people who make you feel bad about yourself is self-sabotaging. Build relationships with people who support and inspire you instead.

• Worrying irrationally about unlikely disasters is a way to avoid dealing with valid fears and insecurities. Figure out what those real feelings are about and address them directly.

• Signs you may be self-sabotaging include: focusing more on what you don’t want than what you do want; trying to impress people who don’t like you; avoiding problems by putting your “head in the sand”; and caring more about seeming okay to others than actually being okay.

• Progress is not linear. We do not achieve something only to lose it again. True progress builds on itself, and life tends to gradually improve as we work on it, unless we shut down out of fear of our own success.

• Your main priority in life is to be liked, even at the expense of your own happiness. You care more about what others think of you than how you actually feel.

• You are more afraid of your feelings than anything else. If you fear your emotions to the point that it inhibits you, you are your own biggest obstacle.

• You are blindly chasing goals without asking why you want them. If you do everything you’re “supposed” to but still feel unfulfilled, you may be living someone else’s version of happiness.

• You treat your coping mechanisms as the problem rather than the underlying need they fill. Don’t make your habits the enemy; ask what emotional need they serve.

• You value your self-doubt more than your potential. Negativity bias makes negatives feel more real, but don’t let that stop you from seeing your potential.

• You are trying to care about everything. Focus your effort on what really matters to you instead of spreading yourself too thin.

• You are waiting for someone else to open a door or offer you the life you want. Success is built, not given. Find your passions and skills, see where they meet the market, and persist.

• You don’t realize how far you’ve come. You are not the same person you were years ago. Give yourself credit for the progress you’ve made and how much closer you are to where you want to be.

• Identify your core commitments or subconscious drivers to understand your self-sabotage. They point to unmet core needs, which indicate your life’s purpose. Meet those needs to quiet self-sabotage.

• Confronting emotions and taking action is required to overcome self-sabotage. Understanding why you do it isn’t enough. You must adapt, even if uncomfortable. Expect resistance and other feelings, but stay motivated by your vision.

We all experience negative emotions from time to time that trigger self-sabotaging behaviors. It is important to understand that these emotions are not bad; they are our guides to finding deeper truths about ourselves and what we need. When we repress or avoid these emotions, they build up and become chronic issues.

Some of the most common emotions connected to self-sabotage are:

Anger - Shows us our boundaries and priorities. Helps motivate us to change. Should be used to change ourselves, not projected onto others.

Sadness - A normal response to loss. Allow yourself to fully grieve in waves. Crying is a sign of mental strength.

Guilt - We often feel guilty for what we didn’t do. Look at any behaviors you feel badly about and who made you feel like you were always wrong. Guilt often comes from childhood.

Embarrassment - Comes from not behaving in a way you’re proud of. Others can’t make you feel embarrassed like you can. Process embarrassment so it does not turn to shame.

Jealousy - A cover up for sadness and self-dissatisfaction. Look at what the other person has that you feel you’re lacking. Use it as motivation to improve yourself.

The core message is that we must learn to interpret and process our emotions in a healthy way. Our triggers show us what is unresolved within us and point us to our deepest needs and desires. We can use them as guides to building a life aligned with who we are.

• Jealousy shows us what we truly want out of life but are not pursuing. It highlights the self-sabotaging behaviors we need to change to achieve what we desire.

• Resentment is often due to unmet expectations of others. We must release our ideas of who people should be and see them for who they are. Focus on the lessons they teach us, not on how they should change.

• Regret shows us what we must create going forward. It highlights what we care about and motivates us to live fully while we can.

• Chronic fear is a projection of what is already happening—our lives being derailed by negative thinking. Accepting what we cannot control frees us from fear.

• Our internal guidance systems whisper until they scream. The things bothering us show us what needs fixing. We have the answers and know our purpose but must quiet our minds to access them.

• Our need for validation and connection is valid and human. We are social beings who thrive by serving the greater good. Self-sufficiency and interdependence are both important.

