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Want to be stronger? Introspection and Repeating Fears



Mai Le


People don’t mature simply with the passage of time. They mature through experiences, particularly by managing those experiences. In this article, I’ll share insights on strengthening oneself and deepening self-understanding. Our ability to handle life’s adversities isn’t innate; it’s cultivated. Some recover from setbacks like relationship rejections or criticisms in days, while others may need weeks or even months. Our approach to adversity significantly influences our life outcomes. It remains intriguing how some bounce back from setbacks with resilience, whereas others falter. Within this article’s scope, I offer two strategies for personal fortification: introspection and confronting fears.

1. Embrace Introspection: Meet the Real “You”

Why a friend in difficult times isn’t always beneficial

After facing setbacks or bouts of anxiety, I’d often confide in friends. Such sharing seems a natural human response: we seek comfort in others. We innately crave group solidarity, validation, and empathy, releasing pent-up emotions through conversation. However, a perceptive friend, Ms. Genius, once remarked, “Sharing might bring temporary relief, but it could weaken you in the long run.” She illuminated the pitfall of my coping mechanism. Sharing might offer a quick respite, but it doesn’t necessarily foster introspection. By seeking immediate relief, we might not stretch our emotional endurance. We might forget the pain too swiftly without assimilating the lessons it bears. Such dependency can be so ingrained that sharing becomes a knee-jerk reaction to adversity, even if confronting the issue directly proves challenging. Life’s challenges are learning opportunities. It’s like grappling with a challenging math problem: mastering it once equips you for similar future challenges. Relying on friends’ “answers” robs you of the chance to address problems head-on. Life will invariably present more such challenges, nudging you to find solutions independently. So, how can you navigate such challenges solo?

Preparing for effective introspection

Charles Kettering, the renowned inventor, remarked, “A problem well-stated is half-solved.” Clearly defining an issue is the first step towards its resolution. While external perspectives can help sidestep personal biases, learning to discern the actuality of events independently is empowering. Here’s how you can prime yourself for introspection:

To mitigate physical distress:

  • Breathe: Focus on deep, rhythmic breathing to regulate your heartbeat and alleviate anxiety.
  • Engage Your Senses: Heighten your awareness of the five senses to anchor yourself in the present and dispel distress.
  • Connect with Nature: If possible, immerse yourself in nature to further soothe and ground yourself.

To counteract mental turmoil:

  • Embrace Stillness: Try to clear your mind completely. It’s challenging but rewarding.
  • Cultivate Positivity: Keep a list of personal achievements and traits to reinforce self-worth during tumultuous times.

By the end of this regimen, you should find yourself more tranquil and ready for introspection.

2. The Introspection Process: Befriend the Real “You”

With a serene mind, events might seem less daunting. It’s essential, however, to analyze them for learning, not necessarily for taking immediate action. Ask yourself:

  • What instigated the event?
  • What ensued?
  • How did your actions influence the outcome? Focus on your role, using “I” statements.
  • Do past experiences or inherent beliefs explain your reactions?
  • Could you have acted differently? Would you, given another chance?

Admitting vulnerabilities and recognizing biases can be arduous. However, such self-awareness fosters growth and resilience.

3. Face Your Fears: Self-Training

Experiencing challenges often builds resilience. Don’t shy away from discomfort. At first, confronting adversities might be daunting, but with practice, your response becomes more intuitive. Reflect on your deepest fears. Often, they’re buried subconsciously, making them elusive. Use past experiences, especially from childhood, to discern these fears—psychologists assert that childhood experiences significantly shape our behavior. Once you’ve identified these fears, immerse yourself in situations that confront them. Repeatedly facing what you fear is the key to fortification. Strengthening your relationship with yourself, ultimately, enriches your very essence.

Remember, the quality of your relationship with yourself sets the tone for all other relationships in your life. By learning to navigate adversities independently, you bolster this crucial bond.

I’ve compiled over 300 cover letters from my circle and showcased them at Cover Letter Library to assist you. This exclusive library boasts successful cover letters from those who secured roles at premier investment banks, big 4 firms, and more. Explore it here.

Illustrations courtesy of my friend at ANML Studio. Show your support by exploring her art on IG @anmlstudio. Connect with me on Instagram too @official.mai.le.

Written by Mai Le

My name is Mai. I am originally from Vietnam. After my university years at LSE, I worked in investment banking at Goldman Sachs. After a wonderful time there, I started several of my own business as well as helping others on theirs. I've always been building communities and businesses for as long as I can remember, and absolutely thrilled to see others enjoy what I've built.


1 Comment

  1. watanabe

    thanks 🙂


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