Why am I such an idiot

Don't be an idiot! What you can do to be more considerate of other people

Self-knowledge usually comes unexpectedly: on the bike, at the supermarket checkout or in bed in the evening. And it can be quite frightening. That is when you suddenly realize that you have behaved rather recklessly. That you were quite an idiot.

Idiots are the ones who take the right of way. Who cheat on your best friend. Shouting at the cashiers in the supermarket. Who only want to hear themselves at the team meeting. Idiocy is a democratic phenomenon that occurs in all genders and sizes, at all times and in all countries.

But idiotic people all have one thing in common: They don't care about other people. An asshole ignores other people, idiots don't even notice the other people around them. They don't respect them, they ignore their wants, plans, and needs. You are blind to others. You only think of yourself.

[Also at ze.tt: Too much empathy makes life hell]

So how much idiot there is in one is above all a moral question: How much are we actually interested in others? To answer that, we have to watch each other closely. Which brings us back to self-knowledge. Instead of being surprised by it on the bike or at the supermarket checkout, we can also bring it about more systematically - with mindfulness techniques.

Attention, mindfulness!

In psychology, so-called mindfulness has been used for a long time. The concept comes from Buddhist meditation practices and means, roughly summarized, to focus on the present moment. Those who practice mindfulness are very conscious of the here and now. Without pursuing an intention or a specific goal. Mindfulness techniques are used a lot in psychotherapy, but they can also support us in everyday life.

The psychologist Erika N. Carlson assumes that mindfulness is a suitable technique for self-knowledge - and thus also a possibility to find out about one's own idiocy. The more we practice mindfulness, it is believed, the greater the basis on which we can reflect on ourselves. It is important to perceive your own experiences as neutrally and without prejudice as possible.

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Colleagues from Carlson were even able to prove this in studies. Participants who had trained mindfulness were able to predict their emotional reactions to certain events much more accurately than others. You might say you had figured out yourself.

Have you figured out yourself?

The better we see through ourselves, the more we will find out: We are not one way or another. We are so and so and so. Sometimes we're idiots, sometimes we're really nice. But maybe we can all be a little less idiotic if we get along better.

Self-knowledge doesn't have to come in chunks. It can also be an ongoing process. At its core, it's about seeing ourselves and the world a little differently. See the others more. And then, almost promised, we automatically get a little less idiotic too.

Here and here are a few specific examples of mindfulness exercises. This impression gives you a first impression:

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