• Our subconscious communicates through our self-sabotaging behaviors. Understanding them reveals trauma, shows our real needs, and provides keys to unlocking them.

• For example, repeatedly returning to someone who hurt you could reveal unmet childhood needs. Attracting unavailable partners could show you deserve commitment and are worthy of love.

The summary captures the main messages around using difficult emotions and behaviors as guidance to pursue our purpose, meet our needs, heal from trauma, build healthy relationships, and achieve greater well-being and happiness. The specific examples provide additional context for how to apply these insights.

The way you are self-sabotaging:

• Feeling unhappy even when you have everything you want. Your subconscious may want you to know you are expecting external things to make you happy rather than focusing on your thinking and perceptions.

• Pushing people away. Your subconscious may want you to know you want closeness but fear the pain of rejection, so you create the isolation you’re trying to avoid. Showing up authentically can help.

• Believing your thoughts and feelings are absolutely true. Your subconscious may want you to know you find comfort in worrying and must learn to discern helpful and unhelpful thoughts.

• Eating poorly when you don’t want to. Your subconscious may want you to know you’re doing too much, not resting enough, being extreme, or emotionally hungry. Address underlying needs.

• Not progressing your career. Your subconscious may want you to know you’re not clear on your goals or there are other issues beyond just motivation. Regroup and restrategize.

• Overworking. Your subconscious may want you to know you don’t need to prove your worth but are avoiding discomfort. Find balance and address feelings.

• Caring too much what others think. Your subconscious may want you to know you’re not as happy as you seem and to consider whether your own life is fulfilling for you.

• Spending too much money. Your subconscious may want you to know that buying things won’t make you feel secure or help you become someone new. Address underlying needs and functions spending serves.

• Dwelling on past relationships. Your subconscious may want you to know the relationship affected you more than you’ve acknowledged and you need closure or acceptance.

• Choosing competitive friends. Your subconscious may want you to know you want real connection but are using competition as a substitute. Build authentic relationships.

• Having self-defeating thoughts. Your subconscious may want you to know being mean to yourself won’t lessen the hurt of others’ judgment and you’re acting as your own bully. Challenge those thoughts.

• Not promoting your work. Your subconscious may want you to know you’re not doing your best work, leading to fear of judgment. Create work you’re proud to share.

• Ascribing intent or making things about you. Your subconscious may want you to know you think about yourself too much. Others are focused on themselves, and you’ll hold yourself back by seeing yourself as a victim.

• Staying where you’re unhappy. Your subconscious may want you to know home is what you make it, and you’re likely judging yourself for your choice of residence. Make peace with your choice.

• Mindless social media use. Your subconscious may want you to know this is an easy way to numb discomfort you need to address to create change. Use social media constructively.


• You should not blame yourself for believing your gut instincts. There is research showing the connection between our gut and brain. Our gut can store information and sense things before our conscious mind does. However, your gut instinct is not psychic. It can only respond to the present moment.

• You can start distinguishing between your gut feelings and projections by asking whether the feeling is in response to the present situation or an imagined future scenario. Your gut instinct will be quiet and calm, not loud or panicked.

• Your gut instinct functions to make things better, while your imagination can make things seem worse. Your instincts are responses, not feelings. They guide you to what is right for you, even if uncomfortable. Your feelings reflect your thoughts, not reality.

• Listening to your gut is not the same as treating it as an oracle. Feelings do not determine the right choice; the right choice leads to the right feelings. Following every impulse would lead to being stuck or in trouble. You need your mind to make good choices.

• Your gut and mind are connected. Referring to your gut instinct means knowing something in the moment, not about the future. We cannot have instincts about what does not yet exist.

• Distinguish instinct from fear by seeing if the feeling relates to the present or future. Instinct is quiet and calm, fear is loud and panicked. Stay in the moment.

• Intuitive thoughts are calm, rational, help presently, quiet, come once or twice, feel understanding. Intruding thoughts are hectic, irrational, random, loud, persistent, and induce panic. Intuition sounds loving, fear sounds scared.

