We all have our faults and failings. That is a statement of ordinary, honest fact. However, the vast majority of us mistake our inappropriate behaviour for some inherent character flaw that leads everyone to whom I have ever posed the question "Are you 100% happy with yourself?" to immediately and forcefully answer "No!"

All my clients tell me that they have "inadequacies", things they'd like to change about themselves. But when we dig deeper, two things become apparent. Firstly, our so-called inadequacies are not real, they are perceived, this perception arising from how we were made feel about ourselves during our formative years. Secondly, the things we'd like to change about ourselves are either generally behavioural or the result of our behaviour.

No one is inadequate - though many of us feel a great burden of inadequacy. Vast swathes of psychological work and research, stretching back over a century at this stage, indicate that we are the product, or some would go so far as to say, the victim, of our upbringing. Indeed, I have found, with every single one of my private clients, that their self-perceptions are the direct result of their interaction with people and events during their formative years. As a result, even those with the happiest and most loving childhoods developed into "normal" adults - "grownups" who are not entirely happy with themselves. As a result, they live lives with which, at the very best, they are not entirely happy - or, as most people say "not too bad". Surely, not too bad is not good enough.

Our perceived inadequacies are etched on our deep subconscious mind as a result of a process called "snapshot learning" - when an event takes place that makes a great impression upon us, that's exactly what happens - a deep impression is printed into our subconscious. Snapshot learning generally only takes place during our formative years - particularly up to the age of 11 or 12 years, with the final touches being added during adolescence - anywhere up to the age of 25 years. After that, we, generally speaking, have very fixed views about ourselves - very fixed views of our own inadequacies.

When set out in the manner in which I've done so above, we can immediately see the stupidity of dwelling on our inadequacies - they come from a past long gone, but one on which the subconscious mind is continually, daily focused. What is of at least as much concern, however, is that those same out of date snapshots create - and, daily, re-create - the repetitive, automatic, reactive behaviours that result in us doing things that we'd prefer not to have done. Bad habits, snapping at people, manipulating those we claim to love, losing our temper... make out your own list.

The big problem is that when we display those daily faults and failings, as I said already, we mistake our automatic reactive behaviour for ourselves - we perceive ourselves as in need of repair - and, as a result, not only do we beat ourselves up, often becoming frustrated that there is not easy exit from the apparent continuous treadmill of the same reactive behaviour. Some resort to bad habits that will help them come handle or suppress their feelings - I've come across alcohol, drug and sex addictions - all of which, clearly, only make matters worse.

What we've got to realise is that if we stumble and do something stupid, destructive or hurtful, that's all it is - a stumble. Replaying the stumble, feeling guilty about the stumble or being certain that there's no way out of stumbling again are all useless thoughts that add to our own incorrect feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem and lack of self worth. When we stumble, we need to stand up, dust ourselves off, pull ourselves together and start over.

But that's only part of the solution - because if we just do that we may never learn from our stumblings - we may never rise above our perceived inadequacies and the manner in which they automatically create our stumblings. We need to break out of the automatic mode in at least 96% of people live - validated by years of research. Quite obviously, this is done by being mindful rather than, through automatic behaviour, being totally mindless.

Mindfulness comes from paying attention to the present moment - to what your body is telling you about now, through your five senses. This may sound simple - and, yes it is, but it's not easy to practice. In fact, you'll take a lifetime perfecting your ability to be attentive to the here and now but, in doing so, you will drag your subconscious mind's attention away from past snapshots and prevent those past snapshots dictating the kind of automatic reactive behaviours that make you unhappy.

In developing your ability, through the deliberate and conscious use of your five senses, to give more and more of your attention to the here and now, you will see the here and now for what it is - one moment in time, where you can choose to be "all there" and do your best, or you can choose to abdicate responsibility for your own state of mind and let the automatic programmed subconscious alter ego repeat past mistakes. The choice is yours - moment to moment. In deliberately exercising the choice to be more attentive to the moment, you will see your perceived inadequacies for what they are - illusions - and see the real you for what you can be - here and now.

Author's Bio: 

Willie Horton was born and educated in Dublin, Ireland. An ex-accountant and ex-senior banker, he has worked in the area of personal development since 1996, enabling business leaders, sports people and ordinary people understand how state of mind creates success (or failure). They describe the results as 'unbelievable' and 'life-changing'. Willie and his family now live in the French Alps. For more information, visit http://www.gurdy.net