We are made to be self-correcting, so that each real correction effected in us elevates us above the dark and limiting influences we have been living under all our lives. Like moving from a hot desert to a cool mountain retreat, each discovery of what darkens our path in life moves us toward higher, happier ground. And though we may not yet understand how this works in us, each time we catch a glimpse of one of our character shortfalls, we do so by the grace of a Living Light — a latent force for perfection that lives within us. And this same Higher Intelligence asks us, by its very presence within us, to see ourselves in its light. Through its illumination we discover that it is not negative to see the negative in us since it is the perfectly positive that makes this kind of seeing into ourselves possible. But we must be good patients!

When it comes to seeing the truth of our lives, the late, great author Vernon Howard taught those who would listen that “The medicine is bitter, but it heals.” If we would heal the hidden hurt in us then we must learn that the initial bitterness of self-truthfulness is the front-runner of our ultimate spiritual betterment. Our work is to concede to the bright prescription of higher self-honesty, regardless of how it tastes to us in those moments when we see ourselves as we are.

Following are six eye-opening facts. They reveal areas in our lives where many of us have lived with our eyes closed, vainly hoping that if we don’t see something regarding how we go about our lives, then it won’t be able to hurt us. But now we know better, which means that a brighter life is just ahead.

We close our eyes to the fact that:

1.  Wherever we go and regardless of whom we meet, we still seem to run into the same conflicts and experience the same negative reactions.

2.  We blame others for their insistence that we serve their interests, when the real pain in such moments is our own resentment over a cowardly inability to just say no.

3.  In spite of all of the pain it causes us and others, we still believe that we know what it means to be a winner in life.

4.  Just because we have mastered hiding some character fault of ours doesn’t mean that it has stopped hurting those around us.

5.  We would rather have the company of known liars and betrayers than have to go through life by ourselves.

6.  Crying for ourselves out of self-pity doesn’t change one thing about the nature of the self that is the secret source of all these tears.

For extra swift healing, study these friendly guides with the intention of welcoming in their light. Remember that authentic self-healing must begin with truthful self-seeing. Just as the rising sun dismisses our fears of imagined dangers hidden in the darkness of night, higher consciousness of any unwanted condition must precede its correction. For those who would be free, the choice must be to see. Now, here is one last important insight. It will help keep you safe and strong throughout your entire journey as you uncover the undiscovered parts of yourself.

Whenever we see something in us that is cruel, selfish, or otherwise self-destructive, our first temptation is to hand ourselves over to another dark state called self-condemnation. Most people will tell you it feels natural to first judge and then loathe ourselves when we stumble over some secret ugliness in our heart. But we must avoid falling into this trap of secret self-torment. Its nature is actually self-torture. Here is how we succeed:

In these times of trial, we need only remember that the Living Light never shows us anything in ourselves that it hasn’t already started to change for us — if we will only let It! This is the hidden meaning behind that timeless spiritual instruction “Let go and let God.”

More from Beliefnet and our partners