• The human brain is designed to constantly desire more, not to reach a state of satisfaction. Achieving goals usually leads to wanting new goals, not contentment.

• We resist doing the work to get what we want because we are afraid of failure and not getting it. Any failure makes us want to give up.

• When we go a long time without getting what we want, we create negative associations with having it to protect ourselves. We judge others who do have it.

• When we finally get what we want, we fear losing it so much that we push it away first. We doubt and undermine our success.

• Shifting from a state of lack or survival to a state of abundance or thriving is difficult. We don’t know how to handle the change and may overindulge or avoid responsibilities.

• Change is uncomfortable until it becomes familiar. It takes time to adjust to getting what we want after wanting it for so long.

• The key is managing expectations, facing failures, releasing limiting beliefs, and allowing time to become comfortable with success and abundance. Building emotional intelligence helps with all of these things.





So, in summary, the key to overcoming this pattern is:

• Managing your expectations about what having what you want will really do for you.

• Facing failures and setbacks as a normal part of progress, not a reflection on you.

• Releasing limiting beliefs that are creating resistance and self-sabotage.

• Giving yourself time to become familiar and comfortable with the state of abundance or success. Building your emotional intelligence will help you navigate all of these challenges.

Having a heightened sense of emotional intelligence teaches you that life is constantly changing, you have to adapt, you have to give yourself space to learn and grow, and nothing external is going to resolve issues that are coming from within you.

F E E L I N G S A R E M E A N T T O G U I D E Y O U , N O T D E F I N E Y O U

One of the most common traits of emotionally intelligent people is that they understand feelings are meant as information, not definitions of reality.

Feelings are sensations in our body that alert us to our needs, values, and priorities. They prompt us to look inward and assess what is really going on in our lives.

People who lack emotional intelligence, however, often feel completely defined and victimized by their emotions. A bad feeling means life is bad. Feeling anxious means there is truly something to fear. Feeling sad means you are inadequate or broken in some way.

When we feel defined by our emotions rather than guided by them, we lose our ability to respond to life in a balanced, moderate way. We become reactionary. We make impulsive decisions to escape discomfort, rather than understanding the root cause of those feelings and addressing them directly.

Confusing feelings for facts is one of the greatest hallmarks of low emotional intelligence and self-sabotage. When we feel a sense of discomfort, we freak out and assume there must truly be something wrong, and we go to extreme measures to “fix” it before even determining what “it” really is.

Here are some ways to tell if you are confusing feelings for facts:

• You frequently make big life changes to escape discomfort, rather than addressing the underlying issues. For example, quitting jobs or ending relationships the moment something feels off, rather than communicating openly first.

• You often feel victimized or mistreated by others or circumstances, though nothing specifically bad has happened. You assume people dislike you or situations won’t work in your favor without cause.

• You have a habit of catastrophizing or assuming the worst will happen when you feel anxious or afraid. For example, feeling mildly concerned about an appointment and assuming you have a serious medical issue without cause.

• Your moods frequently fluctuate throughout the day based on small events. Feeling elated one moment and devastated the next. Emotional regulation is poor.





• You have trouble identifying the specific thoughts or beliefs that are driving your feelings. You just feel anxious, sad, or upset but can’t trace those feelings back to their origin.

• Your feelings often feel disproportionately large for the situations at hand. Big reactions to small events that wouldn’t affect others so strongly.

• You frequently feel insecure in relationships or social situations without cause. You assume others view you negatively without concrete evidence.

The solution here is building awareness of your own thought patterns and emotional tendencies. Some steps you can take include:

• Notice the specific thoughts you have before strong feelings arise. Question whether those thoughts are based in facts or fearful assumptions.

• Ask yourself what a more balanced and moderate perspective might be. Try to identify alternative ways of viewing the situation that would not elicit such a strong emotional reaction.

• Look for patterns in the types of situations that trigger emotional outbursts or withdrawals. Try to identify the underlying beliefs fueling them.

