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Psychological self-help.


The ill person’s correct evaluation of his own failings and mistakes is very important on the path to psychological self-help. We often try to justify ourselves and seek reasons in other people or external circumstances. The wisdom of the holy fathers teaches us never to justify ourselves, because humans by nature are selfish, and will always find a way to distort an alibi in their favor for the true state of affairs (for instance, maybe I did get angry and was rude, but I am also a live being, while he should have… and so on, gradually becoming more and more convinced in the guilt of the other and justifying oneself).

Instead of self-justification, it is better to blame oneself, to try to determine the reasons for the fall, which is usually hidden in selfishness, conceit, and especially pride. "Where there is a downfall, there pride is established first of all; for pride is the precursor of downfall" (Ven. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain).

One of the active psychological methods is rationalization. First of all, one must calm down, pray; then take a clean sheet of paper, a pen, and attentively, soberly analyze the evolved conflicting situation, write out the main reasons for strife and possible ways of resolving the conflict, weigh the "pros" and "cons," look at the needs and fears of all the participants of the resulting misunderstanding, find true arguments in favor of composure, self-control, humility.

In conjunction with this, one can observe several formerly unnoticed situations, essential psychological nuances. The resulting stage of rationalization must be a specific decision, because the longer there is an undetermined, double relationship to the conflict, the harder it is to resolve, and therefore, to restore spiritual balance. The enemy of our salvation is always trying to take away our spiritual peace, to confuse, to bring to melancholy. We will not give in to his suggestions.

Foresight. Notwithstanding the variety of life’s circumstances, many of them are repeated often and are in some sense a "cliché." By experience it is known, that we are capable of "tripping," losing spiritual peace or giving into temptation in the same circumstances time and again. Therefore, we must prepare ahead of time for difficulties… We cannot foresee everything, of course, but we can prepare for many and try to deter them. Preparation must consist not only of thought, but also of prayer, talks with a spiritual guide, his counsel and blessing.

St. Theophan suggests: "In the morning, after prayer, sit and figure out what you must do during the day, where you will be, with what and whom you will meet, and, when applicable, determine ahead of time what to think, where, what to say, how to keep your spirit and body and so on. This means, that the true Christian must "control himself," keep control over the actions of his soul, and not permit them to crawl wherever they want. He must be the ruler of his internal condition."

Substitution — is a simple and effective method. Who doesn’t know how pleasant it is to listen to church singing, to read spiritually-enlightening literature, to walk along a forest path, to listen to birds singing, to admire the flowers in the meadow… One person enjoys working on his cabin, another — meeting friends and an evening spent in sincere and soul-warming society and so on. There are many similar recommendations; every person can add to this list with attention to oneself. The ability to rest with benefit for the soul is wisdom, which is worth attaining.

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