Everyone must recognize their strengths and weaknesses. It is reckless to leave these unacknowledged, for, at some point, you must muster up the courage to confront your own beliefs and recognize how some of them are parasitic.

At times, we sit in agony dwelling over the conditions we “find” ourselves in, as though our past behavior somehow led us here inexplicably. These moment, though difficult, provide the best opportunity to confront the patterns of thought that led us astray.

People attempt and fail to change their lives all the time. We’re good at recognizing the symptoms but rarely understand the underlying causes. We commit to “eating better” or “working out” or “drinking less” or “working harder” or “quitting cold-turkey” or “getting up earlier” or whatever. We use simple solutions to delay the pain of really examining ourselves.

What if we were to use these inflection points as leverage? We don’t commit to change often. It’s only when we can no longer bear the accumulated effects of parasitic thoughts that we lower our guard and welcome change. But we must go further. We must sit with the pain, with eyes closed, feel it, and ask which of our beliefs led us here? Sometimes they are obvious. Other times, we must untangle a web of malicious, interconnected ideas.

When you’re experiencing true agony, it feels as though you’re behind a veil: you experience the world but you get nothing from it. This is because nothing external can help you. Your mind is telling you to turn inwards, to stop thinking and to merely confront what you fear. The only thing you find are thoughts. It isn’t until you sit with these thoughts that you can begin to heal.

Life can change in a moment. Once you recognize the false beliefs that are dormant in your subconscious mind, you change. In retrospect, you see everything play out in the context of these false beliefs and it’s as though you were someone else. Well, you were.

As our society becomes increasingly dominated by appearance, we must at least be honest with ourselves. The facade you put up on social media doesn’t represent you. Don’t be lured in by the ease at which you can mask yourself. We are all in limbo between our strengths and our weaknesses.

But change, it’s not going to be easy. Don’t wait for convenience or serendipity. Be at peace with the pain of progress, and realize that we’re all alone, together.