• Give yourself space before reacting to intense feelings. Take a walk or do some deep breathing. Responding while actively emotional often makes the situation worse. React once you’ve regained composure.

• Talk to others to gain outside perspective. Our feelings can often seem disproportionate from the inside, but hearing another person’s view helps provide context.

• Challenge catastrophic thoughts and worst-case scenario predictions. Ask yourself what evidence you have to support those conclusions. Look for alternative, more moderate outcomes.

• Know that feelings pass with time. While they feel very intense in the moment, every emotion you’ve ever felt has eventually faded. This too shall pass, as long as you avoid acting out impulsively.

• Seek professional help from a therapist if needed. They can help uncover deep-rooted issues affecting your emotional regulation and thought patterns. Self-insight is difficult, and help is often needed.

The key is not to numb feelings or ignore them but to understand them. Feelings highlight what matters to you and what may need to change. But they are not necessarily a reflection of truth or facts. Learn to listen to your feelings as guidance, not gospel.

With practice, you can build the awareness and skills needed to understand the messages your feelings contain without feeling defined by them. You can let feelings pass through you without resistance while still learning from them. This is emotional intelligence in action.





Y O U C A N ’ T C O N T R O L H O W Y O U F E E L , O N LY H O W Y O U R E S P O N D

One of the biggest myths about emotions is that we can choose how we feel. We can’t. Our feelings arise automatically based on our beliefs, experiences, environment, health, and a variety of other factors out of our control.

While we can’t choose our feelings, we can choose our responses. That is what emotional intelligence is really about.

When we lack emotional intelligence, we tend to react impulsively based on how we feel in the moment. We yell, withdraw, make big life changes, lash out at others, or engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms. Why? Because we feel out of control.

The truth, however, is that we are always in control of our actions and behaviors. We can never control feelings themselves, but we can control whether we act on them or not. We have the power to respond in a balanced, thoughtful way rather than just react.

Some steps to gaining awareness and control over your responses include:

• Notice the space between feeling and reacting. That space, however brief, contains power and choice. You can expand that space with practice.

• Name the feeling. Saying “I feel angry” or “I feel afraid” helps create awareness and space for a response rather than a reaction.

• Identify the underlying need or belief driving the feeling. Anger often masks hurt or fear. Address the root cause.





• Question whether reacting on the feeling would help or exacerbate the situation. Take a few deep breaths to help you think clearly before responding.

• Consider alternative responses and the potential outcomes of each. Choose one that will lead to the healthiest result for all involved.

• Start with “I” statements and share how the situation makes you feel without accusation. This can open a constructive dialogue.

• If reacting feels unavoidable in the moment, give yourself permission to table the discussion until you’ve regained composure. Come back once you’ve cooled down.

• Seek compromise and solutions, not just validation. The goal is resolving the underlying issue, not just expressing feelings. Stay open to other perspectives.

• Apologize when you react in a way you regret. Take responsibility, explain your feelings, reiterate your desire for a healthy resolution, and commit to responding better next time.

• Don’t beat yourself up over reactions and slip-ups. You are human, and building emotional intelligence takes practice. Get back to basics and try again.

The more you practice the steps above, the more natural they will feel. You will get better at noticing feelings arise, understanding them

  • We have a natural inclination towards self-validation and standing in our own way due to pride. It is hard to acknowledge that what we envy in others are often our own unfulfilled desires.

  • Our brains are programmed to want more and better things. But we can override this by understanding how our brain works. Our subconscious mind tries to keep us in our comfort zone. We have to use our conscious mind to discern what is good for us. We cannot be governed by our feelings alone.

  • Change does not happen in sudden breakthroughs. It happens through small, gradual shifts in our habits and behaviors. Breakthroughs are the results of continuous mundane work. What we do each day shapes our lives. Outcomes depend on principles, not passion.

  • Making big changes is hard because we are not meant to live outside our comfort zones. To change, make tiny changes each day until they become habit. Then keep doing them. Don’t wait until you feel like changing. Just make one small shift at a time.

