“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – C.G. Jung
There’s a saying in zen that if you realize there’s a truth to find, you’re already halfway to finding it. This is also true in self-awareness. Being self-aware entails you to constantly confront yourself and ask the questions you really don’t want to hear the answers to. It sounds like masochism, but really it’s more like taking a sliver out. It’s painful at first and sometimes you need to dig deeper than you thought to pull the sliver out, but after a while, you begin to heal properly. Half the trouble is finding where the sliver is and sometimes, you don’t know it’s even there until you notice swelling. Some people are born with thicker skin that don’t get small slivers often and only really notice the big ones. Others have soft skin which feels every sliver, big or small. The advantage of a thick skin is that you’re not often bothered, but because it’s not under frequent attack, it doesn’t know how to handle slivers as well as the soft skin. The weakness is the armour. The disadvantage of soft skin is that it gets overwhelmed with slivers easily.
Always strike the balance that suits you best.
The sliver metaphor explains the problems you face in your life and they come from all directions, even within. Self-awareness is a tool to find where the sliver is and to remove it requires you to trace the beginning of it. The root. Sometimes, the sliver is so big that even though it’s removed, it leaves behind a scar. Scars are beautiful in the right light and if you’re brave enough, you can tattoo over them to turn them into something new.
Make peace with your scars but never accept your slivers.