  • Our minds are “antifragile” - they get stronger with adversity. If we avoid challenges, our brain will create problems to overcome with no reward. Shielding ourselves from adversity makes us more prone to anxiety and panic. Adversity spurs creativity. But we need the right amount - choose purposeful struggles and focus on what we can control.

Adjustment shock refers to the stress, anxiety, and discomfort that come with positive life changes and new beginnings. Even good changes can be difficult to adjust to at first. Some signs of adjustment shock include:

•Increased anxiety, irritability, or fear •Hypervigilance about what could go wrong •Questioning yourself and your beliefs •Feeling like you don’t deserve your success or happiness

To overcome adjustment shock:

•Familiarize yourself with the change and make it a part of you. •Learn the skills to manage any anxieties or insecurities that come up. •Adjust your mindset to one of growth and self-development. •Remember that discomfort is temporary, and you will adjust over time.

Psychic thinking refers to biased, unrealistic thoughts that we mistake for wisdom or intuition. It includes:

•Assuming you know what others think or will do. •Believing unlikely outcomes are most likely because you feel them strongly. •Thinking you missed out on an ideal life you were “meant for.” •Confusing attraction or chemistry for compatibility.

Psychic thinking is problematic because it:

•Detaches us from reality. •Breeds anxiety and depression. •Comes from cognitive biases like confirmation bias, extrapolation, and spotlighting. •Leads to self-fulfilling prophecies.

The solution is developing critical thinking skills, challenging biased thoughts, and grounding yourself in logic and evidence over emotions or intuition alone.

  • Anxiety is often caused by inefficient critical thinking skills and logical lapses
  • Logical lapses are when you jump to the worst-case scenario without thinking it through, triggering your fight-or-flight response
  • To overcome anxiety, you need to practice better reasoning by visualizing full scenarios from beginning to end
  • Faulty inferences are when you make incorrect assumptions or conclusions based on valid evidence
  • Examples of faulty inferences include:
    • Hasty generalizations: Making broad claims based on limited experience
    • Post hoc ergo propter hoc: Assuming two events are related just because they happened at the same time
    • False dichotomies: Assuming there are only two possibilities when there are more
    • Slippery slopes: Assuming one event will inevitably lead to a series of others
  • Overcoming anxiety involves improving your critical thinking skills by identifying and correcting faulty inferences and logical lapses

The key message is that anxiety is often the result of cognitive biases and incorrect assumptions, not the situations themselves. By developing self-awareness and logical reasoning, you can overcome anxiety and build confidence in your ability to handle whatever comes your way.

  • Releasing the past is a process that takes time and practice. You can’t force yourself to let go by sheer willpower.

  • Telling yourself to “just let go” often makes you cling on tighter. The more you try to force it, the harder it is.

  • You start to let go when you build a new life that becomes so engaging, you gradually forget about the past. Letting go happens as a byproduct of moving on, not as a prerequisite for it.

  • It’s okay to fall apart for a while. Cry, grieve, and be a mess. Your foundation may crumble, but you’ll realize you’re still standing. The loss may have been meant to awaken you.

  • If you don’t feel ready to let go, don’t. But start building a new life anyway. Take small steps forward each day. Letting go will happen in time.

  • Releasing the past is about making a new future, not dwelling on the old one. It’s a forward-moving process.

The key points are that you can’t force yourself to let go before you’re ready, but you can start moving on by building a new life. Letting go will follow in time. The process is gradual and forward-moving, not an overnight choice. But small steps each day will get you there.

• Letting go of unrealistic expectations involves accepting yourself as you are right now, imperfections and all.

• It is not courageous to love yourself only after you have fixed all your flaws and achieved an ideal state. True courage is loving yourself as you are.

• Most of the problems in our lives are distractions from the real issue, which is that we are uncomfortable with the present moment. We jump from fixing one thing to the next to avoid addressing this discomfort.

• The discomfort is the true problem. Everything else is just a symptom.

• To change your life, start showing up as you are. Become comfortable being happy even if you still want to improve. Love yourself as you are, not just as you want to be.

• Apply your principles consistently, whether you have a little or a lot. That is true change.





  • Trauma occurs when we experience something frightening and do not overcome the fear. This can lead to a sustained state of fight or flight and loss of feeling safe.

  • After trauma, our brain rewires itself to seek out threats, making it hard to move on or avoid developing a victim mentality. Exposure therapy helps by gradually reintroducing the stressor and showing we can handle it, restoring a sense of control and security.

  • Social ties and resilience help prevent self-destruction after trauma. Those with strong connections have support to reflect, grow, and heal.

  • Neurologically, trauma impacts the amygdala (rumination), hippocampus (emotion/memory), and prefrontal cortex (complex thinking). This can lead to memory issues, emotional problems, feeling stuck, and trouble with self-development.

  • In fight or flight, the body focuses on survival and becomes hypersensitive. This is natural but not meant to be sustained. Centuries ago, it helped temporarily avoid threats. Now, it is usually no longer needed and causes issues.

  • The key to overcoming trauma is retraining your brain and body to feel safe again through gradual exposure, building connections, reflecting, and practicing self-care. This restores your ability to thrive.

• Originally, humans were primarily concerned with physical survival and safety. Now, our focus is on self-actualization and meaningfulness but we still strive to feel safe through things like social acceptance, money, or intelligence. This shift has led to more mental and emotional struggles.

• Recovery comes down to restoring a feeling of safety, especially in the areas of life that traumatized you. If relationships traumatized you, heal them. If money did, ensure financial security. If job loss did, have a backup plan. Overcompensating in unrelated areas of life does not solve the underlying problem.

• Emotions build up like emails in an inbox. If left unaddressed, they become “embodied” as physical pain and tension. We store emotions in the areas of the body where we felt them but did not fully express them. For example, fear in the stomach, heartache in the chest, stress in the shoulders, relationship issues in the neck.

• Release emotions through:

› Meditation to feel, not just to relax. Sit with feelings as they come up instead of suppressing them.

› Breath scans to find areas of tension in the body. Breathe slowly and notice where your breath hitches to find stored emotion.

› Sweating, moving, crying. Feel the emotions fully through exercise, yoga, walking, journaling, crying, etc.

• Healing your mind is not the same as healing your body. It’s becoming someone new, not returning to who you were before. It requires realizing you cannot control life, accepting suffering, and finding meaning and purpose.

• Healing yourself is uncomfortable but necessary for growth and freedom. It requires facing your fears, pains, and truths.

• Healing is not about going back to how you were before. It’s about becoming stronger and wiser. You gain resilience, empowerment, and self-sufficiency.

• Fear and worry do not protect you. Preparation and action do. Healing means letting go of fear and discomfort, and addressing problems.

• A real transformation is not about appearances or proving others wrong. It’s about feeling content, focusing on your own feelings, and letting go of what others think.

• Anyone can make surface changes, but real change comes from within. Prioritize self-respect, relationships, freedom, clarity, and empathy over appearances.

• Measure your progress by your character and accomplishments, not by what you can photograph or compare. Focus on living fully right now.

• Ultimately, healing and growth are about enjoying and making the most of your one life. Let go of discomfort and be present.

  • The journey of personal growth involves releasing the past and building a new future. Releasing the past involves forgiving yourself and others, accepting what happened, and letting go of negative emotions and beliefs.

  • Building a new future involves envisioning your highest self, connecting with your purpose, and designing new habits and routines. You can visualize meeting your future self to gain guidance and clarity on your path forward.

  • Releasing trauma is important for growth. Trauma lives in the body, not the mind. To release trauma, identify what experiences caused it, reestablish a sense of safety, reconnect with yourself, and imagine releasing the trauma into the universe. Self-care, meditation, and visualization can help.

  • The key is to stay focused on the present and future, rather than the past. Keep working to release old beliefs and patterns, connect with your highest self, and build the life you want. Growth is a continual process.

Does this summary accurately reflect the key ideas and advice presented in the passage? Let me know if you would like me to clarify or expand on any part of the summary.

• Validating someone else’s feelings does not mean you agree with them or that their feelings are correct. It simply means acknowledging that feelings are a human experience.

• Validating feelings can open people up, make them more receptive, and help progress communication. It requires little effort but can be profoundly impactful.

• We often just need someone to acknowledge that a situation sucks or is stressful. Having our feelings validated lifts a weight off our shoulders.

• Seeing our experiences reflected in others or allowing ourselves to fully feel our emotions can be healing. We no longer have to act out to feel validated.

• People often exaggerate or inflate circumstances just to get someone else to validate how they feel. They are crying out for affirmation that it’s okay to feel the way they do.

• Validating feelings is an important first step to being effective in relationships, counseling others, resolving conflicts, fostering connections, and facilitating progress.

• We often rely on maladaptive coping mechanisms to process our feelings when we are not taught adequate emotional skills.

• When we cannot validate our own feelings, we seek external validation but never really get what we need. This can lead to behaviors like complaining, being dramatic or negative, or self-sabotage.

• Think of your feelings like water in ducts. Your thoughts determine if the ducts are clean or blocked. Blocked ducts damage you and lead to emotional breakdowns. Processing feelings in real time by validating them yourself leads to health.

• Validating others’ feelings with radical empathy starts by saying “It’s okay to feel this way.” This reduces shame and defenses. Validating yourself and others makes you stronger.

• When lost or fearful, you need principles not inspiration. Problems follow you unless you change. Money, relationships, work—the issue is you, not the circumstances.

• Principles are fundamental truths that build foundations. They are guidelines, not opinions. Examples are living beneath your means, getting out of debt, low overhead, saving money. Principles apply across life areas.

• Adopt life principles. Life gets better by changing yourself, not your circumstances. Good and bad magnify who you are. Develop principles now or problems persist and grow.

• Your purpose is first to simply exist. Your existence impacts the world in ways you can’t see. Your purpose is not defined by any one role.

• Your purpose today may be to offer a kind word. Your purpose this decade may be your job. Work on becoming your best self.

• Your life’s purpose is where your skills, interests, and the market meet. Look at your experiences, skills, passions. They show your purpose.

• Purpose doesn’t mean an easy life or always knowing the future. When on your path, the future is unclear. You’re not following another’s blueprint.

• Ask yourself: What and who are you willing to suffer for? Imagine your best self. Who are they? Without social media, what would you do? What comes naturally? What’s your ideal routine?

• Your career is a big part of your purpose. Spend most days doing work that matters to you.

• Controlling your emotions involves becoming aware of how you feel but choosing how you respond. Suppressing emotions means denying how you feel, which can lead to emotional outbursts. Controlling emotions leads to greater self-mastery.

• Mental strength is not about seeming happy or positive. It’s about moving through life’s challenges with fluidity and reason. Mentally strong people don’t dwell on negative thoughts or worry excessively. You can become mentally strong by building awareness of your thoughts and behaviors.

• Inner peace comes from connecting to your deep internal knowing that everything will be okay. It’s found within, not from external circumstances. Finding inner peace involves quieting your mind and reconnecting with your inner calm.

• Happiness should not be the goal. It’s fleeting and can lead to attachment to outcomes and dependence on others. Inner peace is a better goal. It’s a state of being that transcends duality and leads to less suffering. Those without inner peace often frantically seek satisfaction outside themselves.

• Creating aligned goals involves letting go of the desire for happiness and focusing on inner peace. This leads to less suffering and more contentment regardless of circumstances. Aligning your life’s purpose and meaning with your core values and priorities leads to greater fulfillment.

• Inner peace is true happiness. Everything else is a false means of trying to convince yourself you’re okay.

• We lose inner peace because we adapt to our environments as children and adopt others’ beliefs. We trust our anxious thoughts and let them inform our feelings, creating a cycle that makes situations feel real when they’re not.

• It’s hard for people to find inner peace because their inner child is too traumatized. We have to learn to parent our inner child.

• Finding inner peace means staying with discomfort and choosing differently. Remind yourself your worries are fabricated and true happiness comes from being present. Make lists of past worries and things you got through to see they were unfounded.

• Worrying is an addiction used to avoid the present. It feels like it keeps us safe but drains our energy and can create what we fear. We have to remember our mind seeks to affirm itself. If we expect good, it will be.

• Your feelings aren’t always facts. They reflect your state of mind, like nightmares. Discern which feelings are informative and which are fear-based. The feeling of peace tells the truth. Feelings don’t predict the future but show where you are energetically. Fear wants you to stay small; peace says everything will be okay.

• Becoming mentally strong involves getting a plan to fix problems. Mentally strong people think ahead, prepare, and do what’s best long-term. Planning reduces worry and anxiety, which disconnect you from the moment. You aren’t scared of things you have a plan for. Developing mental strength is a practice.

• Have a plan for improvement and growth. Without a plan, problems will persist.

• Stop thinking everything is about you. Most people are focused on themselves, not judging you.

• Ask for help when you need it. You can’t be an expert in everything. Outsource what you’re not good at.

• Avoid false dichotomous thinking. Don’t see things as either/or. There are many possibilities.

• Stop trying to predict the future. You can’t know what will happen, so focus on what you can control and influence.

• Take responsibility for your outcomes. Most of your life is within your control, so take action and make good choices.

• Learn to process complex emotions. Feeling positive all the time isn’t realistic. Learn to work through difficult emotions.

• Forget what happened and focus on fixing things now. Learn from your mistakes and then let them go. Focus on the present.

• Talk through complicated thoughts and feelings. Speaking with others can help simplify and clarify issues.

• Take your time making changes. Growth happens slowly in incremental steps. Don’t overwhelm yourself.

• See triggers as a signal to focus on an area that needs attention. Work to understand and heal your wounds.

• Accept discomfort. Discomfort shows you areas for growth and that there are more possibilities for you to pursue. Listen and learn.

  • Happiness is not something you can chase or force. It is something you have to allow. Stop trying so hard to feel happy.

  • Live in the present moment. Anxiety is living in the future; depression is living in the past. Happiness exists only in the present.

  • Stop trying to assert dominance over others. See yourself as equal to those around you. Dominating others will not lead to happiness.

  • Appreciate the little joys in life, not just the big moments. Find happiness in simple pleasures each day.

  • Nurture positive relationships. Spend time with people you genuinely connect with. Quality over quantity.

  • Constantly learn new things. Approach life with a beginner’s mindset. New experiences lead to growth and happiness.

  • See challenges as opportunities for transformation. Change is the nature of life. Growth leads to happiness.

  • Be aware of what you give your energy and thoughts to. They become your reality. Feed the thoughts that lead to happiness.

  • Schedule time to do nothing and time to play. Being idle and tapping into your inner child leads to happiness.

  • Happiness is both an active pursuit and something you have to allow to happen. Make choices that enable happiness but also embrace moments of stillness.

  • Becoming a master of yourself requires taking complete responsibility for your life, including things beyond your control. How you respond to life’s circumstances determines your outcome.

  • Most people do not realize they are creating their own problems and reactions. Mastery is recognizing you have the ability to overcome difficulties and do so.

  • Hard times are not punishments but opportunities to grow. Looking back, you will see them as turning points that led to positive change.

  • To change your life, change yourself. Improving yourself creates positive ripple effects. Overcoming obstacles leads to gratitude for the journey.

  • The problems that once seemed insurmountable will become barely visible in the distance. Who you become by overcoming them will stay with you.

  • The challenges in life exist to tap into your potential and show you areas that need improvement. They push you to become your best self.

That’s the summary and main takeaways from the passage on becoming a master of yourself. The key ideas are taking responsibility for your life, seeing difficulties as growth opportunities, changing from within, gratitude for the journey, and becoming your best self.

Author Photo

About Matheus Puppe